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Save Women's Sport Australasia are making a submission in New Zealand on the Inquiry into Supplementary Order Paper 59 on the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill.

 

This is more commonly known as the BDMRR legislation that seeks to introduce sex self-ID.

We believe that this legislation will have far-reaching and potentially devastating consequences for women and girls. Male bodies have no place in women's sport and changing facilities - we already know that. We also know that they have no place in women's prisons, refuges, rape crisis centres, separate accommodation or girls single sex schools.

 

Women and girls will self-exclude from activities and spaces if they are no longer able to operate in a way that excludes males.

A women's service or space that includes males is not a women's service or space, it's that simple.

We are encouraging our New Zealand followers to make their own submissions, we are sharing ours below and you are welcome to reference it  - either by copying and pasting sections or simply by stating at the start of your submission that;

 

"I support the submission on this matter by Save Women's Sport Australasia"

Personal submissions that use your own words are ideal, each submission must be read by the select committee and they all help to form the report that the Select Committee must then write at the end of the process. Feel free to use our ideas to form your own submission - and whether you reference us is entirely up to you.

To make a submission you will need to provide your name and email address, you will also need to indicate whether you would like to present your submission in person (this can be via Zoom too).

The form is straightforward and easy to follow - but if you have any questions or need some help, then please email us using the address below.

SWS Submission to BDMRR Bill

Save Women’s Sport Australasia supports the law as it currently exists on the changing of sex on a person’s birth certificate. This process, administered by the Family Court, ensures that there is a process that accommodates the changing of sex on a birth certificate by those with a genuine and demonstrated commitment to living as the opposite sex while providing a level of safeguarding to ensure the process is not abused or used by people with ulterior motives.

 

Sex is not a feeling, or an “identity” or something that is “nominated”, sex is a biological reality. As such, there should be a standard of proof required in order for it to be changed on an official and historical government document based on the facts of a person’s birth.

 

We do not support the removing of the safeguards currently in place that ensured those changing the sex on their birth certificate have satisfied certain criteria, including providing supporting evidence that they have undergone medical treatment to acquire “physical conformation” with their nominated sex. 

 

No matter how much some people may wish or proclaim otherwise, human beings cannot change sex any more than they can change their age.

 

By conflating sex with gender and allowing anyone to change the ‘sex marker’ on their birth certificate multiple times by a simple statutory declaration based on their feelings, the Government is proposing to take a cornerstone historical record and legislate the ability for people to change a core component of that record to something that is neither based in reality nor required to be substantiated by any independent third party.

 

The Government is also further eroding the social contract which exists between males and females that ensures male bodies do not access female only spaces, such as in sports; and female only places, such as changing rooms.  It gives females (in particular) the right to challenge male people in those spaces and ask them to leave based on observable reality. But the re-framing, and conflation, of gender with sex is opening a free-for-all in which women may no longer feel they have the right to challenge male bodies in their spaces and places, thereby providing an opportunity for predatory males or those with autogynephilia to take advantage. What sex self-ID does, fundamentally, is rip up that social contract by furthering the ability of any male, for any reason, to enter any female space and claim a right to be there based on their feelings.

 

Single sex facilities, services, and provision have been entrenched in law because it was deemed important that law reflect reality – that males and females are categories of differently sexed people (intersex people are all males or females with a variation of sexual development, not a “third” sex). The physical differences between male and female bodies are widely acknowledged. In both New Zealand and international law, it is lawful to exclude the male sex from female competition and other single sex provisions to uphold fairness and safety for women.

 

Most males wouldn't dream of entering women’s changing facilities or competing against women in sport.  If females neither feel safe or comfortable using their changing rooms or believe it’s neither safe or fair competing in sports with or against male bodies, the sex self ID provisions in the BDMRR bill will only result in females self-excluding themselves, or being excluded, from the spaces and category set up to entirely to protect their fairness, safety and opportunities.

 

Recently, we have seen the female sports category being opened up to transgender athletes who were born male by most national and international sport governing bodies throughout the world. This sort of transgender sport policy is hailed as inclusive – even though it works against the inclusion of females in safe and fair sport.

 

The biological reality of sex is not a stereotype or social construct, whereas the definition for “gender identity” allows biological males with a self-declared “gender identity” of “female” or “women” to compete against females. This is discrimination because it denies women and girls an equal playing field due to being forced to compete against, or with, another player that enjoys the biological and sociological advantages of being a male.

 

Women already face many barriers to inclusion in sports and it is acknowledged that there is very high attrition rate of girls from sports at the time of puberty.

 

The “inclusion” of males who identify as women further disadvantages women, in particular some minority communities, including:

  • Some females may not be able to participate due to religious and cultural restrictions because their beliefs do not allow them to be in close contact with a male who is not a close relation, regardless of how they identify

  • The safety risks involved in competing with male bodies which are, on average, significantly faster, stronger and larger

  • The inherent unfairness of competing against others who enjoy those physical advantages

  • The co-opting of already scarce resources

  • Women who have been victims of sexual or physical abuse and do not feel safe with males in what have previously been single sex spaces, including toilets and changing rooms

  • And the right to socialise enjoy community free from the male gaze in an androcentric society. 

 

If the interpretation of woman in law is anything other than woman in the ordinary sense, it makes it manifestly absurd and unreasonable because it seeks to dismantle the very rights it purports to protect.  By presuming that woman now includes “anyone who identifies as a woman”, it gives the absurd result that “woman” now includes both women and men, and renders ineffective the entire purpose of CEDAW, of which New Zealand is a signatory, and our own Human Rights Act.

 

There are real practical difficulties confronting a would-be provider of single sex services if they wish to keep them female only. Of course, people can be asked their sex (and people can presumably be asked what sex was recorded at their birth). But in cases of dispute, how is a provider supposed to assert their right to provide a single sex service if a person who is clearly male in physicality and presentation has a birth certificate stating they are female. As Crown Law has pointed out, how else would a person’s sex ultimately be determined, if not via a birth certificate?

 

This proposal also wilfully and disingenuously conflates a person’s sex (reality) with the gender identity (feelings). Gender ideology rests on the assertion that gender is a person’s subjective and “deeply personal” view about themselves; a view that the Government accepts can change multiple times, and has no external marker.  As such, it would be very difficult for any female or any provider of women’s only places or services to challenge, as a matter of evidence, anyone’s assertion of their own gender identity. It is also deeply sexist and misogynistic to put into law the ideology that to be a girl, a women, or female is no longer a function or biological reality but instead that equal status must be accorded to a “feeling” or “identity” of being a woman that exists inside a male’s head.   

 

How does the general law of New Zealand determine a person’s sex if not by reference to the sex recorded on their birth certificate?  Birth certificates are core identification documents that differ from “transactional” documents like passports or driver licenses. 

 

The Government have emphasised that the changes are necessary to enable transgender people to access services with less risk of being “outed” (i.e. having their sex revealed), at the same time they are saying that single sex spaces will be unaffected.   These two positions are not easily reconciled.  Single sex spaces and entitlements by definition exclude those who are not members of that sex.  And the promotion of wellbeing and social inclusion or cohesion is not a purpose of the BDMRR Bill.   

 

Additionally, this argument does not stand up to even the lightest of scrutiny. From infanthood people are able to correctly sex people with 99.999% accuracy. This is because, to date, scientists have identified more than 6,000 biological differences between males and females, of which approximately 3,000 are observable. It is not someone’s “incorrect” birth certificate that “outs” them, it is the physical reality of their biological sex. 

 

A new birth certificate based on self-ID creates a legal fiction and puts into law something that Parliament has already acknowledged to be untrue – namely that the person was born a member of the opposite sex.  Passing new law should always be the last public policy response to addressing any problem. It was only in April that the Government announced a range of other responses to the to the report of the Working Group for reducing barriers to changing registered sex [1]. The Government has not even allowed time for these other responses to be implemented and evaluated, instead it is charging ahead with self-ID and legislating a legal fiction. If perception of the current process being difficult, or a perceived lack of accessibility and/or lack of information then the response to those issues isn’t to change the law so that any person can self-declare their nominated sex. The answer is to improve information and resources to support people who are taking significant steps to live as the opposite sex to navigate the current process.

 

Finally, we express deep disappointment at the Government and support party MPs on the Select Committee. To release this proposed law change for consultation during a Level 4 lockdown with a shortened submission period, which will have the impact of denying many people the opportunity to submit because they are at capacity trying to keep their families, job, and/or businesses afloat can only be interpreted as evidence of a consultation process undertaken in bad faith.

 

[1] https://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2021-04/Government-Response-to-the-Report-of-the-Working-Group-RBCRS-April-2021.pdf