University of Melbourne’s New Gender Confirmation Policy “Violation of Conscience”: Experts

The University of Melbourne will finalize a new “Gender Confirmation Policy” that bans speech, actions, or activities that are suspected of causing “potential harm” to the university’s transgender people.

The· policyWas introduced a few months ago as part of the school’s Diversity & Inclusion Policy and is currently accepting feedback. It aims to promote and normalize gender identity and expression acceptance on campus.

Once the draft is enacted, transgender members will be able to choose the bathroom facility that is closest to the gender they identify.

All university members must also deal with transgender members by name or pronoun identified by a transgender person.

If you do not knowingly do so (for example, using “he” instead of “she”), you are considered to have acted “illegal”. The same is true when disclosing someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity without permission.

Gender identity is defined as a person’s sense of having a particular gender and may or may not match the actual biological gender.

Holly Lawford-Smith, an associate professor of political philosophy at the University of Melbourne, has accused the rule of “a violation of conscience.”

“Beyond many invasions of freedom of speech and academic freedom,” she told The Epoch Times.

“If you really reject that ideology, you may want to refrain from pronouns altogether, or you may want to be able to make decisions about how to handle it, and [now] The policy mandates that. “

Epoch Times Photo
Professor Holly Lawford-Smith was accused of creating a website on June 18, 2021 to collect personal accounts to highlight the impact of Victoria’s Gender Identity Act on women-only spaces. .. (Holly Lawford Smith)

A few months after the introduction of the plan, the university Freedom of speech policy To prevent the exercise of freedom of speech that is considered “unacceptable”. This includes canceling public events or discourse that are considered “potentially harmful to the transgender community.”

“Universities are committed to freedom of speech … but if freedom of speech undermines the individual’s ability to fully participate in the university, we do not support the exercise of freedom of speech,” said the draft gender affirmative policy. ..


President Jack Buksh of the University of Melbourne Students’ Union welcomed the change in policy.

He said students have the right to “feel safe and support the transgender community.” incident In 2019, posters about transgender people were found guilty of sexual abuse in women’s toilets, one of whom said “I’ll be coming to the toilet with you soon.”

“Such an event [the event in 2019] We know that transgender and diverse students can feel really dangerous, so it’s good that the university has finally stepped up to fill that gap, “Buksh said. It was. Age..

However, Lawford Smith pointed out that it is difficult to draw a line between personal opinions and speeches that can cause violence when the definition of harm is “vaguely expressed” in the draft policy.

“Students and staff can claim that I feel hurt because I denied my identity,” she explains, which allows transgender members to take part in the events they want to do. You can reject events that you do not approve, including.

“There is no such policy for other minority groups. Performing activities in the name of social justice merely violates the rights of our staff.”

Transgender pride flag
People have a transgender pride flag on their file photos. (Angela Weiss / AFP / Getty Images)

Controversy arose in college earlier this year when Lawford Smith was launched. website It encouraged women to anonymously submit their personal experiences to men using women-only spaces such as bathrooms, dressing rooms, prisons, and shelters for domestic violence.

The professor was subsequently criticized by trance activists and about 100 scholars, protesting her actions twice, calling her “transphobia” and demanding punishment.

Duncan Maskell, Vice President, University of Melbourne Said On Tuesday, “It’s no secret that there is a deep disagreement and widespread disagreement among our communities on the question of gender identity.”

“This can be perceived as a conflict between the academic freedom of colleagues seeking specific questions about transgender identity and the damage and harm experienced by transgender colleagues from the questions being pursued. “Mr. Maskel said.

He previously said that one of the university’s core values ​​was to foster a “deep culture of respect for all,” including LGBTQIA + community members, so the university “absolutely tackles diversity and inclusiveness.” I’m out. “

“Respect for diversity … means respect for those who have views that we may strongly oppose, and even respect for those that we may dislike,” Maskel adds. I did.

However, it is still controversial whether Lawford Smith’s independent study of transgender rights would receive the same respect.

Lawford Smith said labeling people as “anti-trans” or “transphobia” is often used as a tool to dismiss rational discussions on the topic of trance rights.

“I have no problem with transgender people,” she said.

“I have a problem with the ideology that was born around the discourse of transgender rights. I have a problem with this whole concept of gender identity, which I don’t think makes sense, and to establish this ideology. There is a problem with all legislative changes introduced without consultation. “

“It’s a really serious undermining of the university’s core purpose,” said Lawford Smith.

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