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This week, 13–19 November, is Transgender Awareness Week. Here is a précis of major international and Australian events since the last Transgender Awareness Week.
On 10 February 2022, Senator Claire Chandler of Tasmania introduced the Sex Discrimination and Other Legislation Amendment (Save Women’s Sport) Bill 2022 (Cth), which would have barred trans women from participating in correctly gendered sports with other women, and forced them to compete against stronger and faster cis men instead.
On 21 May, Australia had a federal election. Several candidates were openly anti-trans, with at least one prominent NSW Liberal candidate, Katherine Deves, being a career anti-trans activist (Wilson, 2022). Labor leader, now prime minister, Anthony Albanese, made some remarks in the media about trans issues which attracted criticism for being transphobic (Iqbal, 2022).
On 16 June, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) — the international governing body for professional cycling — announced a new policy which significantly tightened restrictions on trans women’s participation in professional cycling (Leggett, 2022). The policy is perceived as having intentionally targeted a single British trans woman cyclist, Emily Bridges (BBC Sport, 2022).
On 17 June, the Australian Greens Victoria (AGV) removed their new Convenor, Linda Gale, because she had been elected in an irregular and rule-breaking way that protected her (Baj, 2022b) from having AGV members find out she was a vocal anti-trans activist (Baj, 2022a).
On 20 June, the International Swimming Federation (Fédération Internationale de Natation, FINA) announced a new policy which effectively excluded trans women from competing in professional swimming (“FINA votes to restrict,” 2022).
The conditions under which the FINA Extraordinary Congress passed the policy have been scrutinised — apparently delegates were only allowed to see the 24-page policy 15 minutes before they were made to vote on it (Holmes, 2022). The policy is also perceived as having intentionally targeted a single trans woman swimmer, Lia Thomas (Newberry, 2022).
On 24 June, the Supreme Court of the United States decided Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade, the legal precedent which guaranteed abortion access throughout the United States. As well as targeting cis women, the ruling also caused significant new problems and dangers for trans people who can give birth (Rummler, 2022).
In a separate concurrence, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas — who is, incidentally, the subject of lingering and unresolved allegations of corruption (Barnes & Marimow, 2022; Pilkington, 2022; Tomasky, 2022) — proposed that the ruling in Dobbs also provided grounds to overturn several other precedents of the same “substantive due process” type, including:
- Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 ruling making it federally legal for married people to use contraception;
- Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 ruling making it federally legal to have private, consensual gay sex; and
- Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 ruling striking down the section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act prohibiting same-sex marriage,
all of which will have knock-on effects on trans people (for example, if their hormones are considered contraceptives, or if they can’t get legal gender recognition and therefore their straight relationships and marriages are considered gay under the law).
On 19 July, the UK Independent Review of Gender Identity Services for Children and Young People (“Cass Review”) issued a recommendation (Cass, 2022) to NHS England that the UK’s single centralised paediatric trans healthcare service, the NHS Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) in London, be shut down and replaced by regionalised hubs to provide timelier and more appropriate care (Brooks, 2022).
This was widely misrepresented in international media (e.g., Bannerman, 2022; Ely & Dollimore, 2022; McLoughlin, 2022), at the instigation of anti-trans pressure groups (“The U.K. turns its back,” 2022; Transgender Trend, 2022; Women’s Forum Australia, 2022, etc.) as GIDS being shut down based on (the vague claim of) it being a danger to children.
On 5 August, an attempt was made to kill Canadian streamer Clara “keffals” Sorrenti, who is a trans woman, through “swatting” her (summoning armed police to her home) by calling in a false threat of mass murder in her name (Winslow, 2022). The harassment ultimately escalated to the point that Sorrenti was forced to flee to Europe (Wiggins, 2022).
On 19 August, The Australian published an interview with Oliver “Ollie” Hassett (then Ollie Davies), a detransitioner and activist (Robinson, 2019). They failed to mention that Mr Hassett was affiliated with Genspect (Hassett, 2022), an international anti-trans hate group (Moore, 2022).
On 30 August, the Report of the Inquiry into extremism in Victoria by the Victorian Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee was tabled in the Parliament of Victoria. The report noted transphobia as a path to radicalisation for Australian political extremists (ibid., p. 1), and “public debate” over trans existence as a significant factor in giving those extremists legitimacy (ibid., pp. 45–46).
On 5 October, the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism released a report classifying two anti-trans groups active in Australia, Binary Australia and LGB Alliance Australia, as extremist hate groups (Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, 2022).
On 6 September, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) published its Standards of care for the health of transgender and gender diverse people, version 8 (Coleman et al., 2022), or “SoC 8,” replacing version 7 (Coleman et al., 2012) after an interval of just over ten years.
The SoC 8 attracted controversy at launch, and indeed well before it, during the lengthy period of stakeholder feedback and review. One reason was that it launched with well-sourced, well-evidenced age limits for paediatric medical transition, and then retracted them, restoring a higher age limit for which there was no evidence, under political pressure and the threat of violence (Eckert, 2022). Another reason was that it claimed unearned authority over intersex people (Carpenter, 2021).
A third major reason was that it supported some of its claims with citations to publications (Littman, 2018; D’Angelo et al., 2020; Littman, 2021) which are methodologically unsound (Restar, 2019; Leveille, 2021) and from authors associated with anti-trans pressure groups, like the “Institute for Comprehensive Gender Dysphoria Research” (Jones, 2022) and the “Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine” (Moore, 2021).
On 17 October, the ABC’s Media Watch broadcast an episode, “ACON & the ABC” (Adams, 2022) which attracted immediate controversy because it was factually inaccurate (Rogers, 2022; Salmon & Sobieralski, 2022) and because multiple anti-trans activists took credit for its content. Conversely, multiple commentators wrote evidence-based pieces responding to the episode, including Melbourne-based analyst Eleanor Evenstar1 and me (Moreton, 2022).
On 29 October, UK media announced that new UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak intends to strip trans people of human rights protections under British law by amending the relevant parts of the Equality Act 2010 (Wakefield, 2022). Jo Maugham, director of the Good Law Project, a major trans-allied legal NGO, issued a public recommendation that trans people should leave England if they could (Maugham, 2022).
On 2 November, Bloomberg reported that Twitter’s new owner and incoming chief executive officer, Elon Musk, had directed staff to review the sections of Twitter’s hateful conduct policy which protect transgender people on the 238-million-user social media platform, with an eye to rewriting those sections or deleting them entirely (Riedel, 2022). Musk has a record of vocal transphobia (see, e.g., McHale, 2022) which has been examined in the context that his partner Grimes left him for activist and whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who is trans (Di Placido, 2022), and that his daughter, Vivian Wilson, came out as trans and disowned him (Saunders, 2022).
On 4 November, the State of Florida’s medical regulators voted to ban paediatric trans healthcare and forcibly terminate provision of care to any young trans people currently receiving it (Baisas, 2022). Significant concerns have been raised over the fact that the Florida state government, led by Governor Ron DeSantis, appears to have arranged the process from the word go to achieve a predetermined politically desirable conclusion (Luneau, 2022; Yurcaba, 2022a).
On 8 November, the United States held midterm elections for the whole US House of Representatives, one-third of the US Senate, 39 governorships, and various state and local elections. Analysts predicted a red wave election (Geraghty, 2022; Siracusa, 2022; etc.) — that is, a substantial victory for the right-wing Republican Party — but in the event, one failed to materialise (Alexander, 2022; Milligan, 2022; Smith, 2022).
The governing centrist Democratic Party will retain control of the Senate (“Democrats retain control of Senate,” 2022); the House of Representatives is likely to go Republican by a hair-thin margin, but may end up deadlocked (Bierman et al., 2022). Analysts have attributed Republicans’ underperformance, in part, to ignoring bread-and-butter issues in favour of constantly promoting anti-trans hate (e.g., Weigel, 2022). Meanwhile, several states elected their first transgender officeholders at county and/or state level (Childress, 2022; Duxter, 2022; Yurcaba, 2022b).
2021–2022 contained some bright spots for trans people, compared to the unremittingly horrible 2020–2021. However, the times that weren’t bright spots became even darker to compensate.
- I’ve elected not to cite Ms Evenstar’s piece here not out of disrespect, but because it was published on Twitter, which is expected to experience considerable downtime in the near future. If or when the piece is published elsewhere, I will cite it here.
Adams, J. (Director) (2022, October 17). ACON & the ABC (Season 2022, Episode 35) [TV series episode]. In T. Latham (Executive producer), Media watch. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Alexander, A. (2022, November 9). What happened to the red wave?. Rutgers Today. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Baisas, L. (2022, November 8). Florida state medical boards vote to ban gender-affirming healthcare for transgender minors. Popular Science. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Baj, L. (2022a, June 16). The Victorian Greens have been hit with another transphobia scandal. Junkee. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Baj, L. (2022b, June 20). Linda Gale removed as Vic Greens convenor after internal party backlash to transphobia. Junkee. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Bannerman, L. (2022, March 10). Tavistock gender clinic not safe for children, report finds. The Times. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
Barnes, R., & Marimow, A.E. (2022, March 25). Ethics experts see Ginni Thomas’s texts as a problem for Supreme Court. The Washington Post. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
BBC Sport (2022, June 17). Emily Bridges: UCI criticised after ‘moving goalposts’ on transgender eligibility in cycling. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Bierman, N., Mason, M., & McCaskill, N. (2022, November 9). Democrats defy history with control of Congress still up for grabs. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Brooks, L. (2022, July 29). Tavistock gender identity clinic is closing: what happens next?. The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Carpenter, M. (2021, December 16). Submission to WPATH on the draft SOC8 intersex chapter. Intersex Human Rights Australia. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Cass, H. (2022, July 19). Further advice [Formal letter]. Independent Review of Gender Identity Services for Children and Young People. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Childress, R. (2022, November 9). Berea elects first openly transgender elected official in Kentucky history. Lexington Herald Leader. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Coleman, E., Bockting, W., Botzer, M., Cohen-Kettenis, P., DeCuypere, G., … & Zucker, K. (2012, August 27). Standards of care for the health of transsexual, transgender, and gender-nonconforming people, version 7. International Journal of Transgenderism, 13(4), 165–232. doi:10.1080/15532739.2011.700873. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Coleman, E., Radix, A.E., Bouman, W.P., Brown, G.R., de Vries, A.L.C., … & Arcelus, J. (2022, September 15). Standards of care for the health of transgender and gender diverse people, version 8. International Journal of Transgender Health, 23(S1), S1–S258. doi:10.1080/26895269.2022.2100644. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
D’Angelo, R., Syrulnik, E., Ayad, S., Marchiano, L., Kenny, D.T., & Clarke, P. (2020, October 21). One size does not fit all: In support of psychotherapy for gender dysphoria. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 50, 7–16. doi:10.1007/s10508-020-01844-2. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Democrats retain control of Senate after crucial victory in Nevada (2022, November 13). The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Di Placido, D. (2022, March 11). Grimes ditching Elon Musk for Chelsea Manning has the Internet questioning reality. Forbes. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, 597 U.S. ___ (2022).
Duxter, A. (2022, November 9). Leigh Finke to become first transgender legislator in Minnesota House. CBS News Minnesota. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Eckert, A.J. (2022, October 22). Cutting through the lies and misinterpretations about the updated Standards of Care for the Health of Transgender and Gender Diverse People. Science-Based Medicine. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Ely, J., & Dollimore, L. (2022, July 29). NHS will shut its controversial Tavistock transgender clinic for children after damning report warned it was ‘not safe’. MailOnline. Retrieved 14 November 2022. Hostile source.
FINA votes to restrict transgender participation in elite swimming competition (2022, June 20). The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Geraghty, J. (2022, November 7). Midterm predictions: The ‘red tsunami’ comes into view once more. National Review. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (2022, October 5). Far-right hate and extremist groups: Australia. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Griswold v Connecticut, 381 US 479 (1965).
Hassett, O. [@Ollie_Bun] (2022, July 22). @DetransOz Im a genspect member already. Thank you very much, though. [Tweet]. Twitter (via Archive Today). Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Holmes, T. (2022, June 27). Sport’s governing bodies are at loggerheads about transgender participation, but Australia can take the lead. ABC News. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Iqbal, S. (2022, March 23). Anthony Albanese’s ‘not woke’ cover wasn’t just cringe, it was also transphobic. Pedestrian. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Jones, Z. (2022, August 1). Florida’s anti-trans expert Dr. Quentin L. Van Meter was discredited on trans youth care in court, believes trans people are “delusional”, and promotes anti-gay conversion therapy. Gender Analysis. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Kraushaar, J. (2022, October 24). Red tsunami watch. Axios. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Lawrence v Texas, 539 US 558 (2003).
Leggett, A. (2022, July 1). Understanding the UCI’s new policies for transgender athletes. pinkbike. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Leveille, L. (2021, October 21). Littman tries to prove ROGD by surveying detransitioners, fails spectacularly. Health Liberation Now!. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Littman, L. (2018, August 16). Parent reports of adolescents and young adults perceived to show signs of a rapid onset of gender dysphoria (D. Romer, Ed.). PLoS ONE, 13(8), e0202330. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0202330. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Littman, L. (2021, October 19). Individuals treated for gender dysphoria with medical and/or surgical transition who subsequently detransitioned: A survey of 100 detransitioners. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 50, 3353–3369. doi:10.1007/s10508-021-02163-w. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Luneau, D. (2022, August 30). Florida agency’s flimsy, misleading data on gender-affirming care designed to misrepresent facts about transgender youth [Press release]. Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Maugham, J. [@JolyonMaugham] (2022, October 29). So, in summary, (I think) trans people who can qualify can likely live better lives by leaving England and trans … [Tweet]. Twitter (via Archive Today). Retrieved 13 November 2022.
McHale, P. (2022, April 25). Elon Musk opined about buying Twitter after Babylon Bee ban. Bloomberg. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
McLoughlin, B. (2022, March 11). Tavistock gender clinic ‘not safe’ for young children, report finds. Evening Standard. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Milligan, S. (2022, November 9). The red wave that wasn’t. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Moline, M. (2022, May 18). DeSantis spreads misinformation about transgender people in public appearance. Florida Phoenix. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Moore, M. (2021, August 26). SEGM uncovered: large anonymous payments funding dodgy science. Trans Safety Network. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Moore, M. (2022, August 3). Genspect exploit confusion over UK trans health reviews to spread misinformation globally. Trans Safety Network. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Moreton, I.C.B. (2022, October 21). Several problems: “ACON & the ABC”. Several Problems Press. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Newberry, P. (2022, June 23). Column: FINA ban casts storm clouds on transgender athletes. AP News. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Obergefell v Hodges, 576 US 644 (2015).
Pilkington, E. (2022, March 26). Ginni Thomas texts spark ethical storm about husband’s supreme court role. The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Restar, A.J. (2019, April 22). Methodological critique of Littman’s (2018) parental-respondents accounts of “rapid-onset gender dysphoria”. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 49, 61–66. doi:10.1007/s10508-019-1453-2. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Robinson, N. (2022, August 19). Gender change agents: when pressure from outside complicates the pressures within. The Australian. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Roe v Wade, 410 US 113 (1973).
Rogers, D. (2022, October 22). Media Watch: “perceptions of bias… or to bias itself”. QNews. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Rummler, O. (2022, July 5). Abuse, discrimination, exclusion: Transgender men explain domino effect of losing reproductive care post-Roe. The 19th. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Salmon, A., & Sobieralski, N. (2022, November 3). Media Watch complicit in transphobia. Green Left (1367). Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Saunders, C. (2022, June 21). Elon Musk’s daughter disowns dad and comes out as trans. Hunger. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Siracusa, J.M. (2022, November 1). Looming red tsunami on November 8 spells the beginning of the end for Joe Biden as Democrats pay the price for going all in on abortion. Sky News Australia. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Smith, C. (2022, November 9). “There’s no red wave in the data”: The pollster who got the midterms right. Vanity Fair. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Tomasky, M. (2022, March 28). The bottomless corruption of Ginni and Clarence Thomas. The New Republic. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Transgender Trend (2022, July 30). The Tavistock gender clinic to be closed down: our response. Archive Today. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
The U.K. turns its back on transgender ideology (2022, August 15). National Review. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
Wagner, K., Ludlow, E., Davalos, J., & Alba, D. (2022, November 1). Twitter limits content-enforcement work as US election looms. Bloomberg. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Wakefield, L. (2022, November 1). Rishi Sunak ‘wants to gut trans rights from Equality Act’. PinkNews. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Weigel, D. (2022, November 11). The story of the midterms, county by county. Semafor Americana. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Wiggins, C. (2022, August 24). Canadian trans Twitch streamer Keffals escapes to Europe for safety. Advocate. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Wilson, C. (2022, May 13). The Katherine Deves saga is what happens when power speaks over truth. Crikey. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Women’s Forum Australia (2022, March 18). Tavistock gender clinic unsafe for children. Archive Today. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
Winslow, L. (2022, August 10). Popular trans Twitch streamer Keffals arrested after ‘traumatizing’ swatting incident. Kotaku. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Yurcaba, J. (2022a, October 30). Florida medical board votes to ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors. NBC News. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
Yurcaba, J. (2022b, November 10). New Hampshire’s James Roesener is first trans man elected to a state legislature. NBC News. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
One response to “Transgender Awareness Week, 2022”
I appreciate that you wrote this précis. So much is going on right now that it’s hard to keep track of political developments and this is a useful reference guide.