The definition of my sex is not hate speech

NZME (publishers of the NZ Herald newspaper, among others) has joined the de-platforming of Speak Up For Women after a few online gender identity activists complained on Twitter about an advertisement in a rival paper the Otago Daily Times. SUFW were to run advertisements in NZME papers too as part of a campaign opposing sex self ID laws being proposed by the Government. The advertisement’s text was the dictionary definition of Woman – Adult Human Female. NZME caved to a handful of vexatious Twitter complainers. NZME will now be aware how out of step they are with sane and rational people after receiving nearly a thousand emails from people angry at the actions of NZME. Here’s one letter that was sent to the company:

I am writing with regards to your message that you have reneged on your advertising for ‘Speak Up For Women’ unless they remove the word “Woman” from their ad.

Dear NZME,

Several months ago now, I stumbled across a story about a ‘hate group’ that had been banned from speaking at a library. I can’t remember exactly why I looked into this story further, but I had a quick read and found I was a bit confused as to why they had been banned. My very slim understanding was that the women’s group were talking about their issues with the BDMRR Act and I couldn’t see the harm in that – even though I had no idea what they were discussing.

Soon after I saw another article urging people to protest another meeting these women were holding. I couldn’t understand why people were protesting so I asked the question. I was told that they were a bigoted, transphobic, hate group. I asked again what they were specifically saying that made them a hate group. I have a family member who is transgender and was interested to know what may or may not be happening in that space. I got no civil answer from that point on.

Simply for asking the question – asking what was wrong with raising awareness about a Bill that was going to the Select Committee – I was called a bigot. I was accused of trying to “two sides” an argument. I still didn’t understand exactly what the issues were but I did understand that asking questions about this group online was not going to get me any answers.

So I started researching the group ‘Speak Up For Women’ and what they stood for.

Initially I was prepared to be supportive of their right to speak and hold meetings without necessarily agreeing with their views – afterall, I figured if they were being accused of being transphobic there must have been something unsavory about their message even if it was being exaggerated. However, after researching the group, reading the resources and listening to them speak – no one in their right mind could consider them bigoted, transphobic or a hate group.

You might disagree with their views, sure, but you certainly couldn’t attribute any of those hateful labels to them. They are a group of well-educated, eloquent, empathetic women who are asking legitimate questions about the unintended consequences of a poorly written piece of legislation. For this, they are labelled a hate group? By our mainstream media? The current self-ID clause in the BDMRR Bill would allow people to change the sex marker on their Birth Certificates by way of a simple statutory declaration.

Speak Up For Women are not trying to take away trans people’s rights, or roll back their accomplishments to date. They are trying to speak about the serious implications this Bill has for women.

Now, it so happens that once I was made aware of the group, and I became aware of the changes trying to be pushed through by the Government I was (1) in total agreement with their cause (2) shocked and appalled that I hadn’t heard about these changes through mainstream media and (3) shocked that a group trying to raise awareness about upcoming legislative changes were repeatedly being labelled a hate group by mainstream media.

I am so so thankful to this group for raising awareness about this Bill and it’s associated issues. Now I can speak up myself, I can make a submission as is my democratic right.

Perhaps you should check out their website. Let me know when you find their transphobic hate speech – I haven’t uncovered it yet. I’ll be the first to write to them about it if you find it.

Let me know as well if you ever decide to publish even one story that highlights the myriad of serious issues these self-ID laws have had on women around the world. Let me know if you decide to investigate how these self-ID laws have come to be passed in countries around the world and how people feel about them.

I am a woman, and a mother, who is watching in horror as the very definition of my sex is being continually redefined as hate speech by trans activists and now, by NZME. The Advertising Standards Authority and the Courts have already clearly stated that this group is not a hate group.

The definition of my sex is not hate speech. Raising awareness about a Bill before parliament under a media blackout is not an act of hate – it is nothing short of heroic.

Not only should you run the advertisements for Speak Up For Women, but it might be time you actually write an article representing the concerns and views of the women and children who are opposed to the Bill for legitimate reasons. It might be time that you step up and present a fair and balanced view on this issue.


Caitlin Griffin

One comment

  1. Your letter and suggestions are excellent, but will have little effect on a BOUGHT publication. I’m still trying to get hold of a copy of Ufkotte’s book Bought Journalism — it is effectively banned in the U.S. by the CIA — but he wrote about how he got bought and I have no doubt the publication you complained to is also bought.

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