Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Planet History: Heroes (and villains)

2 Responses

  • Russell Brown,


    Here’s the original page from Planet #7.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Rivers,

    You are right Russell. The Hero Parade and event on the wharf were utterly joyful celebrations no matter what notice the press took of them. I was there and I recall Michael Parmenter’s thrilling and risky blindfolded acrobatics above the crowd; incredible glittering drag artists lit momentarily by spot lights; a licentious and laurel leaved tableau with persons with tunics, gold body paint, grapes, figs and wine which was lit for perhaps a minute and then plunged in to darkness; a massed troupe? of lesbian square dancers with chequered shirts and chaps and an altogether raucous celebratory good time - a fitting and courageous response to the AIDS crisis.

    I’m curious that we appear to have moved from that pressure cooker into an altogether darker time. For many lesbian now means “same gender attraction” which kind of misses the whole point in my opinion - and includes “anyone who thinks they are a woman”. Even our own Human Rights Commission uses this definition. In NZ more than a hundred young women (many of whom would otherwise likely be lesbian) are on a waiting list for chest binders that damage ribs, backs and breathing while they save for the double mastectomies that are euphemistically called “top surgery”.

    Many of them will have had their transition decision sparked by the question "do you think you might be transgender?" - often by an authority figure such as a counsellor or a GP. Ot they will have watched hundreds of hours of proud young "transmen" talking about how they are “passing” and building muscle and about their forthcoming surgery. Meanwhile most of our professional caring classes from academics and medics to social workers and counsellors are forbidden by codes of practice from asking such young women what issues might at the root of the sudden belief that they are male. There is no NZ research that has asked the question why are young women presenting to gender clinics in ever greater numbers. In the UK numbers have expanded by 40 times over a decade and though figures are hard to come by NZ is not far behind. Even to propose such a project would be deemed “transphobic” as it has overseas.

    OIAs have revealed that more than half of them are suffering from mental health sequellae often caused by abuse, trauma or homophobia. About 1/3 will have autism spectrum disorders. When, as is happening more and more frequently, these young women mature – often breastless and sometimes infertile realising they were never male and detransition their insights are often that they were seeking to be less vulnerable. There is not let up for them though – as they recover they are criticised by their erstwhile community as ‘never trans’ and much worse. The pattern is the same for young men although the numbers are smaller.

    The current iteration of Pride where I and hundreds of other NZ lesbians are unwelcome, in fact some have been banned, as supposed TERFs is a disaster for the Rainbow community and more broadly for issues such as non-partisanship, tolerance, evidence based public policy, for the young people caught up in it and for supposed medical and counselling ethics. As an unfortunate experiment on vulnerable people it equals the cervical cancer debacle in the 1970s but unlike that debacle is almost wholly supported by the silence and aquiescence (or at least the fear of speaking out) of NZ's professional classes.


    Since Apr 2011 • 19 posts Report Reply

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