Friday, September 09, 2016

Transgender advocate fired for "Safe Schools" criticism

Everyone must think in lockstep on the Left

Prominent transgender advocate Catherine McGregor has been sacked from a high-profile role with human rights group Kaleidoscope Australia for speaking out against the controversial Safe Schools program.

Ms McGregor has revealed that she was removed as a patron of Kaleidoscope, a not-for-profit group that promotes the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, because of her views on the program.

Kaleidoscope, whose inaugural patron was former High Court judge ­Michael Kirby, is a staunch supporter of Safe Schools. Although designed to prevent ­homophobic bullying in schools, the program has proved divisive because of the sexualised nature of some resources and its promotion of the contested idea that gender and sexuality are fluid.

While Ms McGregor is not the only member of the LGBTI community to speak out against Safe Schools — federal Liberal MP Tim Wilson has also aired concerns, as has Victorian health advocate Rob Mitchell — she has faced a significant backlash.

Writing for Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph in May, Ms McGregor argued the program had been compromised by radical left-wing politics and was not the most effective way of supporting transgender children. She claimed the program might lead transgender youth down a “blind alley”.

The article prompted Margot Fink, a spokeswoman for the youth network ­Minus18 and a contributor to the Safe School’s curriculum, to ­accuse her of throwing Safe Schools “under the bus” to ­appear “more acceptable or ­appealing to hard-line ­conser­vatives”.

Ms McGregor, who was the world’s highest-ranking transgender military official and an Australian of the Year nominee, told The Australian she was disappointed by the reaction to her comments. It had cost her at least one speaking engagement. A Melbourne charity advised that it no longer wanted her to appear at an LGBTI event because it feared a hostile reaction.

Ms McGregor said she made no apologies for her views but she had decided to step aside from her ­remaining roles with LGBTI ­organisations, including The Pinnacle Foundation and Canberra’s SpringOUT Pride Festival.

She also has withdrawn from next year’s prestigious Joan Kirner Social Justice Oration, previously delivered by Waleed Aly and former prime minister Julia Gillard.

“I’ve always been very happy to support various causes within the LGBTI community because I truly believe that, as a transgender woman who has been able to achieve a lot in my career in the military and as a writer and broadcaster, that I can contribute a lot,” Ms McGregor said.

“But it’s quite obvious that my views are more conservative than sections of the LGBTI community are happy to accept. I’ve really just had enough.”

Kaleidoscope president Paula Gerber said Ms McGregor was ­invited to become a patron late last year, but the board had reconsidered the appointment after ­becoming aware of her comments on Safe Schools. “While she was free to hold those views, there was an incompatibility with Kaleidoscope’s own public support of the Safe Schools program, which we happen to believe is among the world’s best,” Professor Gerber said. “Cate was surprised by our ­decision ... but she seemed to ­accept it with good grace.”

Denis Moriarty, organiser of the Joan Kirner Social Justice Oration, said he was saddened by Ms McGregor’s withdrawal. “As a gay person myself and a massive supporter of Safe Schools, I still think we should be proud to ­debate and listen to all sides,” he said. “Catherine is entitled to her views and sadly the politics of personalities has got in the way.”


Close shave with Human Rights Commission for ‘men-only’ barber store

Feminists exclude men all the time but men must not exclude women.  Note how the barbers defend themselves with feminist-type  language about "sensitive to the insecurities men feel" etc.

FEMINISTS have declared war on hipsters.  A male-only barber shop in trendy inner Sydney has come under fire on social media for its strict “no women allowed” policy.

But customers of Hawleywood’s in Newtown, which also has three stores in California, have leapt to the chain’s defence, urging it to not be “bullied by the mob”.

The latest flare-up came after musician Kelly Jeanious posted about her friend’s experience visiting the Hawleywood salon on the weekend, Yahoo reported.

“A guy came in for a cut,” she wrote. “He was told his girlfriend could not wait ‘cause it is a men’s only space. Then the guy proceeded to talk about the inequalities of men for the next half an hour and how unfair Fernwood gym is.”

Lindsay McDowens posted a picture of a map of the globe to the store’s Facebook page, writing: “Here’s a picture of a safe male space. Grow up you crybaby scaredy-cats.”

And in January, Mahlah Grey wrote: “Am I able to come in if I need to purchase a gift voucher or product? Or will my vagina/breasts/level of oestrogen freak you out?

“What if I’m transgender? If I’m a female undergoing hormone treatment and growing facial hair do I qualify to enter your establishment? Or if I was a transgender female with fake titties but still had a working c*** would that give me the right to sit in your chair?

“What if my husband wanted an appointment but had our two young daughters with him. Would he need to leave them outside? Just want to make sure as I would hate to breach your man’s club etiquette. “Have you heard of equal rights? Or the Sex Discrimination Act of 1984?”

Amber Lee complained that her friend was turned away because she was female. “Her hair is always done at a barber shop because she gets it shaved and styled like a typical man’s haircut,” she wrote.

“When we asked how her hair was any different to a man’s hair, one of the barbers rudely suggested she contact the Human Rights Commission if she didn’t like their policy and smirked at us as we left. The whole experience felt like barely concealed misogyny and was gross to see in Newtown of all places.” understands a sex discrimination complaint against the store was made to the Human Rights Commission, but was dismissed. Hawleywood’s declined to comment when contacted on Wednesday.

But in a lengthy response posted to Facebook in January, Hawleywood’s defended its policy. “We pride ourselves in an impeccable cut, shave and male grooming in a secure, understanding setting sensitive to the insecurities men feel during these procedures,” the store wrote.

“We cater to men who posses [sic] insecurities with [their] grooming, they feel uncomfortable receiving these services in a grooming environment that is targeted towards women, especially during the uncomfortable and sometimes awkward process of removing excess overgrown nasal hair, ear hair, eyebrows and during the process of hair cuts that cater specifically to the concealment of baldness, an issue most men [are] sensitive and embarrassed about.

“They prefer the sanctitude of an understanding and empathetic male environment that lacks judgment during these procedures.

“We also cater to a large homosexual community in Newtown, and assist a number of regular transsexual/transgender clientele that are in the process of transition from female to male genders with inherit insecurities regarding gender, craving advice from men on how to groom themselves during this transition that Hawleywood’s is more than happy and honoured to provide.”

The store said in a statement that if the policy were to change, “we will no longer be able to provide this sanctitude and privacy for men who feel uncomfortable getting these procedures done in front of women”.

Male-only barber shops are no different to businesses that exclude men for the “personal comfort, confidence and privacy” or female clientele, including Fernwood and Curves, the statement said.

“We don’t vilify or discriminate against homosexuals, over 50 per cent of our customer base is of homosexual orientation,” it said.

“There are a number of barber shops within a 50 metre radius offering hair cuts and razor shaves that do cater to women.”

Many on Facebook have defended the store. “Good for you on the no women policy,” wrote Carolyn Palmer. “Stick to your guns and don’t be bullied by the mob. Plenty of women only places around and they don’t get bloody hounded.”

Amanda Houghton added: “Good on you. As a woman I have no problem with this, we as women have salons, gyms, beauty salons, parking, doctors and a range of other things that are women only.

“You have no reason to justify your actions of men-only, I don’t see others justifying women-only anything.”


Dead to History

As Marc Antony put it, 'the good is oft interrèd with their bones' and so it is at Melbourne University, where a gaggle of clamorous sooks and attention-seekers is demanding the name of a long-dead medico be erased from the institution he helped to build

A movement to censor our history is forming at Australian universities. Students and academics are campaigning for buildings and lecture halls to be renamed because of their association with ‘offensive’ historical figures. They no longer feel comfortable confronting, or even acknowledging, the past— instead, they want to expunge it altogether. Their first target is the renaming of the Richard Berry building at the University of Melbourne.

Richard Berry revolutionised the teaching of anatomy in Melbourne. He wrote the standard anatomy textbook used by students for some twenty-five years. As dean of medicine he advocated for the placement of a hospital near campus that could work closely with the university, a dream that became a reality after his departure. Berry’s contributions to teaching, as well as an administrator, were so outstanding that when a new anatomy building opened, which he designed, it was only natural to name the building after him.

Sadly, despite his capabilities, Berry, along with John Maynard Keynes, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, and Winston Churchill, advocated for the patently racist and discredited eugenics movement of the early 20th century. Eugenicists sought to promote certain genetic traits, and discourage others, by manipulating sexual reproduction. This supposedly scientific theory was used by the Nazis to justify their atrocities.

He also advocated for sterilisation of Aboriginals, people with a disability, and other groups he viewed as inferior. Student union president Tyson Holloway-Clarke says the existence of a building named after him is ‘confronting and alienating situation for Indigenous students.’

The move to wipe Berry’s name from the building he designed follows in the footsteps of similar campaigns on British and American campuses. Oxford University students unsuccessfully advocated for the destruction of a Cecil Rhodes. However, their campaign failed to appreciate Rhodes’ positive legacy. The Rhodes Scholarship has provided extraordinary educational opportunities to thousands from the developing and developed world, people who would otherwise never have had the opportunity to attend such a prestigious institution. It has helped train the leaders of countless countries, including our own prime ministers Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott and Bob Hawke.

Yes, Rhodes’ legacy, just like Berry’s, is deeply flawed. It is vital, however, that we acknowledge both the virtuous and vile in our history. Our past is neither good nor evil, rather, it reflects the varying shades of grey that make up the complexities of human character. It reflects our constant drive towards progress and developing a more compassionate society. It is vital we remember and attempt to fully understand the complexity, not seek to censor our past.

We must be careful to not project modern ideas, which simply did not exist at the time, onto history. The speed of human progress has led to an extraordinarily rapid change in cultural understandings, political values and scientific theories. The essence of historic analysis is gaining a full understanding of these changes, and the world in which historic figures lived. The alternate, applying today’s values to the past, makes it almost impossible to find any respectable historical figures for admiration or study.

It would require Labor to rename their think-tank, the Evatt Foundation, because Doc Evatt brandished a letter in Parliament from Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov falsely claiming there was no Soviet spying in Australia—a letter written by the same individual who signed the Soviet-Nazi Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Liberals would have to stop celebrating Robert Menzies because, in the height of the Cold War, he advocated for the illiberal policy of banning a political party, the Communist Party of Australia. Americans would have to abandon their constitution and bill of rights because two-thirds of the founding fathers owned slaves.

If we actually want to understand, not simply abandon, the past we must comprehend the world in which these people functioned, the threats that motivated them, and the cultural values of their time. We must understand that Evatt was motivated by a theory, albeit false, of conspiracy between the government and the security establishment to discredit Labor. We must understand that Menzies believed, based on the stated aims of Australian communists, that there was a serious clandestine threat to our democracy. And we must understand that the American founders lived in a time when slave ownership was common across the world. We can, and should, criticise their views and actions, but it is ahistorical to apply today’s values to figures living in a different time.

Censoring the past also hinders the educational mission of universities. These statues, buildings, and lecture halls provide an important opportunity to confront our history. Renaming buildings allows past injustices to be forgotten, to be wiped off the public memory. Leaving them in place is a good reminder and educational opportunity. Rather than rename the Richard Berry building, making him float away into the abyss of history book footnotes buried in the basement of a campus library, it would be appropriate to place a prominent plaque near the entrance of the building explaining both his contributions and abhorrent views. This would allow students to understand the fact that this person did exist, and what he actually did. It also prevents the university from taking the relatively easy step of wiping out a dark part of their history.

Ironically, the University of Melbourne has previously hosted a disability support services unit in the Richard Berry building. Some have claimed that this placement is insulting. However, the opposite is in fact true. The best way to show just how wrong Berry’s ideas were, and to display how far we have come as a society, is to act in the completely opposite manner. It is to celebrate that students from all backgrounds roam freely in the corridors of the Richard Berry building. This allows us to not forget the complexities of our past, and delivers a far more nuanced understanding of what is right and wrong.


Happy 25th birthday to Australia's economic growth

Australia has now notched up 100 quarters without a recession, nearly breaking the Netherlands' record for longest expansion at 103.

Australia's economy grew by 3.3 per cent over the year to June, matching economist forecasts and putting GDP growth slightly above average levels.

"We've got an Australian economy that's growing at the fastest rate in four years, that's a truly remarkable situation," CommSec's chief economist Craig James said.

But, even with an optimistic result, analysts warn Australia's economy is not bullet proof, and there is still potential for Australia to enter recession as it transitions from the mining boom.

The national unemployment rate currently sits at 5.7 per cent. Western Australia's jobless rate is at 6.3 per cent, while South Australia is even worse, at 6.4 per cent.

"Some people are doing better, some people are doing worse but in aggregate, basically the economy is in very, very good shape," Mr James said.

"The job market has softened in some states like Western Australia, but from very low levels of unemployment in relative terms."

A large portion of Australia's population have not lived through a recession and Mr James warned that may give the impression Australia was bullet proof.

"Recessions are just those times that you just don't want to see. It's where unemployment can go from 5 per cent to 10 per cent, in the space of a couple of quarters, people lose their jobs and businesses fail," Mr James said.

Government building investment gave GDP a huge push, adding 0.7 percentage points to GDP. That is a concern for concern for Bill Mitchell, professor of economics at the University of Newcastle, who is wary the only thing keeping the economy afloat is public spending.

"The private investment is in a state of collapse, our external sector, our export sector is basically went backwards this quarter, and the only thing that kept growth above zero was the public sector," Professor Mitchell said.

While the country weathered the Global Financial Crisis relatively unscathed, Professor Mitchell warned household consumption had dropped again.

"It's still growing but it's slowing down because households carry on massive debt loads and will not drive growth to the levels that we saw prior to the Global Financial Crisis," Professor Mitchell said.

"Households are basically, if they want to drive consumption growth, going to expand their credit, and it's at such high levels that I think we're seeing now an unwillingness, of households to do that."

It has been 25 years since the last recession, which ended in June 1991. The new challenge going forward would be for incoming Reserve Bank Governer Phillip Lowe to keep up performance levels into the future.

"We've got a very well balanced economy and if any credit has to go it has to go to the Reserve Bank for ensuring that our economy has managed to chalk up 25 consecutive years of economic growth," Mr James said.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here


Anonymous said...

Re. "Safe Schools" program

In many decades or a century or so's time, when the social pendulum has swung back the other way from where it is today, after political correctness has run its course, and when truth, reason and individual accountability have been re-claimed, then I expect we will look back on these times and see the current social policies and programs for what they are, as crimes.

Paul said...

"Joan Kirner Social Justice Oration"

Ever higher heights of absurdity abound. I thought such a thing could only exist in satire.