Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights

The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats/censors have since removed the opinion piece.  Like the other capitalist parties, the Greens’ leadership will not tolerate dissent. In this case, women’s rights are expendable and those who defend those rights must be censored and silenced.  So much for the Greens being about a different way of doing politics.

We don’t agree with everything in Jill’s article, but we do agree with her points in defence of women’s rights.  We are reprinting the article here because we oppose the Greens’ ban and the broader atmosphere of censorship and verbal and physical attacks on gender-critical feminists.  We favour the widest possible debate on the issues.  

The atmosphere of censorship, misogyny and acceptance of misogyny by whole sections of the left is, simply, appalling.  As Marxists, we naturally defend a gender-critical perspective.  Biological sex is a material reality; gender is a social construct.  And they are two different things, not to be conflated – and certainly not to allow men to invade women-only spaces, from women’s sports to women’s changing rooms to lesbian social events.

Defence of women’s rights no longer countenanced in Green Party

by Jill Abigail

Solutions that are Fair to Everyone

I am writing a personal response to Jan Logie’s words in the last Te Awa, where she says: “We continue to push for progress on LGBTQI+ freedoms, and resist the backlash that’s trying to undermine our trans and gender diverse whanau and roll back their hard-won rights”.

Who is the “we” in this statement? Is it the Rainbow Greens? I am a lesbian, supposedly under their umbrella, but I am part of the backlash. Is it the whole Green Party? I am a long-time Greens member, but I am part of the backlash. If the Greens caucus is acting on policy that feelings of gender identity over-ride biological sex, then some of us older feminists in the party have strong concerns about its implications.

Transpeople are a vulnerable group that until recently has been excluded from general consideration and now justly claim their right to be treated with equal respect. However, the hard-won rights Jan alludes to include those of male-bodied transwomen to be treated just like natal women and allowed to enter any space or role designated as females-only. Trans rights activists argue that if a man says he feels like a woman, he is one. Women must accept him as one of them, even when he retains his male bodily features.

Gender-critical feminists are repeatedly subject to threats of violence; the Greens leadership stays silent about this, but ban Jill Abigail’s very reasonable article. Above, graffiti on the Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter in Vancouver.

Many feminists are concerned to protect the sex-based rights of women and girls, whose disadvantaged position under patriarchy is based exactly on our biology and whose primary problem is male violence. Hence sex-based rights include the right to female-only spaces and activities. But feminist analysis of patriarchy seems to be completely lacking in gender ideology. Indeed, feminists who have worked for decades to achieve the rights now enjoyed by younger women are being vilified.

I am horrified by what is happening overseas: the shutting down of free speech; the silencing and abuse of academic experts; young children being taught they can be in the ’wrong’ body, thus reinforcing stereotypes; women’s refuges and rape crisis centres no longer safe sanctuaries; lesbians being accused of transphobia if they insist on same-sex relationships; malebodied athletes entering women’s sports and taking the prizes; the very language changing to erase females/women, in the name of ‘inclusiveness’.

In New Zealand, meeting venues and publicity have been denied to gender-critical feminists, who are accused – sometimes very violently – of hate speech. The Abortion Law Reform Association now speaks of “pregnant people”, not “pregnant women”. Wellington Lesbian Radio has changed its name because ‘lesbian’ is not “inclusive”.

Most serious of all is the medicalisation of children. I recently met a woman who had taken her 11-year-old daughter to a doctor because of a sore throat. The daughter is a tomboy, with short hair. The doctor asked the mother if she wanted the girl to go on puberty blockers. An 11-year-old goes to the doctor with a sore throat and is given a suggestion of puberty blockers?

Gender-critical feminists have allies among some transpeople themselves, who see this ideology as a misogynist, homophobic, men’s rights push. No previous extensions of human rights for new groups have involved taking away the rights of others needing protection. It would be progressive of the Greens to be working for solutions that are fair to everyone, rather than reinforcing the current divide.

17 comments

  1. A very good article, that is fair and raises important points. Certainly not transphobic, and absolutely not so-called “hate speech”! it seems extraordinary that the Greens permit hate speech about lesbians, as in Racheal Bailey’s comments that “female same-sex attraction is evil”. Why haven’t they had a discussion about this?

  2. Glad to see this important article reposted here with some sensible commentary that supports free speech which is in dire need of protection.

    Jill Abigail raises important points that merit open debate without instantly being classed as ‘transphobic’ simply because they offer a gender-critical analysis and support the hard-won rights of women to protection as a biological-based class.

  3. Very encouraging to see this response from Redline. As you so rightly state, we may not agree with everything someone says, but need to defend and encourage their right to say it. I completely agree that: “The atmosphere of censorship, misogyny and acceptance of misogyny by whole sections of the left is, simply, appalling.” As a result misogyny is unchallenged and on the rise and we can’t even discuss differences in a rational way.

  4. The level of vitriol hurled at Jill Abigail shows how unhinged gender ideology is, and it reveals deep misogyny. Jill’s rational argument is being heard, and of course, most people can see she is speaking absolute sense. The redefining of homosexuality as same-gender attraction rather than same-sex attraction is a real travesty. That really has to be stopped.

  5. Your marxist analysis is notably lacking if you genuinely believe that biological sex as a binary model of human physiology holds any water in modern medical science. In order to properly analyse reality, you first have to understand it; a task that is apparently too difficult for your ilk who are clearly stuck in centuries-old thought about sex that has long since been updated and replaced.

    Your quack theories about trans people being a threat are founded on bad science, education comes before activism, please step up.

    • Classic response from Seraphir and typical of those who pin their concerns to issues solely surrounding identity. While everyone is trying to have a real debate they just sling insults and add nothing of value to the conversation.

    • I would say centuries old observation of sex Seraphir, but no matter, can you please tell how our human biology has been updated and replaced? In particular, how it has been ‘ long since ‘ scientifically verified that an adult human male is able, by thinking, to become an adult human female?

      • It isn’t jut by thinking Don, it is also by feeling and doing and then when transitioning by changing from a testosterone brain to an estrogen one

    • “Your marxist analysis is notably lacking if you genuinely believe that biological sex as a binary model of human physiology holds any water in modern medical science.”

      What are the other sexes?

      What are their positions in patriarchy?

      Until you can coherently answer these questions you can’t really make any meaningful critique of Daphne’s position. Or extend the analysis of Marx. (Who, by the way, was concerned with material conditions. Not with centering fetishised roleplaying)

  6. “Like the other capitalist parties, the Greens’ leadership will not tolerate dissent. In this case, women’s rights are expendable and those who defend those rights must be censored and silenced. So much for the Greens being about a different way of doing politics.

    We don’t agree with everything in Jill’s article, but we do agree with her points in defence of women’s rights. We are reprinting the article here because we oppose the Greens’ ban and the broader atmosphere of censorship and verbal and physical attacks on gender-critical feminists. We favour the widest possible debate on the issues. ”

    Oh goodie, I look forward to Redline publishing articles from White Supremacists, MRAs, Incels, Identitarians, neo Nazis, 2nd Righters, and every other far right looney with access to a keyboard. Free speech, right? Widest possible debate, right?

    As for Abigail’s piece itself, please spare me the crocodile tears of her concern for transpeople (transwomen, to be precise, she doesn’t mention transmen), it rings hollow when reading her regurgitated diatribe.

    I’m calling her out as transphobic, literally, transphobic.She seems deathly afraid of transwomen.

    Whether its her apocryphal story about a mythical “11 year old daughter” unexpectedly prescribed puberty blockers (really? So out if the blue, a doctor suggests puberty blockers? For no reason at all? Is that believable??) to the fear of stranger danger in womens “safe spaces”, ignoring the reality that nearly all violence to women is done by cis men who are KNOWN to their victims, her meandering diatribe offers no insights at all.

    If she was trying to make a case, she failed spectacularly.

    All I got from her was a heightened sense of entitlement (bad bad Greens for not publishing my article!!!) and threatened privilege. ( Why oh why are so many so-gender critical feminists white, middle class women?)

  7. Thanks Jill for penning this article. I’m very glad to see some rational debate going on here with a truely feminist perspective, instead of the usual unhinged personal attacks and name calling from a crowd hell bent on ignoring the past and repeating it’s mistakes.
    Please keep up the effort to fight for women’s rights!

  8. It’s funny how people who write diatribes then try ro make out that Jill A’s article is ‘regurgitated diatribe’. I guess it’s what psychologists call ‘transference’.

    It’s also a comment on the ‘quality’ of opponents of women’s rights to women-only spaces and lesbian rights to lesbian-only spaces that some of them can’t tell the difference between a long-tome liberal-progressive person like Jill Abigail and neo-Nazis, white supremacists etc. Didn’t the Nazis like to tell women what to do and weren’t they also keen to dress up as women.

    And you can’t get much more ‘entitled’ that demanding entry into spaces that oppressed sections of society have won for themselves, whether it’s men believing they are automatically entitled to enter women’s spaces, non-Maori believing they are automatically entitled to enter and speak on marae, bosses believing they are automatically entitled to enter union meetings and behave however they like.

    Indeed, if non-Maori tried to barge onto marae and tell Maori not to ‘exclude’ them and if bosses did the same in union spaces, they would be told to piss off in no uncertain terms and everyone on the left would agree with that. Yet when it comes to women’s spaces and women’s rights there is a whole different standard. Women are just expected to be pushed around and do what men tell them. And a whole lot of the left nod in agreement and join in telling women to shut up, do what they’re told and go to the back of the bus because some entitled dudes want the front seats.

    Another correspondent seems to know little about medical science and confuse it with postmodern gender theory. While postmodern gender theory does not reflect material reality, but is a weird inversion of material reality – more wishful thinking than anything – medical science remains perfectly aware of the essential differences between female and male human beings. It’s rather important for doctors and other medical staff to know this when treating patients, carrying out operations, giving blood transfusions etc etc. (Same is true for vets.) Biological sex, in other words, is material reality and remains crucial in medical science.

    Today, radical feminists are a big part of the front line of the defence not only of women’s rights but of rationalism and science. As are those of us Marxists (and anarcho-communists) who haven’t lost the plot and embraced po-mo gender theory, ultra-identity politics (self-ID) and organised irrationalism. Not to mention full-on misogyny and homophobia (especially lesbophobia.)

    Phil

  9. What is worse it is not only a total let down for all women, it is a total let down for children, as the future will tell us and than be ashamed, be very ashamed.

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