In a court of law the prosecution is tasked with proving the guilt of the accused. The burden is clearly laid at their feet while innocence is the presumption which must be disproved. The criminal justice system relies on this agreed and acknowledged premise. The key aspect of this is not about where exactly the burden of proof lies, but that it lies somewhere and that somewhere is agreed upon.
But what of outside the walls of justice?
In the public arena we have seen a mass attack on both proof and truth. Emerging from a world ruled by religion and superstition from time immemorial, the 20th century hosted a kind of second Enlightenment in which many states extracted governance from the vice-like grip of religious institutions. Science and technology have flourished under secular democracies that allowed challenges to ideological ‘truths’ about the world and our place in it. Methodology, objectivity, hypothesises, and material facts facilitated unprecedented medical advancements and a technological revolution to rival the industrial revolution in terms of global societal impact.
The truth, facts, and proof.
We were taught that we could trust what we saw on the news. Policies and oaths were sworn by journalists and media to uphold values of bipartisan anti-bias and to present facts not opinions. The propaganda of Nazism and McCarthyism served as catalysts for a pendulum swing towards an obsession with truth and fact; in theory.
The world opened. Technology and the sudden undamming of the flow of information brought truth right into homes forcing greater accountability on politicians and a new power to the media. The images of the Vietnam War beamed to television sets in the West, illuminating for the first time the realities of the war and super charging anti-war resistance.
We learnt more about each other. Difference became less foreign and civil movements of tolerance and reform steadily won battles in society and in law. Protest and love, progress and acceptance. We began to undo the chains of intolerance and deconstruct hierarchies of power that had been established millennia earlier in churches preaching the words sanctioned by those in charge.
Secular government became the norm even in places still retaining an official religion. Fewer people looked to the supernatural authority for their moral instruction and minds all around the world became (as we would go on to say) “open”.
So far, so positive in this narrative of progression and liberalism albeit it one that ignores the regression going on in other parts of the world.
However, when the century turned and the entire world of information all of a sudden fit in the palm of our hands, it seems we became so open minded that our brains fell out. Objective truth was not enough and the openness of the internet meant that subjective truth began to eat its way into everything followed by subjective, self-interested out-right lies and distortion of truths.
This is not a critique on Post Modernism — though god knows one day I will find the energy to write one — but its presence in the deconstruction of truth cannot be overlooked. Growing out of theses and dissertations written by academics determined to subvert society and embrace a kind of anarchist fantasy, queer theory and gender identity ideology seeped across the internet. Quoting the paedophilic Michel Foucault and the nonsensical Judith Butler, academic elites created a counter culture that has wreaked havoc on society.
What they were doing was not discovery of truth as yet unknown, rather this was the process of creating a new belief system in which truth and fact do not matter. Proof became a matter of arguing for lack of meaning and shouting louder than ones opponent. Science, and all its peer-reviewed, fact-checked glory, was deliberately discredited and tarred as theorem with an agenda; simplistic and discriminatory. Scientists were painted as less enlightened and far too close-minded to be able to comprehend the layers of thinking required to understand Post-Modernist thinking.
As truth devolved in academic spaces and on the left, frustrations grew on the right. Conservatives who still clung to religion (more so than leftists anyway) and who had retained reservations about the speedy liberalisation of society sought to pull on the handbrake. Openness and progression were one thing, but moves to deconstruct the fabric of society were another. Anything that threatened the subjective truth of Anglo-Christian concepts of the heterosexual-two-parent-family received push back from the right.
Law reform regarding homosexuality was a key battleground of liberalism versus conservatism. However, in this case objective truth and liberalism won out over subjective truth and conservatism. Homosexual law reformists and activists simply advocated for gaining the same rights as everyone else; namely the right to have sex with a consenting adult of the same sex, the right to marry someone of the same sex, and the right to raise a family with someone of the same sex.* A core part of negotiating towards success was that gay and lesbian activists sought to take nothing from the rest of society. They did not demand that heterosexual couples redefine or rename their relationships nor that the rest of the society should take part in their particular sexual orientation. Their arguments were sound and the truth of equality through personal rather than societal impact was able to be objectively understood by enough people that throughout the world laws changed in rapid succession.
There was a brief, sunny honeymoon for LGB people where law reform had been achieved and we could get on with attempting to live happy lives with the rest of society. However, it wasn’t long until the T that piggybacked the sexuality acronym — that once been referred to ‘Transsexual’ but now referred to the much wider umbrella of ‘Transgender’ — was found to stand instead for ‘Trojan Horse’.
The LGB and the T make strange bedfellows when you think that the first three refer to sexuality while the latter is a mismatch of varying identities. Our affiliation has its foundations somewhere in the crossdressing sub-cultures within 20th century lesbian and gay communities. Many of the iconic members of these communities have of course now been posthumously transgendered by those wanting to politicise their gender non-conformity including Storme DeLarverie who sparked the Stonewall Riots. Storme was a butch lesbian and never indicated that she believed herself to be anything but female, but this hasn’t deterred trans activists from naming her trans and claiming her activism.
The reclassification of the identities of dead LGB activists is just the tip of the iceberg of trans activist truth deconstruction. As ‘transsexual’ became an offensive name (without the permission of many self-described transsexuals) and ‘transgender’ became the catchall term for gender identity ideology, lie upon lie had to be collectively accepted to keep the precarious tower of mistruths standing. As each ludicrous claim was placed on the teetering structure scores of glassy-eyed ‘allies’ hurried up to secure it with strawman arguments, gaslighting, and pure blind acceptance. And now, in 2019, the gender identity tower of lies is a monstrosity with an extraordinary number of unquestioning enablers.
At its core, gender identity ideology refuses to acknowledge the existence of the two sexes: male and female. Their most common tool for ‘disproving’ human biological fact is the appropriation of loose half-facts about intersex conditions. Despite pleas from the intersex communities that they stop being used as political pawns, “but what about intersex people?!” is still the inevitable response to the assertion that there are two sexes.
It should be easy to prove this most simple of scientific facts after all we have a data set of some 7 billion people plus those who have gone before, but in this post-truth era the goalposts have been well and truly shifted. Facts do not matter to ideologues who construct arguments around cult-like identity politics rather than around proven information. They quibble over details that don’t matter and make false equivalencies that confuse and obfuscate.
Science is not the only field in which they have cast a cat among the pigeons; gender identity ideologues have systematically dismantled significant chunks of the English language and repurposed it to fit their needs. They have come up with a whole lexicon of jargon that they use to create an image of legitimacy and progress. Humans are “assigned gender at birth” according to these snake-oil-sellers. The act of observing the sex of a newborn has been given sinister overtones as if the act is one of oppression; an imposition of a deliberately restrictive label rather than the acknowledgement that they are female or male.
The conflation of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ is at the heart of the language manipulation. I feel as if a day doesn’t go by without the need to clarify the difference between the two terms which are too often assumed to be interchangeable. Sex is our biology. It is our chromosomes, our sex organs, our secondary sex characteristics, our hormones; it is coded into our DNA. When a foetus is 10 weeks old its chromosomes can be tested and their sex determined. That means from the very beginning, when we are the size of a strawberry, to many, many years after we have died and are a pile of bones, science enables our sex to be recognised. Gender, however, is the set of stereotypes and expectations that have been linked to the male or female sex. It is essentially preferences, personality, and presentation.
There is nothing biological about preference for the colour pink being linked to girls and blue for boys; that is gender. So, when trans activists argue that gender is innate and that people can be born in the wrong body, they are being the opposite of progressive. Where once society taught children that little girls must wear dresses and play with dolls and little boys must wear shorts and play with dinosaurs, now gender identity ideology teaches them that if they like dresses and play with dolls they must be a girl and if they wear shorts and play with dinosaurs they must be a boy. One ideology says that sex determines gender and the other that gender should determine sex. Why can we not see sex and gender as separate things or better yet abolish gender? Sex is biology, fact, truth, proven. No matter what sex a child is can we not support them to express themselves and enjoy the world as they see fit without loading them with nonsensical information that they must change their body to match their personality?
Gender identity ideology is a belief system. It requires its subscribers to believe things that are not proven and turn the blind eye to things that are. It demands one hundred percent adherence to doctrine with ostracism the consequence of any disloyalty to the collective. The concept of gender identity can be compared to Catholic conception of souls. They are intangible things that inhabit our bodies and they, rather than our physical being, are our true selves. Because they are so entirely intangible they are able to be exactly what one wants them to be. Every description of soul and identity must be valid by virtue of the fact that there is no way to set up parameters by which to measure and define.
Belief systems in themselves are not a problem. The right to practice one’s religion is a protected human right in New Zealand. Practicing tolerance and acceptance of diversity of thought is a crucial part of a peaceful society. One can dislike religion, as I do, for its history of violence, misogyny, and intolerance for others, without discriminating against those who practice religion. However, secular democracy is key to a fair society and laws should never be dictated by religion or belief systems. Those who do not subscribe to beliefs have a right to live their lives without having to adhere to doctrine and rules of an unproven cultural movement they are not part of.
Just as I oppose any religious group’s ability to pressure governments to create or enforce laws in a way that benefits them, I condemn the way gender identity ideologues have been allowed to come in and rewrite facts and truth at an institutional and governmental level. Through the legitimacy granted to them by their public relationships with governmental departments and notable community representatives, gender identity ideology is now being regularly taught in schools, workplaces, and communities as fact.
Despite this new post-modernist ideology departing from all scientific fact that we have structured much of our society around, there has been no public debate about restructuring our world around an unproven belief system. In fact, there have been all out, active measures taken to prevent public and private discussions about it. Initially some academics spoke up against their colleagues, but they were silenced, ostracised, and some lost their jobs and careers. The rest shut up after that.
From its infancy, gender identity ideology has relied on manipulation, bullying, and threats of ostracism or worse in order to further their belief system. Women have been its most vocal opponents and we who are called “TERFs” have become social pariahs subjected to regular threats of violence. Women have lost their jobs, been stalked, sexually harassed, abused online, had their children and family threatened, have been subject to huge reputation damage, and have even suffered physical violence. Why? Because we who defend the core truths about human beings refuse to capitulate to a fascist movement lead by those who seek to impose an anarchist chaos on the world that benefits few but them.
So, I ask you the reader, where does the burden of proof lie? Should the world have to defend our long-proven scientific knowledge to an ideology that provides no proof to the contrary? Or should this group of anarchists be required to establish some kind of proof before they infiltrate all of our departments of government, our health system, our legal system, schools, universities, work places, and communities?
Prove to us that innate gender exists. Prove that someone can literally be “born in the wrong body”. Prove that being interested in dresses, nail-polish, and speaking softly are innate conditions that indicate femaleness. Prove that simply declaring oneself to be a woman makes one a woman. Prove that biology doesn’t matter, that humans are not dimorphic, and that men can gestate. Prove that women and men don’t live very different existences because of biological differences. Prove that women are not oppressed on the basis of our biological sex. Prove that male athletes do not have an advantage over female athletes. Prove that males do not commit the overwhelming majority of violent and sexual crimes and that this tendency for violence evaporates once a man declares himself a woman. Prove that hormones, puberty-blockers, and cross-sex medication are not harmful, especially to children. Prove that transitioning is the only and best solution to dysphoria. Prove that surgical transitioning cures dysphoria. Prove that it is a coincidence that rates of youth transitioning have sky-rocketed. Prove that a man can know anything about what it “feels” like to be a woman. Prove that a human can change sex.
Because the burden of proof should lie with them and they won’t be able to prove any of these things.
Gender identity ideology is a belief system. It is time it is treated like one.