Auckland, 12 April 2019
Speak Up For Women NZ congratulates National Party MP Jo Hayes for accepting a petition, signed by more than 40,000 New Zealanders, calling for the Ministry of Education to remove learning intentions for teaching gender diversity in the sexuality education guide.
“Funding interest groups to teach gender identity ideology as fact in state schools does not align with our secular values and promotes unfounded rejection of existing parts of the curriculum such as human biology,” says Speak Up For Women spokesperson Ani O’Brien. “Children should not be taught that their personality, hobbies, or hairstyle, clothing, or toy preferences mean that they have been ‘born in the wrong body’. Unlike sexual orientation, which is a based on the realities of biological sex, gender identity ideology is a belief system that not everyone subscribes to. Education about sexuality and consent doesn’t require teaching metaphysical beliefs with no basis in fact” says Ms O’Brien.
The feminist group agrees that teachers delivering the New Zealand Curriculum can address acceptance of a diversity of self-expression in society and support children to develop their own sense of self without pressure to adhere to outdated sex stereotypes.
Youth and “Rainbow” branches of the Labour and Green parties have spoken out against Ms Hayes acceptance the petition, in a move that Ms O’Brien says is anti-democratic. “Ms Hayes acceptance of this well-supported petition was the democratic thing to do. It is disturbing that the parties of Government have been so quick to condemn the concerns of over 40,000 New Zealanders,” says Ms O’Brien, ”especially when you consider that the petition forming the basis of “sex self-ID” provisions in the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relations Registration Bill was supported by just 53 signatories.”
Of particular concern to Speak Up For Women is the way Ministry of Education-funded gender identity advocacy groups like Rainbow Youth and InsideOUT conflate “gender identity” with sex. “They promote a narrative that denies humans are a sexually dimorphic species, rejects biological sex, and preferences an ever-growing list of imagined genders. Advocating for these beliefs can lead children to misunderstand their developing sexuality”, says Ms O’Brien.
These concerns are echoed in articles published in the UK newspaper The Times this week, in which former clinical staff raised concerns about poor practices at the Tavistock Centre, the UK’s only publicly funded “gender clinic”. The clinicians point to high degrees of homophobia leading gay and lesbian youth to believe that they should “transition” to the opposite sex.
Ms O’Brien urges politicians and lobby groups to see the importance of robust dialogue saying, “we will not accept trans activists stating that there is ‘no debate’. Conversations about gender identity ideology and its place in our schools, public health system, and legislation are well overdue, and we will continue to be a voice for the many New Zealanders who are deeply worried about this.”