Here are a few further submissions from Joe Clark on the topic of Bill 28, the Handmaid’s Tale Act.
Human biology is real and, in the context we are discussing here, immutable. Females conceive, gestate, and deliver children (and, in some tragic circumstances, experience stillbirth). Males do not. Again: I shouldn’t have to be the one to tell you that.
To paraphrase Quentin Crisp, if this is a free society then people have a right to be transgender. It is and they do. No one deserves discrimination based on gender, and such discrimination has been illegal for an actually long time. We are not here to re‑debate outlawing such discrimination. In fact (and this may also be news to some), not every single issue is about transgenders.
But gender is fundamentally about personal belief and opinion. It’s also about how you present yourself to the world (for transgenders, usually in stereotypical clothing). Biological sex is not about belief, opinion, or attire. Gender does not trump sex, either in law or in fact. Feelings, including any transgendered person’s, are not a basis on which to write legislation and feelings also don’t trump facts.
All that will come as a surprise to Cheri DiNovo, transgender apologists like her, transgender activists, and legislators who are afraid of saying the wrong thing lest they be labelled transphobic and/or TERFs and/or racist on Twitter. (Because if you’re one of those, you’re always all of those. Transphobia is racism, activists insist.)
But facts are facts. Biology exists.
Only females can conceive, gestate, and deliver children.
An FTM transgendered person is female and an MTF transgendered person is male, for the record. Biological sex is immutable.
If an FTM transgendered person conceives, gestates, and delivers a child, she is that child’s mother and can never be the child’s “father.”
No MTF transgendered person can be a mother because MTFs are male.
Gender identity, which is precisely nothing more than a personal belief, does not trump biological sex. Beliefs do not supersede facts.
The bill purports that a generic bodiless sexless “person” gives birth to a child or experiences stillbirth. In a Soviet-style rewriting of history, it eliminates some existing definitions of motherhood and fatherhood, categories that will still exist except inasmuch as this bill lies to your face that they no longer do. The bill intentionally muddies the distinction between parent (supercategory) and mother and father (subcategories).
Further, I see this bill as aiding and abetting transgender activists who wish to become parents of children, as they indisputably are entitled to do, but also lie to those children in some cases about their and their children’s bodies, biology, and roles. For example, this bill aids and abets an FTM transgendered person’s attempt to persuade her children she is their father even if she gave birth to them, thereby making her their mother.
But that’s not for lack of trying. I think it’s noteworthy that another deputant whined about the few definitions of fatherhood that somehow staggered away from the Genderless Rewriting Massacre that took place behind closed doors when cobbling this law together from transgender talking points. §7 is particularly galling to that deputant in this regard, in no small part because it asserts that fathers exist. (They do.)
But §7(2)(1) also states that the following scenario produces a presumption of fatherhood: “The person was the birth parent’s spouse at the time of the child’s birth.” By this definition, if one woman in a lesbian couple gives birth to a child, that lesbian woman’s wife becomes a father. Words have meanings and a generic “spouse” cannot be a father. The Legislature again attempts to mislead Ontarians.
The single greatest enemy that the legitimately constituted gay and lesbian community in Ontario faces, namely the Rev. NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo, apparently thought she had set an unbreakable leghold trap for me when, at the hearing, she asked if I support same-sex marriage. Of course I do. But that’s irrelevant.
Another deputant – a woman, hence someone who should know better – tried to draw an equivalency between legalization of same-sex marriage and Bill 28’s knowing untruthful effacement of mothers and fathers. The discrimination enacted by previous marriage legislation was all about biological sex. Same-sex-marriage legislation, which even Rev. DiNovo can’t bring herself to call same-gender-marriage legislation, eliminated the requirement that couples to wed be precisely and only composed of one male and one female.
There is no comparison between righting that wrong – invidious discrimination based on sex and sexual orientation – and turning mothers into generic persons, to name one of Bill 28’s offences.
Same-sex-marriage legislation gave imprimatur to relationships that already existed. No men who give birth have ever existed. No women have ever been fathers. It is an insult to the intelligence to contend, as one Member did at the hearing, that all we’re really doing here is legislatively catching up with reality. In fact, Bill 28 legislatively pretends its lies are reality.
What might be most galling of all is how MPPs, including members of the Standing Committee, carry on as though they really believe what this bill says. We know they don’t.
Every member of the Legislature save for Rev. DiNovo already knows that males and females are real. (Actually, she knows that too, but won’t ever be able to admit it. Especially after her health scare, Rev. DiNovo does in fact know that bodies are real.) Members further know what mothers and fathers are and from which biological categories they are respectively drawn.
To address Members directly: You all know these facts already. You are merely pretending that some genie came along while you weren’t looking (what’s its gender identity?), waved a magic wand, and redefined the human race. That didn’t happen and you know it didn’t.
It is one more insult to the intelligence for grown-up MPPs, in one sense the Establishment of the province, to lie, even by omission, to their constituents and everyone else that they really believe what Bill 28 says. To again address Members directly: You don’t!
That job was to comply with a ruling forcing the province to remove hurdles to gay and lesbian couples’ legal parentage of their children. That was the only job this bill, and the Legislature, had. And, according to at least one deputant, you didn’t even manage that.
While Rev. DiNovo is vocally concerned about rapists, presumably none of whom are “transmen,” the bill as written is fatally flawed. It may lead to court challenges from mothers and fathers who demand that their sex and their family status be recognized in law. This bill won’t even put to rest the court challenges that are already underway, according to that same deputant.
By any reasonable assessment, you’ve blown it.
Submitted: 2016.10.20 11:57
See also: Speaking notes