by Christina Binning Wilson, B.A. (Adelaide)

I am known as Sandshoe. Call me Shoe as many do if you like and I promise, hand on heart, I am not a medical professional, transgendered or any other gender but mine, still an equally human being and a humanist. Read my lips.

An article being peddled by the ‘No’ vote against Same Sex Marriage  ‘What’s Changed in Britain since Same-Sex Marriage’, The Spectator Australia, September last launches reference to gender that Theresa May has ‘revealed proposals to abolish the need for any medical consultation before gender reassignment ‘.

I would reword that to communicate the honest intention is to simplify gender reassignment protocols.

1) The article isolates and claims for shock value gender reassignment will soon be as easy as filling out a form. The journalist links to a commentary article in The Guardian by activist, Roz Kaveney, that the journalist’s claim cannot be found in that Kaveney boasted … or anything like boasting … or either said loosely that it is now almost as simple as changing your name by filling out a statutory declaration form.

Instead, Kaveney was referring to Argentina and Ireland and made the reference that their gender recognition process had been streamlined to a status ‘almost as simple as changing your name by statutory declaration’.

Kaveney, to immediately follow, describes ‘In practical reality’ something of the difficult impact on applicants of the current status of gender reassignment process in the UK and her personal viewpoint.

The review … I identify and interpret by reading the government press release at the link provided by the baldly misrepresenting, nevertheless, Spectator article … is intended to increase the access of the community across the board to information and process and speed up waiting times with in view bureaucratic and medical complexities and the current costs involved.

I understand from the activist viewpoint doctors are considered not the be all and the end all of expertise to reference anybody’s gender identity.

I find nothing alarming about that concept and instead accept it communicates awareness we cannot identify whomsoever we are someone else’s ultimate personal profile, how they view themselves in relationship with others and their community. Mind taxing as it is for people whose nature is intrusive to accept, we cannot anymore than Joe or Josephine Blow can … I equally and easily accept … by peering at someone’s genitalia and declaring “I insist I will call you William as you were christened by the good Father! Look! A Penis!”

The point has been made that the current status of gender definition and societal alignment with conservative thinking has created a culture that is “degrading and mean” in the lived experience of people struggling with finding a voice to express their gender identity is different from, not exclusive to, male or female.

‘I think, therefore I am’ comes to mind. A freedom to define self that scare campaigners oppose simplifies access to the variety of services we all need (equity) and a reliable flow of information whatever our viewpoint or gender identity especially without provocation of discriminatory practices and exorbitant cost.

2) The Spectator Australia article’s statement that a Government press release ‘explicitly announced’ gender reassignment reform is building on SSM marriage law passed in the UK to allow SS couples to marry is misleading. SSM was not identified in the press release as the marker on which gender reassignment followed, used by scare campaigners to imply as surely as day after night. The press release instead stated the gender reassignment reforms mooted were a progress on LGBT equality… and listed a few items to illustrate progress has been made and of which SSM is one. The tactic of honing in on and identifying SSM alone is a scare tactic being used to argue against a SSM ‘Yes’ Vote in Australia.

Examples of it are as plentiful as the litter of plastics in the ocean.

3) The chestnut of ‘Oh, No, not the toilets’ argument against SSM equity is vomitous. I can think of no other word. The Spectator Australia article objects to the banning by Transport London of ‘heteronormative’ words ‘such as ladies and gentlemen’. Well, excuse me. I am reminded of my mother’s injunction to not sit down on the seat whatever else I did in the ‘Ladies’ in the squalid concrete middle of the street public toilet block in Cairns when I was a child. She feared in her loving innocence I would ‘pick up something’ if my little legs did not achieve the strenuous exercise of sticking my arse out backwards and straddling the pedestal and toilet seat to pee or poo.

What the mental exercise does trying to grasp what public toilet reform has to do with SSM is bring on the same sense of worry, but that others accept the leap of faith needed to believe Ladies and Gentlemen is relevant to what any one of us does when we marry (other than yell Yippee).

The survey form Australians are to return shows two options. Yes and No. Nothing could be simpler. Tick yes for equity. Tick no to vote in opposition to equity.

I know, I know, I know. The argument is my transgender or any other gender toilet mates will attack me when toilet reform follows on SSM in Australia same way day follows night if a ‘Yes’ vote gets up and waddles off like a kid with a trail of urine dribble after her in a public toilet because she could not manage the athletics and the awkward balance of tearing off a wad of loo paper so as to not add to the increments of sexually transmitted diseases, scabies or aggregate excrement in Ladies…and soon to their utter embarrassment likely Gentlemen’s apparently, if I think I want and therefore might choose blah blah.

I miss the point I will be told. No, I do not. For the record, I believe I did not add all that much in the way of public health hazard to the middle of the street Ladies in Cairns when I was a tot given I developed pretty decent toilet management control over my little legs, even if I do say so all alone, my self and no mum. Here and now an adult almost 70 years of age and alone without a medical professional either to tell me what I am although I tried that and she happened to be one that was useless, I am qualified to say how grateful I am to my mum. My brains have similarly muscular aptitude … as my little legs developed … for considering the notion SSM links to or provokes toilet reform or that to throw Ladies and Gentlemen down the toilie is shameful as the Spectator Australia article implies without naming why.

Shaming is what it is all about. I get the point.

The medical professional at whose surgery I attended and asked for a hormone status test if there was one available to identify ‘what I am’ … let’s consider her and my lived experience. She did not question why. She made a series of assumptions. I, on the other hand, have a curious mind and I would have advised what the answer to my enquiry was, that such a test existed in then known medical science, but as well would have asked why at some point.

No, and she clasped her hands together and looked almost ecstatic for me when the test result came back. She announced my male hormone level was towards the top of the normal range of female-ness, my word (falling around already, laughing, my reader?) and I had nothing to worry (HAHAHAHA) about, but “if anything” having so much testosterone equipped me well with the energy needed to compete for employment positions, the usual energy needed for the thrust and parry of leading in my little corner of the world or bigger if I wanted. She was so happy for me. She said the test identified why I had so much energy.

I had read some recently published research on hormones and a very interesting book on hormones off the newly published and received books stand in the local library. I was writing an article called ‘Feelings’ for a community women’s newspaper based in a women’s community health centre. I was informally studying gender. I knew perfectly well the aforesaid medical professional was talking through her hat. I knew anyway so much more than she did about best practice behavioural response for one let alone, I then factored in, hormones and her focus, testosterone which was little understood in true truth.  The effect on me of hearing her prognostications, but conjoined with seeing her entire delight for my femininity was educational. I considered albeit with grace we had a long way to go before I had equity and would feel free to tell her she was talking shit out of a font of discriminatory prejudice and assumption that had no thing to do with medical science. Nothing either to do with the complexity of hormones and their then latest study. This is the sort of nonsense I can well believe people enquiring of random medical professionals for their knowledge of gender or of gender reassignment have had well enough of.

I could go on identifying the detail of the poorly developed argument against SSM The Spectator Australia article presents by David Sergeant … but it’s all the same leapfrogging through sincere people’s presentation of their alternative viewpoint so as to land on this or that intended to scare the living daylights out of people not in a position to even guess at an approximation of the truth, leastwise not without spending arduous time clicking through to the links Sergeant provides to lead readers to believe his argument is learned. A discerning reader can read what actually was said and why very easily by looking for the truth.

I provide the link instead to the interesting article Sergeant cans, Roz Kaveney’s, in The Guardian, ‘Theresa May wants to do something positive for trans people – it’s about time’.