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Posts Tagged ‘Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill’

Submission on Conversion Not-A-Therapy Bill

9 September 2021 4 comments

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To Parliament, Justice Committee:

Please consider my submission to the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill (2021).

Whilst Conversion “Therapy”* does not affect me as I am a cis heterosexual male-identifying person, it disturbs me that a practice that has no basis in science is being carried out against some of my fellow New Zealanders.

The issue of sexual orientation and identification is a complex matter that we still have much to learn about. Just as homosexuality was once illegal and considered a “perversion”, we now accept that sexual orientation is a facet of human nature. To attempt to change this through a practice that would seem more appropriate in the Medieval Ages, defies logic.

To implement a process euphemistically called “therapy” to change a person’s core being would be a pathway to deep psychological harm

It would be like attempting to change my own sexuality.

I do not understand how a person’s core being can be “converted”. Not without consequential harm to that person.

Consent cannot be a factor. For young people who are going through troubling times of adolescence and uncertainty, any attempt to “convert” a person to rigidly accepted “norms” would most likely be damaging to them in the long term.

It would be a re-play of Lake Alice “therapies” that have left so many people permantly damaged for life.

I see little difference between the state-sanctioned “therapies” of former Lake Alice patients and current practices involving conversion.

I therefore endorse section 5/2, which states:

However, conversion practice does not include—
(a) a health service provided by a health practitioner in accordance with the practitioner’s scope of practice; or
(b) assisting an individual who is undergoing, or considering undergoing, a gender transition; or
(c) assisting an individual to express their gender identity; or
(d) providing acceptance, support, or understanding of an individual; or
(e) facilitating an individual’s coping skills, development, or identity exploration, or facilitating social support for the individual; or
(f) the expression only of a religious principle or belief made to an individual that is not intended to change or suppress the individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Any acceptable therapy should involve a person’s journey for self-understanding and acceptance – not attempting to deviate their life from whatever path nature has alloted them. In effect conversion “therapy” creates and forces a lie onto a person; a self-deception; denying their true self.

I further submit that opposition to this Bill is mainly from a minority of chauvinists. They include TERFs (trans exclusionary radical “feminists”) – or “gender critics” as some call themselves now – who operate under the banner of the so-called “Speak up for women (SUFW).

This group’s primary and sole agenda is to deny the validity of transgender people. Many of their fear-tactics (“stranger danger in public toilets and changing rooms”) are a hostile re-play of the homophobic rhetoric from 1986, when the Homosexual Law Reform Bill was passing through Parliament.

Other opponants have a religious basis. Whilst people are free to believe in whatever deity they wish, pushing Conversion “therapy” goes beyond what is considered parameters for free speech: they actively seek to impress their views onto another human being.

This is be dystopian-future stuff.

I cannot subscribe to religious adherents having a “free pass” to force their beliefs onto another human being. We oppose this with the Taliban in Afghanistan in their treament of women; or LGBTQI+ in Iran, Saudi Arabia, et al, and we must do likewise for our own home-grown religious fundamentalists.

Otherwise we are not consistent.

Nature is diverse with sex. Far from being the binary Male/Female many TERFs and Fundamentalists maintain, there are many examples of sex-changing animals on this planet. I encourage Parliamentarians to do some basic research on sex/gender-fluid animals; they would be surprised how common it is.

The most common is the New Zealand fish, commonly known as the “Spotty”:

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/spotty-fish-sex-change-has-potential-in-science/3UTTI2KQFVBG4SFD5JOFVWCPQ4/

https://www.insidescience.org/news/duplicate-genes-let-these-fish-switch-sex

Other animals also have sexual/gender fluidity:

https://www.inverse.com/science/animals-can-change-their-sex

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/frogs-reverse-sex-more-often-than-thought

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/sequential-hermaphroditism

We are not fish. But we are free to be who we are.

But regardless, human sexuality is more complex. There are more than just ‘XX’ and ‘XY’ sexes, as this tutorial shows:

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So any notion of a strict binary sexuality is a narrow human preconception, and denies the real diversity of Nature.

We once used to believe that only heterosexuality was the “norm”. Anything else was thought to be “abnormal”; a “perversion”. I thought we had outgrown such narrow chauvinism. The argument surrounding Conversion “therapy” is a replay of many of those same arguments, attempting to re-litigate the validity of our cousins in the Rainbow community.

People can believe whatever they want. But pushing beliefs onto others because their god told them, or because their hold narrow views on binary sexuality is not acceptable.

We would not countenance “converting” a person to homosexuality. I fail to see the difference in attempting to convert someone to heterosexuality (or any other orientation).

I urge all fair-minded Parliamentarians to consider that male homosexuality was once illegal and men were imprisoned for their orientation. We now recognise that was wrong. On the 6th of July 2017, Parliament formally apologised to homosexual men for the gross injustice meted out to them by the State:

“That this House apologise to those homosexual New Zealanders who were convicted for consensual adult activity, and recognise the tremendous hurt and suffering those men and their families have gone through, and the continued effects the convictions have had on them.” – Motion of apology, 6 June 2017

https://www.parliament.nz/en/get-involved/features/house-unanimously-apologises-for-historical-persecution-of-homosexual-men/

If Parliament supports banning of Conversion “Therapy”, it will avert the need for another apology in the future for harm caused to LGBTQI+ through this odious practice. If we’ve learned our lesson the first time, a second injustice need not occur.

I commend Parliament for progressing the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill.

If the Select Committee has questions, I will be available for questions and answers.

Frank Macskasy

* The term “Therapy” is a dishonest mis-nomer. There is nothing therapeutic about this .

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References

Legislation: Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill

Other Blogs

Boots Theory: End conversion therapy in Aotearoa

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National: Demand the Debate. Also National: No, not like that!

8 August 2021 2 comments

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demand the debate. not like that. young nats silenced

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Up until recently, National’s Caretaker Leader, Judith Collins, has pushed her party’s #DemandTheDebate rhetoric – implying that the current government has somehow, mysteriously, successfully stopped the entire country from debating “important issues”.

The party’s billboards screamed “Demand the Debate”, with Ms Collins’ glaring at us with her forced, Bond-villain-style smile:

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demand the dumb debate by national desperate to be relevant

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he puap[ua demand the debate

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Social media wits were quick to take the p*ss. National’s efforts were mercilessly lampooned:

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National's billboard

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The entire exercise was more a desperate attempt to remain relevant in New Zealander’s lives and control the narrative rather than any real call for debating issues.

It was telling that the real issues – covid/border controls, housing, health, climate change, poverty – were all missing from the billboards. These are issues National wanted buried. Their history of inaction on these points left them vulnerable to public questions demanding:

“Wait, what? Just what the hell were you doing during your nine years in government?”

But nowhere is National’s lukewarm commitment to debating issues more apparent than their recent appalling mistreatment of their own youth wing, the Young Nationals.

As Henry Cooke reported for Stuff media:

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The Young Nats had the temerity to question their Elders, calling for National MPs to vote to send the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill to Select Committee for public consultation and – debate.

Instead, not only did National MPs vote against debating the Bill at Select Committee – but their Justice Spokesperson, Simon Bridges, railed against transgender and non-binary people:

It is important that we consider sexual orientation and gender identity or expression separately. Sexual orientation requires no medical intervention, whereas when it comes to gender identity/expression, parents are naturally concerned about being able to make decisions about their children being given puberty blockers and hormones .”

Just another normal day for cis heterosexual men (and a few women, sad to say) determining the sexuality of other people when really, it’s none of their damned business. Are we re-litigating the 1986 Homosexual Law Reform and Marriage Equality debates all over again?

Mr Bridges, et al, we do not get to “consider [other peoples’] sexual orientation and gender identity or expression separately“. We can consider our own sexuality – that’s it.

The Young Nats – though hardly expressing unqualified, fulsome support for the Bill – made it crystal-clear:

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One has to wonder – where are the Free Speech warriors leaping the the defence of the Young Nats? (Indeed, at least one supposedly staunch proponent of free speech has roundly condemned the Young Nats for their simple request for an open debate at Select Committee.)

Not only did the National Party conference condemn their own youth wing (not a very smart move, as they are potentially the future of the National Party), but they called for at least one head to roll:

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Young Nats president Stephanie-Anne Ross​

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Meanwhile, incumbent Peter Goodfellow, was re-appointed President of the National Party – despite his considerable over-weight baggage notwithstanding.

Meanwhile, the ACT Party – whilst expressing reservations about some aspects of the Bill – still did the right thing and voted to send it to the Select Committee. As Party Leader David Seymour explained:

“We’re gonna vote for it at the first reading because we believe that people deserve to have a say at select committee.”

ACT has also been recently criticised for allowing a Parliamentary venue to be used by a transphobic group. At the time, Mr Seymour also supported their right to debate:

“Speak Up For Women has a right to conduct what is a legitimate debate without being subject to intimidation.”

Regardless of what one may think of ACT’s policies or the so-called “Speak Up for Women” (and this blogger has no time for either) – David Seymour has proven his principled stand on free speech.

Whereas National has demonstrated a clear lack of integrity; shifting principles, and willingness to engage in double standards dependent on which way the political winds are blowing. (This criticism does not extend to Young Nationals who have shown themselves the real adults in the room.)

A simple message to National: “demanding the debate” has zero credibility when an opportunity arises to debate – and they dodge it.

The clock is ticking on Judith Collins’ erratic leadership.

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#NationalNotFitToGovern

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(But give the #YoungNats a crack at it, eh?)

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References

Stuff media: National Party members vote to rein in board and seat-hopping MPs

Parliament: Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill

RNZ: ACT, National warn of conversion therapy bill ‘risk’

Twitter: Young Nats – Conversion “Therapy” – 10.29am Aug 5 2021

TVNZ: Goodfellow remains National Party president, Carter resigns

Newshub: National creates two versions of election review, one with ‘gory details taken out’

The Spinoff: David Seymour to host controversial Feminism 2020 event in parliament

Additional

Newshub: National MPs defend vote against conversion therapy Bill, despite saying they support a ban

Forbes: This Is Where LGBTQ ‘Conversion Therapy’ Is Illegal

Other Blogs

The Jackal: Calling all transphobes

Previous related blogposts

First they came…

Apartheid in Aotearoa New Zealand – yes, it does exist

Fairfax media and Kiwiblog revise incorrect story denigrating trans-people

Anti-trans activists fudge OIA statement – Report

The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response

Judith Collins and National: It’s a trust thing

The Shifting Faces of Simon Bridges

Acknowledgement

Thanks to Alice for proofreading. Much appreciated!

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National always on the wrong side of history

 

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The Shifting Faces of Simon Bridges

7 August 2021 1 comment

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“Oops, I did it again
I played with your trust, in the political game
Oh baby, baby
Oops, you think I’m here for you
That I’m sent from above
I’m not that competent” – Apologies to Britney Spears

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Part of youth and young adulthood is the propensity to make mistakes. We all make those mistakes, some trivial and forgotten in a swirling fog of time and dimmed memory –  some not-so-trivial and which eventually come back to haunt us.

It’s what we learn from those mistakes that ultimately matters. For most, those mistakes serve as a lesson: don’t do it again. There are bad consequences.

For others, those lessons seem to be a wasted exercise in life-experiences.

Case in point, Simon Bridges, National MP. Current MP for Tauranga and National’s spokesperson for Justice. In the Key/English administration, he held portfolios for Economic Development, Transport, Communications, Energy & Resources, Labour, Associate Finance and Leader of the House. One of his most notorious acts was to criminalise protests against deep sea oil prospecting by foreign corporations.

(Five years later, the Ardern-led government banned new deep sea oil prospecting anyway.)

Mr Bridges is also remembered for his opposition to marriage equality in 2013. His heterosexual chauvinism was blatant;

“I don’t think it’s the biggest issue Parliament is going to deal with anytime soon. It looks very likely to pass.

I have voted against it really for a couple of reasons. The first is all the feedback I am getting from my electorate makes it clear the majority of people of Tauranga are against it.”

Secondly, I think more than being a legal matter marriage is a deeply cultural, historical and religious institution built up over a very long time.

I wouldn’t change it lightly.”

Came the vote on the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013, he was one of fortyfour MPs who cast their ballot against allowing gays, lesbians, and transgender people to marry.

It appears that his comment as a young man in 1994;

“Oh I know him, actually he was a teacher of mine at school. How do I feel about him being gay? To be honest I’m not really into homosexuality, but I suppose if he’s going to come out and say it, I suppose it takes a bit of guts.”

— was still very much prevalent in his life.

By 2019, Mr Bridges appears to have moved on from his ill-concealed homophobia. Firstly he admitted his comments had been immature;

“Look obviously I was a very young, silly young guy. It’s an incredibly long time ago, my views have changed.”

He then conceded that his voting decision on marriage equality had been an error of judgement;

“I would change my vote today. New Zealand has moved on and so have I.” Admitting, “We all move on and we’ve got a law that’s working well.”

Interestingly, it was “New Zealand that had moved on“, dragging Mr Bridges and other “no”-voting MPs along for the ride. More on this point shortly.

Unfortunately, Mr Bridges’ assertion that “my views have changed” appears to have been short-lived or premature. His statement in Parliament, opposing the banning of conversion “therapy” (Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill) was one Giant Leap for A Man – back to the 1950s;

“National supports the core intention of this thought. People should be free to be who they want to be and to love who they want to love. There is one major sticking point, however, which means that although we want to be supportive, we are opposing this law until it is amended. It is very clear in Kris Faafoi’s interview on Newstalk ZB with Heather du Plessis-Allan, and any plain reading of this bill, that good parenting will be criminalised —

 — facing up to five years—it is exactly what it is saying—imprisonment for being parents to children under 18. The members opposite yell at me, but that is what Kris Faafoi said on Newstalk ZB, and it is wrong.

Parents should be allowed to be parents and to explore sexuality and gender with their children. But under this law, if a mum tells her 12-year-old son or daughter, “Taihoa, before you go on puberty blockers or other hormone treatment, wait till you’re 18.”, that mum will be breaking the law. National believes there must be an exemption for parents.”

He then proceeded to veer off on a tangent regarding transgender people, de-transitioning, and puberty blockers, whilst citing a case from the UK. They were talking points straight out of the transphobic minority hate-group, the so-called “Speak up for Women“.

It was as if the “very young, silly young guy” was standing in Parliament spouting the same homophobic/transphobic rubbish from which he had claimed to have resiled.

How many times can Mr Bridges express chauvinistic views against the LGBTQI+ and then expect an apology afterwards to be taken seriously?

How many “free passes” does a person get for making the same mistake over and over again?

Mr Bridges has accepted the need to ban conversion “therapy” when he opened his Parliamentary speech; “National supports the core intention of this thought. People should be free to be who they want to be and to love who they want to love.“.

Indeed.

So the question then arises, how can Mr Bridges and his National Party parliamentary colleagues,  ban a practice; making it illegal; and admitting it is ineffective;  but still permit parents to engage in the very same practice that would be illegal and ineffective?

The ‘logic’ of this escapes me.

It is akin to banning child abuse – but allowing parents to engage in child abuse.

It lowers the value of a child from being a human being and reduces them to property. Like a table or a car or a TV set.

It should be remembered that pet owners do not have the right to abuse their pets. Heavy fines and even jail terms await pet owners found abusing their companion animals.

So in effect, if parents are exempt from the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill, Mr Bridges has elevated the rights of pets above children; that pets have more protection under the law than children.

Is that Mr Bridges intent?

Mr Bridges colleague, National MP, Louise Upston also confirmed National’s position on conversion “therapy”;

“National wants to support this bill. We abhor conversion therapy and anything that harms or abuses, or creates issues for, any New Zealander to choose who they are, to be who they are, and to love who they choose.”

But then, again, she advocated parents having the right to practice a so-called “therapy” that has been declared ineffective and would be otherwise banned;

“I’d like to see when the bill progresses that there is clarity and a parental exemption…”

Despite headlines to the contrary, ACT was not much better. Although supporting the First Reading of the Bill,  they took their opposition to the Bill a step further, supporting not just “parental rights” but religious-based intervention, as Maureen McKee clearly advocated;

“Further to this, if the family wanted to seek religious guidance, and they were, say, salvationists, they won’t get that advice; they would not even get prayer…

… ACT’s concern is that the bill, in its current format, doesn’t just step on parents and religion; it actually stomps on it. The Government would be interfering and legislating what can be said in the home, how a family is to deal with an issue, and removes their ability to seek religious guidance.”

Preventing “religious guidance” – aka conversion “therapy” is pretty much why the Bill is needed to protect young people. Allowing an exemption for so-called “religious guidance” would make the law utterly pointless. (It would be like banning drink-driving – except if you have drunk beer, wine, or spirits. Otherwise drink-driving is banned.)

The response from many ranged from disappointment to outright disgust and anger. Even the Young Nats called for their Parliamentary “elders” to support the first reading of the Bill;

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National’s Caretaker Leader, Judith Collins’ response was typical Judith Collins;

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Way to go, Ms Collins. Being dismissive of their Youth Wing with an arrogant “the party won’t be dictated by its youth wing” is a great way to tell your activists how much they are valued. Or, as one high profile commentator and activist from the Rainbow community put it on social media;

“Bold to start your party’s conference by telling your youth wing to fuck off”

Meanwhile, National MPs might consider scrubbing posts from their social media accounts, such as this one;

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Or, like this one;

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facebook simon bridges big gay out

 

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They have not “aged” well.

It beggars belief that Mr Bridges can attend Rainbow events and then make black and white declarations regarding LGBTQI+ that reflect his own bias;

It is important that we consider sexual orientation and gender identity or expression separately. Sexual orientation requires no medical intervention, whereas when it comes to gender identity/expression, parents are naturally concerned about being able to make decisions about their children being given puberty blockers and hormones … parents should be allowed to be parents.”

For the zillionth time; conservative/right-wing politicians should stay the hell out of the lives and bedrooms of LGBTQI+ people. Conservative/right-wing politicians do not get to choose “sexual orientation and gender identity or expression separately“.

And then turn up at Rainbow events as “supporters”.

So it was perfectly understandable that Auckland Pride Executive Director, Max Tweedie, confirmed that the National Party is no longer welcome at the Auckland Pride festival. Perhaps other Rainbow event organisors may follow suit.

Without much doubt, this Bill will pass into law. Parents will not be “criminalised” for talking with their children. Organisations/groups will be prevented from engaging in dubious conversion “therapy” practices.

The shield of “religious belief” will be stripped away – as it should be. Religion should never be a cloak for bad behaviours and practices from the Medieval Ages. If it were, their adherents would still be stoning gays, adulterers, etc, to death. (To spell it out; stoning is murder. Murder is surprisingly illegal, regardless of religious belief.)

We already see numerous examples where “religious belief” is just a cloak for what would otherwise be inexcusable, bigotted behaviour;

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If National feels they can pander to conservative voters and to extremist fringe groups like “Speak up for Women“, so be it. There may be a few votes in it. But not enough to become government.

Remember what Simon Bridges said?

“New Zealand has moved on.”

Indeed, the country has. But National hasn’t. It is stuck in a past that has not existed since 1986 – but the rest of us (or most of us) have moved on.

The same arguments used against Homosexual Law Reform and marriage equality have been heard before: “freedom to be a bigot in the name of religious belief”.

The same arguments against the so-called “anti-smacking” bill have been heard before: “criminalising well meaning parents who want to beat the shit out of their kids”.

All these arguments to excuse bad behaviour have been heard before. And under the bright glare of scrutiny, they were dismissed for what they are: uninformed fear mongering and cheap political point-scoring for votes.

As was pointed out above, it is inconceivable that certain behaviour can be found to be ineffective and made illegal – but for some inexplicable reason, parents should be allowed to engage in that same behaviour which is ineffective and illegal for others. That is some twisted logic right there.

This Bill will pass. And National will be left behind, it’s MPs forced to recant in years to come.

By then, the Party may have fractured, splintering into it’s constituent groups; Rural; Urban Liberals; and religious right.

But in the meantime, as Maori Party/Te Paati Māori co-Leader, Rawiri Waittiti said in the same debate where Simon Bridges declared himself on the wrong side of history (yet again);

“Tēnā koe e te Pīka. Tēnā tatou e te Whare. I’m going to be on the right side of history in this debate, and I will not wait for a valedictory speech to apologise to the rest of New Zealand!”

No more apologies, Mr Bridges.

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References

Parliament: Simon Bridges

National: About Simon Bridges

Radio NZ:  Govt plans hefty fines for offshore mining protests

RNZ: Parliament passes Bill banning new offshore oil and gas exploration

Sunlive: Final reading for gay marriage bill

NZ Herald: Gay marriage – How MPs voted

Newshub: ‘I’m not really into homosexuality’: Simon Bridges’ former gay views revealed

Newshub: Marriage equality, five years on – The Spinoff asks opposing MPs if they’d still vote no

TVNZ: Simon Bridges attends first Big Gay Out event, says he would now vote for marriage equality

Parliament: Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill — First Reading

NZ Herald: Act supports conversion therapy ban bill, National holding out over parental concerns

Twitter: Young Nats – Conversion “Therapy” – 10.29am Aug 5 2021

Newstalk ZB: Judith Collins – National will not be dictated by Young Nats

Twitter: Max Tweedie – Judith Collins on Young Nats – 2.38pm Aug 6 2021

Twitter: Nicola Willis – Wellington Pride – 6:01pm Mar 7 2020

Facebook: Simon Bridges attending Ending HIV Big Gay Out: 20th Anniversary

RNZ: ACT, National warn of conversion therapy bill ‘risk’

Rolling Stone: Ohio Allows Doctors to Deny LGBTQ Health Care on Moral Grounds

Twitter: @postingdad – conversion “therapy” –11.20am August 5 2021

Additional

Newshub: Marriage equality, five years on – The Spinoff asks opposing MPs if they’d still vote no

RNZ: Nights – Window on The World – People Fixing the World – LGBT community in Mombasa, Kenya

Other Blogs

Boots Theory: Laurel Hubbard is a trailblazer

Fightback: SWERF and TERF – The Red-Brown alliance in Policing Gender

No Right Turn:  Ending conversion “therapy”

The Jackleman:  Simon Bridges cannot be trusted

The Jackleman:  Calling all transphobes

The Standard: National used to be better than this

Highly Recommended Blogpost

Postingdad: This Bill Will Pass

Previous related blogposts

The Many Mendacities of Mr Bridges – National’s fair-weather “commitment” to a Climate Change Commission

Recycling – National Party style. Something embarrassing about Mr Bridges conference speech uncovered

Simon burns his Teal Coalition Bridges

Mining, Drilling, Arresting, Imprisoning – Simon Bridges

Letter to the Editor: Simon Bridges is a very naughty little boy!

Standard & Poor’s just sabotaged Simon Bridges’ tax bribe announcement

Simon Bridges – out of touch with Kiwi Battlers

Simon Bridges: the 15 March Christchurch massacre and winning at any cost

Simon Bridges: “No ifs, no buts, no caveats, I will repeal this CGT”

First they came…

Apartheid in Aotearoa New Zealand – yes, it does exist

Fairfax media and Kiwiblog revise incorrect story denigrating trans-people

Anti-trans activists fudge OIA statement – Report

The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response

Acknowledgement

Thanks to Helen for proofreading! Many thanks!

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Have your own thoughts? Leave a comment. (Trolls need not bother.)

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