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Press Release 8 May 2023

Press statement in response to Stuff article 7 May 2023

Resist Gender Education (RGE) objects in the strongest terms to our group being named in the above Stuff report about harassment and threats against teachers, librarians, trans people and their allies, and the implication that we have participated in such behaviour. We do not advocate for, nor condone, threats or harassment towards anyone and certainly not towards the rainbow community, which many of our group are part of.

Stuff’s coverage of this issue is, as usual, one dimensional, implying that anyone who might challenge schools on education policies regarding sexuality and gender must necessarily be against same-sex relationships. RGE is a non-partisan and non-religious group of parents and educators, including lesbians and gays, who are (obviously) supportive of same-sex relationships and the marriage equality laws in NZ. Our challenge to education policies is focused solely on the teaching of gender identity beliefs as if they are fact and on teaching these concepts to children who are too young to be able to grasp the complexities involved.

RGE and an increasing number of parents are challenging the way children as young as five are being taught that they can choose their sex; that sex is determined by how well they fit into sex stereotypes; and that it’s easy, joyful, and authentic to embrace body dysmorphia as a way of coping with any unhappy feelings.

We are also challenging the concept of so-called harmless social transition. Adults pretending that a child is really of the opposite sex has harmful consequences. They are being encouraged to live a lie and when reality hits at puberty, they are in despair - not because they are trans but because the adults in their world have lied to them for years. When most of these children go on to start medical intervention, they become lifelong patients and may subsequently lose both sexual function and fertility.

We contend gender identity ideas are harmful to all children, but particularly harmful to those who may grow up to be lesbian or gay. Those children, instead of being accepted as themselves, are now being steamrolled into thinking that if they’re not a stereotypical girl or boy they must really be the opposite sex.

Education policies, media reports, and lobby groups all fail to distinguish between sex (an immutable physical characteristic that determines our reproductive roles) and gender (the expected social behaviours for each sex that differ widely according to time and place). RGE is opposed to rigid gender roles and agrees that children should be able to express themselves freely. However, a boy in a long dress is still a boy; a girl with short hair is still a girl. Teaching children anything else is scientifically false and psychologically damaging.

Bullying of children because they are different is completely unacceptable but there are better ways to counter that than teaching children magical thinking. 

Stuff’s article criticises parents for asking questions about what is being taught to their children. What sort of education system do we have if parents are not allowed to have a say?

There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that everyone has a gender identity known only to themselves. As with any ideology, people are free to believe it, but it should not be part of the school curriculum and children should not be recruited to be the foot soldiers for political lobby groups.

Our objection to Pride activities is because they are now mostly about teaching gender identity ideology, not about accepting others’ differences. Baking may sound benign, but if it is a rainbow cake with stripes to represent all sorts of genders, that is indoctrination into a belief that most people don’t hold.

A survey of 1200 people carried out in Aotearoa in June last year found significant opposition to gender ideology being taught to primary school children. When asked – “Do you believe that primary age children should be taught that they can choose their ‘gender’ and that it can be changed through hormone treatment and surgery if they want it to be?”, only 15% said yes. More than 2 in 3 people (69%) opposed this type of teaching, and a further 16% were unsure. 

Bullying in schools is unacceptable but it is equally unacceptable that an 8-year-old would come home from school to announce that she is “pansexual”. It is unacceptable that a 10-year-old would be worried about reaching puberty because she has learned at school that puberty is when she will have to decide whether she wants to be a boy or a girl. It is unacceptable that teachers risk losing their jobs if they fail to follow the rituals of gender identity ideology such as using opposite sex pronouns.

Finally, it is unacceptable that anyone who challenges the Relationships and Sexuality Education curriculum is painted by Stuff as a hate-filled and dangerous bigot. 

Resist Gender Education advocates for the right of children to reject gender stereotypes and be their authentic selves without discrimination, labelling, or medical intervention to ‘fix’ them. It is a fundamental human right that all children can go through puberty and reach adulthood with their fertility and sexual function intact. 

Originally published to our Substack

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