VWG Media Release re CT bill 09.12.20
VWG Media Release 02.12.20.pdf
VWG Media Release 8.8.19.pdf
VWG Media Release 2.8.19.pdf

Victorian Women's Guild Media Release 09 December 2020

For Immediate Release

Victorian Assembly set to pass chilling law pushing gender transition

A bill to be debated in the Victorian Legislative Assembly on Thursday 10 December 2020 will ban ‘change or suppression practices’ regarding sexual orientation and gender identity but specifically protects ‘affirmation’ of gender identity. This goes against the latest jurisprudence from the UK which, in Bell v Tavistock, effectively put a stop to ‘affirming’ gender dysphoric children.

The bill prohibits practices which aim to ‘change or suppress’ sexual orientation or gender identity. Suppression of sexual orientation of homosexual people is abhorrent; however, it is not even clear what is a practice to change or suppress gender and so what is being banned.

“The bill is so broad that it could capture a wide variety of engagements between people, such as a conversation between friends. This bill is a legal embarrassment,’ said Nina Vallins, lawyer and member of the Victorian Women’s Guild.

It specifically targets health service providers and religious practices. However, the bill contains a sweeping exemption for health service providers such as to render the prohibition almost entirely ineffectual for any providers of therapy.

“What is the point of prohibiting conduct for which all health service providers will have a reasonable defence? The point is to create a chilling effect on health services, so that any practitioner considering treating a gender dysphoric person will hesitate to either treat them or to do anything other than 'affirm' even where that affirmation conflicts with reality,” said Ms Vallins.

“The Andrew Government claims to be responding to a need to ban ‘conversion therapy,’” said Ms Vallins. “However, none of the three reports which led to this bill contain evidence of any ‘conversion therapy’ based on gender identity occuring in Victoria. The bill responds to ideology, rather than an actual problem. These elements of the bill must be opposed.”

Finally, the bill contains unworkable definitions of ‘gender identity’ and ‘sexual orientation’ to be inserted into the Equal Opportunity Act. “It defines gender identity as a person's gender-related identity: so gender means... gender. This is like defining a shoe as 'like a shoe,’” said Ms Vallins. Sexual orientation is apparently now based on gender rather than sex, which means that attraction is defined on the basis of something fluid and unknowable rather than material reality. An anti-discrimination law cannot protect categories of people if those categories are entirely fluid and subjectively determined.

For more information and to arrange interviews contact: Nina Vallins, Victorian Women’s Guild and summary of the Bill here: Victorian Women's Guild - Conversion Therapy Bill

Victorian Women's Guild Media Release 02 December 2020

For Immediate Release

Landmark UK Judgment protects children from experimental medical treatment

The Victorian Women’s Guild welcomes the UK High Court judgment in Bell v Tavistock which essentially puts an end to the practice of giving children under the age of 16 puberty blockers in the UK.

The judgment raises serious concerns about the ‘affirmation model’ of treating gender dysphoric children, whereby any child who suggests she or he may be the opposite sex or one of a myriad gender identities is socially and medically treated as though she or he is indeed this opposite sex or gender identity. The affirmation model prefers the use of puberty-blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgery to treat dysphoria over therapy.

Ms Bell and the other claimants provided evidence that the effectiveness of puberty blockers as treatment is, at best, limited; and that giving children puberty blockers is a pathway to cross-sex hormones and diminished fertility, sexual function and sexual pleasure.

The Court found that it is ‘highly unlikely’ that children aged 13 and under could actually understand these impacts and therefore consent to this treatment. The Court found it ‘doubtful’ that children aged 14 or 15 could consent. While children aged 16 or so are presumed to have the ability to consent to medical treatment, the Court recognised that such cases should seek the authorisation of the court prior to commencing treatment, due to the experimental nature of the treatment and the long-term consequences.

Compelling evidence was given to the Court showing that the affirmation model and provision of puberty blockers relies on the children as young as ten ‘consenting’ to losing fertility and the ability to have a satisfactory sex life. We are pleased that the Court recognised that children cannot truly consent to such treatments,’ said Nina Vallins, member of the Victorian Women’s Guild.

‘In Victoria, meanwhile, our Government has proposed a bill to ban ‘change or suppression practices’ aimed at changing or suppressing sexual orientation or gender identity. The Bill seems to require that only the affirmation model is used with gender dysphoric children. We call on the Victorian Parliament to urgently amend this bill, to remove all references to gender identity and take time to ensure the bill is fit for purpose. Our law should not prohibit any therapeutic approaches which question the validity of the affirmation model.’

For more information and to arrange interviews contact:

Nina Vallins, Victorian Women’s Guild

Victorian Women's Guild Media Release 02 August 2019

For Immediate Release

Protecting Women's and Girl's Sex-Based Rights in the Age of Gender Identity

A new bill before the Victorian Parliament would make it possible for people to change the sex on their birth certificate without any need to undergo sex reassignment surgery, but simply on the basis of one's belief articulated in a statutory declaration. Possible ‘sex’ categories would not be limited to ‘male’ or ‘female’, but could be a description of one's own design. Children would also be free to change their recorded sex, with parental support.

So what does this mean for the future of sex-based rights in Victoria? What are the implications for access to women’s single-sex facilities, such as domestic violence shelters, and for women’s sports? Finally, why haven't women been consulted about these changes?

Join us for a night of discussion at the University of Melbourne

Thursday, August 8, 7pm

Hear from experts on this topic, including Holly Lawford-Smith (University of Melbourne), Virginia Mansel Lees (La Trobe University), Hayden Opie (University of Melbourne), and Bronwyn Winter (University of Sydney). Chaired by Nina Vallins (Victorian Women’s Guild).

”Victoria's proposed bill would present a radical shift in how we currently recognise sex and gender, who can access women's spaces and women's opportunities, and therefore how we safeguard women's rights. We say that such radical change should not be allowed without meaningful consultation with the community. The Governments of Scotland and New Zealand both recently deferred similar legislation due to concerns from women's groups and a recognition that they had not properly consulted with affected communities. Victoria similarly needs to allow further scrutiny and a chance for women's voices to be heard,” Nina Vallins from the Victorian Women's Guild said.

“We believe that with proper consultation, we can provide the right protections for the gender identity of transgender people, without negatively affecting the sex-based rights of women and children."

For more information and to arrange interviews contact:

Nina Vallins, Victorian Women’s Guild 0416 669 870