Family First: Bobbing Frantically About SOP 432(And Rebuttal)

May 5, 2014 in General

A fortnight after it was introduced, Family First’s Bob McCoskrie has finally discovered the existence of SOP 432. One wonders why it took the Christian Right pressure group leader so long. Regardless of the fact that the text of SOP 432 is publically available online for those of us who want to peruse it, including neurotic fundamentalists who have quaint ideas about eternally “fixed” gender roles and bizarre tabloid fantasies about imaginary “transvestite pedophiles and rapists” lurking in women’s changing rooms, McCoskrie is crying subterfuge. Let’s deal with the transphobe in question’s latest rant…

Family First says that a Labour MP is trying to introduce a “highly controversial” piece of legislation through Parliament in a way that avoids the public debate and focus that it deserves.

[No, she didn't. The Hansard record is available online and in print for those who want to read it, as is the text of Supplementary Order Paper 432 on the parliamentary website. I see no "subterfuge" here- Craig]

“The controversial proposal by Labour MP Louisa Wall to include ‘gender identity’ as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Human Rights Act is unnecessary, and has been dubbed the “bathroom bill” in overseas jurisdictions because of experiences where it gives the opportunity for men who pretend to be transgender a legal alibi to use women’s bathrooms, showers, and changing rooms at public facilities,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

[It's  been dubbed the "bathroom bill" by bullying unrepresentative Canadian and US Christian Right pressure groups like REAL Women of Canada and the US Family Research Council, and they're citing cheap sensationalist and unsubstantiated US tabloid gutter press coverage that was later exposed as such in the Canadian Senate. McCoskrie neglects to tell his readers that Canada's Bill C-279 had passed all three of its readings in the Canadian House of Commons and its second reading in the Canadian Senate, and that California's AB1622 (a transgender child protection and safety bill) was unsuccessfully targeted by a failed referendum petition drive against it.  Oh look, everyone. McCoskrie's cravenly parrotting his mates in the US Christian Right again...dependent as ever on them for propaganda, tactics and strategy, I see...

And for that matter, what about that poor transperson in Taiwan who died of uremia after this idiocy received an airing there? Have you no shame or decency, McCoskrie? Apparently not- Craig]

“Among the implications of these proposals is that sex-specific facilities, including gyms like Contours and swimming pools who have dedicated times for females only, plus the use of men’s and women’s public toilets and changing rooms, could no longer be limited on the basis of a person’s actual biological sex.”

[Do you have any substantive proof behind these outlandish claims, Bob? No, you do not. -Craig]

“But the expectation of parents and families is to see people of the same gender in places like public toilets and changing rooms.”

[News flash, Bob. They are the same gender- they're just taking longer to get there than cispeople. It's called 'transitioning'- Craig]

“Of most concern is that the Labour MP is doing it under the shadow of the Statues Amendment Bill (No.4) which has just had its first reading in Parliament, but is a bill which deals with ‘technical, short, and non-controversial amendments to a range of Acts’. This proposed amendment is anything but non-controversial,” says Mr McCoskrie.

The previous Labour government distanced itself in 2006 from similar legislation introduced as a private members bill by Labour MP Georgina Beyer, and it was subsequently withdrawn after a legal opinion stated the bill was unnecessary.

[The Crown Law Office opinion states that gender identity "should" be read into "gender." However, it has never been tested within the context of the Human Rights Act and it is an extra-judicial opinion which does not have the force of law. In which case, the lurid and imbecilic tabloid fantasy scenarios that McCoskrie occurs would still be "possible" if there were any substance to them- Craig]

“The introduction of this latest proposal is especially ironic given the recent accusation of Labour implementing a ‘man ban’.”

[Oh, here we go. Why is it that there aren't any significant female Christian Right leaders anymore, Bob? Are daft fundamentalist ideas about male dominance and "complementarity" but female "inferiority" responsible for that?  Where are all the Christian Right's women, Bob?- Craig]

“In view of the confusion experienced overseas by such legislation, it is not surprising that the United Nations has repeatedly rejected the terms ‘sexual identity’ and ‘sexual expression’ as a protected right partly because of confusion around its definition. Those with gender dissatisfaction must have the same rights as all New Zealanders, but should not be given special rights which place others at risk.”

[Correction please- make that orchestrated campaign propaganda, tactics and strategy imported from the US Family Research Council, publicised by the World Congress of Families and which has already failed in Canada when abused by the transphobic, antifeminist, antigay and antiabortion Christian Right "REAL Women of Canada" organisation. You remember, Bob- you were one of their speakers at the World Congress of Families get together in Sydney in May 2013? And they're also sponsors of your "Forum for the Family" Christian Right get-togethers, according to your own webpage.  I spy with my vigilant eye something beginning with 'fix-up'- Craig]

Family First will be writing to the Member in charge of the bill, Hon Chester Borrows, and also the Chairperson of the Government Administration Committee requesting that any submissions on the issue be rejected and deemed as out of the jurisdiction of this bill.

[Wow. Just a year ago, this character was trying to argue that limiting submissions on the Marriage Equality Amendment Act constituted "interference with free speech." Now look, he's trying to do exactly the same thing with SOP 432. What's the matter, Bob? Frightened that you'll learn something substantive about gender identity and transgender rights?- Craig]

“Any highly contentious issue like this should be exposed to full and open public debate as a separate bill, and not snuck through Parliament via the back door.”

[And it will be debated as such, in due course. Be patient- Craig]

Not Recommended:

“Labour MP pushing controversial bathroom bill” Family First: 04.05.2014:

Postscript: And here’s the Canadian Senate reference in question, from an earlier blog.  To deal with Bob the Bigot’s bizarre, lurid tabloid fantasies about imaginary transvestite sexual predators lurking in women’s changing rooms, here’s a quote from Canada’s Bill C-279 debate… Liberal Senator Jane Cordy addressed the notion that the bill would enable predators to commit crimes against women. She pointed out that 16 US states and 143 US cities or counties have similar legislation in place prohibiting discrimination against trans citizens.

“In none of these jurisdictions has there been an increase in unlawful or inappropriate activity after this legislation has been passed. The perception is that there’s a lineup of people, transgender people, waiting until the bill passes and then suddenly they’re going to be breaking the law. I think that’s unrealistic to have that expectation. There are no more criminally minded people within that community than there would be in any other community, would that not be correct?”

Source: Bradley Turcotte: “Federal trans bill passes Senate committee” Xtra: 10.06.2013:

Postscript 2:  National Taiwan University has stirred up anger by approving at least two signs that ask people to use restrooms in accordance with their biological gender. Jiyi Ng, founder and director of Taiwan’s Intersex, Transgender and Transsexual Care Association  says binary division among restrooms alone has brought enough stress for transgender and intersex people faced with repressive Chinese cultures and traditions.

‘There has already been a case where a trans person, who chronically held back urination while outside, died from uremia,’ she told GSN. The current exclusivity to ‘biological males/females’ has simply worsened the psychological trauma trans people is suffering, Ng notes, adding such a practice has violated various local and international decrees and laws. The student activity center put up the signs after receiving complaints about female students using the men’s room, especially when different clubs organize evening events. She notes that one transperson has already died from the genitourinary condition uremia from not urinating due to the ban. 

Not all Taiwanese institutions are as transphobic. Shih Hsin University, a private institute close to the NTU, introduced two gender-neutral restrooms as early as 2011, while the Taipei government followed suit late last year, bringing the first public restroom of its kind to Taiwan.



Postscript 3: I see Bob McCoskrie is now channelling the Pacific Justice Institute, the transphobic California-based Christian Right pressure group attacking AB 1622, California’s transgender child protection and safety bill.  What, you ask, the same Pacific Justice Institute that failed to get enough signatures on its petition against AB1622 earlier this year? PJI and its accomplices felt it had submitted more than the required number of signatures to ensure the referendum made it onto the November 2014 ballot, but in February, the office of the Secretary of State announced that their bid fell 17,726 valid signatures short of the 504,760 needed for the transphobic petition and referendum proposal to be placed on the November midterm Congressional election ballot.



Postscript 4 : McCoskrie has now regurgitated his tired ‘bathroom bill’ cliche in a Scoop media release, attacking Rainbow Labour’s supportive remarks on Gaynz.Com, and also reiterating the tired, sad “bathroom bill” cliche in an interview with Newstalk ZB’s Larry Williams. If you’re responding to this nonsense from Bob the Bigot, use the above  response from Senator Jane Cordy to dispell this latest rivulet of mendacity:
Postscript 5: An Australian friend informed me that “Gender Confusion” had spread across the Tasman, where gender identity discrimination is already illegal at every federal, state and territory level, specifically in the Fraser Coast Chronicle and the conservative Catholic Melbourne-based News Weekly publication.  Bob the Bigot happily got a good telling off in the aforementioned  Queensland community paper!
Postscript 6: I wonder if McCoskrie agrees with the comments of US Family Research Council head Tony  Perkins who seems to believe that only those who have antigay/transphobic/conservative religious beliefs about homosexuality (and abortion, and gender identity) are “entitled” to full and comprehensive religious freedom. Sectarian, much? And remember, the Family Research Council is one source of Family First propaganda here.

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