Our email to the AHRC

Dear Rosalind Croucher, Lorraine Finlay and Anna Cody 

Herewith a link to an open letter that is being published in the Sydney Morning Herald today, Wednesday 6 March.  

We are aware that concerns have already been raised with you regarding your project to map supposed “threats” to trans and gender diverse people and are, like all the signatories to the open letter, deeply shocked at its bias.  

Most of us, both associations and individuals, have spent years writing submissions concerning the impacts of institutionalisation of gender identity on women and young people. We have sent them to state and federal governments and to agencies such as the AHRC, as well as to international institutions. We have met wherever possible with our political representatives (although many decline to meet with us). We have spoken in public fora and to the media when they do not censor us, and prepared and published research on these matters, some of which has also been sent to our political representatives.  

We have faced either minimal engagement from politicians and institutions or overt hostility and censorship—such as being excluded from public hearings on key matters impacting on women’s rights and the welfare of children, or indeed, it appears, excluded from your current inquiry. So, we decided to take more public and direct action to ensure our concerns are heard. 

The AHRC is also making decisions that constitute denials of the rights of all to freedom of association and assembly (as guaranteed to all Australian citizens by the UDHR and the ICCPR), such as its refusal in late 2023 to grant an “exemption” to lesbians (that is, people of female sex who are attracted to other people of female sex) to hold a gathering to mark International Lesbian Day. This “exemption” was from the very Sex Discrimination Act (as amended) that had been adopted in 1984 to protect women’s rights in the first place. 

We are appalled at these developments, and appalled that our national human rights agency, which should be impartial and consider all evidence and arguments put before it, is engaging in such a biased and, we believe, evidence-poor project as this current one. Where are the projects mapping the threats to women and girls from the ideology of gender identity and the practices it not only allows but encourages throughout our institutions, including schools and medical services? Where are the projects mapping the impact on gay and lesbian youth of this ideology, which imposes rigid sex-role stereotypes such that young people, in order to fit in, come to believe that they are “really” of the opposite sex to their biological one? Many of them undergo harmful medical treatments that in many cases turn otherwise healthy young people into lifelong medical patients, and that often include mutilation of otherwise healthy sexual organs. Some are now detransitioning and seeking to hold our institutions and our medical establishment to account.  

We thus call upon you to reconsider your terms of reference for this inquiry, and would welcome the opportunity to send a delegation from among our signatories to meet with you to discuss these matters further.