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April 22, 2024

Murdoch’s latest war – trans people

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Cartoon by Alister Lockhart.

One of the weird side benefits of my job at Southern Cross University is a free subscription to all the Murdoch rags around the country. 

It’s ‘know your enemy’ time for me, and it is like watching Fox/Sky news combined with populist anti-intellectual wankerism. 

The signature features are an inability to distinguish between news and opinion, and side taking. It seems like there is a chronic incapacity to write a news article without some right-wing agenda seeping through. 

Articles about crime gangs have digs about immigration, stories about young people drip with racial undertones. On choosing sides, it’s like there’s some big whiteboard with lists of ‘bad’ and ‘good’ that must be adhered to. ABC bad, Fox good. Brittney Higgins bad, Bruce Lehrmann wronged. Meghan Markle evil hussy, Princess Catherine wondrous and decorative.  

The Voice, really bad. 

Solar evil, fossil fuels great. Windfarms really really bad, coal-seam gas good. It is so binary. 

It is great sport watching what happens when the horse that they are backing gets scratched. 

Charlie Teo was really good until he suddenly wasn’t. Then Ben Roberts-Smith was blameless, before he fell firmly from grace. 

And then the Murdoch press just pretends they never existed.

But overwhelmingly, over the last year or so, there is bizarre daily attention to transsexuals, who are universally bad in Murdoch-land. 

And this got me thinking – why are they so anti-trans? Why all this attention on the threat to women’s sports and change rooms and young bodies and minds? 

Frenzy and confected outrage at the thought that trans people might read stories to children in libraries. 

Publicising and supporting those international and local zealots who discourage vigilante violence coming from one side of their mouths, while actually encouraging it from the other. 

Why all this hurtful, harmful hate speech and vilification when the whole topic could be dealt with sensitively and compassionately like in almost all other mass media?

If you get the chance, watch the National Press Club address from April 2023 by Georgie Stone, actor and trans activist. Wowzers. 

Along with Grace Tame in the same venue a year before, it’s one of the great speeches of our time. 

How heartening to see that the power of oratory lives on in these young women. I dare you to watch this without crying. When asked what her message was to the anti-trans Murdoch media she answered – ‘just stop trying to kill us’. 

Overseas, the Murdoch empire proudly quotes bigots, like Nikki Haley, who is in the running to be US republican presidential candidate: 

‘How are we supposed to get our girls used to the fact that biological boys are in their locker rooms? And then we wonder why a third of our teenage girls seriously contemplated suicide last year’.

Yep – the key reason girls are suicidal is because there are trans people in their locker rooms. 

Now that same-sex marriage is a lost cause after decades of Murdoch opposition, there is no point harping on about lesbians adopting or being forced to bake a cake for a marriage between Bruce and Tom anymore. 

We have euthanasia in every state and territory now, so terror stories about killing granny for the inheritance just get a yawn. 

Abortion is legal everywhere too, so they can’t very well bang on about sexual promiscuity as a result like they did for years. Even buggery is no longer a crime. Hence the focus on transsexuals their latest go-to topic for stirring up resentment and horror. 

A hint of sexual depravity despicably framed within a women’s rights framework. 

The truth is that participatory sport has nothing to fear from trans participation, and so much to gain. 

There are some terrific examples locally in community and schools where trans sportspeople are welcomed without problems. 

Excluding women who are trans reinforces stereotypes about cis women (a cisgender person has the same geneder identity as that presumed for them at birth), and discriminates against a vulnerable group needing team acceptance more than most. 

Elite and professional sport – well, that can be sorted calmly, consultatively and without negative judgmental language. 

The locker room or bathroom predator scenario is overplayed and exceedingly rare.  Besides, a determined pervert could get in there by fancy dress anyway. 

This is actually about making it impossible for trans women to safely be in yet another public space or activity. Prejudice disguised as feminist moral protective outrage. Even the Nudgee Highway Service Centre has a gender-neutral change room and bathroom. 

Go Queensland! 

Finally, let’s all bust the myths that gender is binary, always apparent at birth, identifiable through biological characteristics and can never change over time. 

Trans women are real women. People are who they say they are. 

I heard the mother of a trans young person interviewed on the radio recently. She was so excited to be part of her child’s journey – questioning, challenged, but learning all the way to her open heart. 

Murdoch could learn a thing or two from her. If he had a heart. 

♦ David Heilpern is a former magistrate and is now Dean of Law at SCU.

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  1. Don’t become a politician anytime soon
    David .. !! Because votes would become had to come by for you mate.. or better still put
    In a CV to the ABC ..you know the impartial
    ABC 1.2 billion of taxpayers money wasted
    on articles very similar to the above ..
    Good luck !

    • Funny, I’ve noticed the opposite trend in politics. Katherine Deves was a bit of an own goal for Morrison I’d suggest.

      • Katherine Deves, ex-PM Scotty’s ‘Captain’s Pick’, that sent the Libbies vote in electorate of Warringah backwards.
        Zali Steggall is cemented as MP for as long as she wants to stay, thank you Scotty and Katherine!

        • Joachim could you please inform us all.. one
          Positive outcome for the people of Ms Steggalls electorate that’s been of her doing ? By the way has she Solar or a electric vehicle yet ?

          • Barrow, it isn’t news, you could have looked it up yourself – the Zali bought a Kona EV in November 2021.
            On the Zali’s achievements, her greatest achievement was being the ouster of Sir Tony, just go to her website zalisteggall.com.au and get reading.

  2. David,

    It’s good that somebody respectable and thoughtful is calling out these evil swine. I have noticed gossip from my neighbors that is obviously fueled by Daily Telegraph anti-voice lies, misunderstood, misquoted and then presented as fact. I imagine that the same hollow heads are filled with anti-trans rhetoric from the same source.
    Keep stirring the possum!

    • You probably feel isolated from your neighbours because you don’t listen to their point of view and engage in honest debate over your differences. Keep calling them names, and attributing their determinations to a legacy media outlet. Your attitude is helping us win.

  3. Unfortunately David, you appear to be seeing it in black and white also (just as the far right/Murdoch press do). I would suggest there are areas of trans ideology that do need to be looked at more closely and that would be of benefit to us all. Blind acceptance of the demands from trans activists is just as bad as blind rejection. There is always nuance. The lack of willingness to have an open conversation about this issue and seriously discuss some of the the more controversial aspects is causing more harm than good and the decent people who have raised questions need to be given the right to have those questions answered, rather than simply being written off as transphobic, which is what is currently happening. I must say that I’d have thought you would be one who would support open discussion where there are varied viewpoints, not stifle it. There absolutely are serious issues that need to be openly discussed (eg the permanent medicalisation of minors) and until that happens, I think it’s likely the situation will grow worse and people will suffer. It’s not only the right who are questioning this and large numbers of left leaning and gay and lesbian people are asking for more open discussion. I am one of those.

    • You’re right Annette, the Victorian Greens are tearing themselves apart over it. The extremes of almost any position are where the all the problems for the sane majority occur. I think David is on to that though and acknowledged it in this op ed.

  4. Unfortunately our tolerance has allowed the whole trans movement to be hijacked by some very angry people, and some sick people, and I now believe that anyone that does not agree with some of the idealogy needs to speak up. And be prepared for the vitriol that will follow. The woke movement itself is completely intolerant of opinions that do not agree with the woke agenda. If you don’t agree you will be insulted. You can’t even agree to disagree because the woke movement only allows for those that agree. You are either with them or against them. The reality is that trans women are men. Women are women. There is an unfairness about allowing a trans woman to compete in elite womens sport. A few years on testosterone does not undo the biological reality. Why don’t men complain about trans men competing in their sports? Because in most cases there is no chance of a trans man winning. If a trans woman is a good person then they are a good person however that doesn’t alter the fact that they are a man that has chosen to live as a woman. There is now a deluge of detransitioners that have realised that changing their perceived gender is usually not the magic bullet that they were promised, and they have to deal with the ramifications of extreme body modifications for the rest of their lives. Its not a game. And leave little kids out of the whole thing.

    • Please don’t use lazy words like “woke” in place of greater explication. Especially when advocating for tolerance – a virtue that receives more than its fair share of accusations wokeism.

      • Marxism is not an economic theory, it’s a philosophy that can be applied to any field. Maoism is an extension of Marxism, applied to culture, thus Mao’s ‘Cultural Revolution’. These spawned Critical Theory, which is the updated system to apply the Hegelian Dialect, that extends the older Marxism and Maoism. Examples of Critical Theories include Critical Race Theory and Queer Theory. We refer to this whole jumble of Gnostic based stupidity as ‘Cultural Marxism’, as it is more descriptive to the public than the term ‘Critical Theories’, and is the progenitor of the latter anyway.

  5. The fallacious idea that Murdock is an evil genius, sitting on a throne and menacingly stroking his Persian pussy, can be very attractive in some quarters. [It’s always nice to have a wicked scapegoat, isn’t it?]
    In fact, he exerts very little influence over “his journalists” by allowing a great degree of freedom and equality to their opinions and views, unlike some of the competition.
    It is always an ominous sign for any Democracy to have a university Dean of Law in a privileged position deliver such a vitriolic, biased and crude diatribe attack against rival media groups or individuals.
    Here’s hoping SCU undergraduates under your care are not infected by your use of toilet humour and sexual jibes during their debating of political and moral issues.
    But I have a feeling that they probably will be.
    if so – I pity them.

    • Rob people can have views different to you, it’s called a democracy, so why your view is wrong in my paradigm you are entitled to it. We hopefully don’t get fully American republican anti democratic fervour.

      • Antifa is a problem, though BLM collapsed under its own corruption. They do get away with killing people, including Police Officers, armed occupations of State capitals, and burning down entire blocks, without a single charge being laid, nor a negative news story. So I agree, don’t join the far left, Rob. We don’t want their kind around here.

    • Hi Rob and thank you for your comments. I’m mystified regarding this comment: “ use of toilet humour and sexual jibes ”. I just reread the column. I can’t find a single sexual jibe let alone toilet humour. Please enlighten me.

  6. Well, David, I am probably more on your ‘side’ on most of these issues aforementioned than opposed but your issue here is your blinkered hypocrisy.
    But first, may I state my position (which is never fixed to the point of becoming cultish).
    I first befriended trans people back in the 80’s working cabs around the Eastern suburbs of Sydney and was their favorite cabbie to see them safely home in the dead hours of night – zero phobia about people’s sexual or gender preferences here – I even did a trans performance myself during a fund raiser for the North Coast Theater company back in the day when I was the President of said company.
    But I am also a sports junkie and know fully well the frustration of female athletes (many of them lesbian) who have to suddenly compete against male bodies that identify as female – a step too far that crosses a line to the point where there is going to be severe pushback and inevitably bring the actual bigots into play.
    It happened with the Adam Goodes saga too by the way – as a Hawthorn fan, I know exactly what kicked off the booing because I was watching the game – Goodes kicked a Hawk player during play that left him (a coloured player btw) writhing in agony on the ground – that sanctimonious, virtue signalling footy journalist, Caroline Wilson (who hated Hawthorn because of Kennett being President) wades in with accusations of racism and a campaign to outlaw booing which for the vast majority of footy fans is a cherished tradition. Once again, her over the top and vitriolic virtue signalling of people whose motives were not at all racist brings all the actual racists out of their closets and we have a horrible political issue where sides are taken, stances made and a whole mass of people precluded from offering an opinion for fear of being branded racist.
    The same happened with the virtue signalling naziesque vilification of those who stood against the covid vax – you only had to question the narrative in order to be branded a Trumper (odd considering that he was the guy who fast tracked the vax before it was properly trialled) or question in order to be sarcastically denigrated (as did you, David) as “doing your own research”, ha ha.
    Seems like the evidence is increasingly falling the way of the sceptics who did their own research on that one btw.
    And now we have the ghastly Ukraine war that was fomented by the US over three decades in order to provoke a reaction from the western media’s favorite baddy, Putin. A neocon generated proxy war on behalf of the US military industrial complex under the usual guise of regime change that has thrown over 150 000 Ukraine soldiers to their deaths on behalf of their ‘forever wars’ program.
    But if you question the narrative, you are immediately a ‘Putin puppet’ – no rational argument, no nuanced consideration of the history of Ukraine and Russia, of the centuries long conflicts within Europe – nothing, just righteously branded a Putin puppet because you are swimming against the corporate ‘liberal’ media narrative. Another Salem like witch hunt of the fearful indoctrinated masses.
    So finally my point – yes, I too have zero affection for Murdoch and scant support for his media’s views, I too am right behind The Voice but your hypocrisy lies in your blinkered avoidence of the fact that the so called liberal press is just the flip side, the socially liberal side of the same corporate coin. They are equally fascistic in their views, are equally supportive of the corporate domination of government and scarily all in on the encroaching nanny state mentality over our lives – the ‘we know what is best for you’ approach to governance which leads us ever closer to their dystopian orwellian state.
    They all suck, David, and by choosing one side, by unquestioningly accepting the narrative of any of the main stream media, you play right into their hands.
    The Fairfax press have never once published any comment of mine questioning their covid or war narratives – not once. The Fairfax press here, CNN, MSNBC NBC, New York Times anx Washington Post over there – none of them do investigative journalism anymore – not one – just the corporate manufactured narrative.

      • People who have a track record of actually being correct at the end of the day. Otherwise, you are just title worshipping.

        • Who determines what’s “correct” on issues like this. It’s not title worshipping – pursuing higher education develops more than just the knowledge set involved, it fosters the development of critical thinking, testing and organisation of ideas – among other things. It’s probably why we refer to areas of learning as disciplines.

          It’s not title worshipping but acknowledgement of the demonstration of cognitive development and application involved in acquiring the title.

          Still doesn’t mean they don’t disagree and shouldn’t be challenged, but definitely not muzzled.

          • That is not what unis do these days. You must have a lack of young people in your life. These kids are coming out indoctrinated, not just with ‘social justice’, but with very ridged ideas about the fields they study. We are not making the break throughs we once were. You can check the stats on that.

    • Thanks Annette for your thoughtful comments. Certainly there is room for kind, nuanced, sensitive discussion on the areas raised. Especially the medical/children ones. The Murdoch press is not engaged in that. Most of the comments on this page are not either. I appreciated yours.

    • Hi Mac, very kind of you to comment. Always keen to read your views on Vax, Putin, Goodes, lesbian athletes and the media. You are a most diligent reader of my wee column.

    • Five word mansplaining from David. He may have overlooked that fact that facts matter.

      Like when he also says “People are who they say they are.” would that be like, I’m innocent Your Honor?

      If reality offends, hiding it or bending it to appease the offended will only makes things more difficult for everybody in the long run.

      David blew a good chance to deliver a fair point of view IMHO unfortunately.

  7. David, 5000%.
    Rupert News is always in campaign mode whipping up fear, hate, division.
    Minority groups are always the go to choice for Rupert News to do its demonising worst and Peter Dutton has been a favourite for Rupert News to pick up a line and go for it – for example Dutton’s claim about African gangs or Murderers, Rapists, Paedophiles asylum seekers.
    Rupert News then departs the scene and leaves the havoc and wreckage caused behind for us all to deal with.

    Trans people are just the latest group to get Rupert News’, ‘end of the world as we know it’ treatment.
    Georgie Stone was terrific with her NPC address. A must watch for all.

    • Let’s break it down Joachim..with respect
      as always..but just a opposite factual points..
      Feminist hold rallies for women’s rights
      Which this ex magistrate would certainly
      Have no problems with ..yet it’s gate crashed
      By racial Trans supporters who have major
      Issues with women are the only sex that
      Can fall pregnant have have children..
      Those Feminist are not causing problems
      Are they Joachim? So the very notion that
      a young male who now identifies as a female
      Can fall pregnant is Delusional..
      Do i have a problem with a trans person?
      💯 PERCENT NO .. But i will not under
      And circumstances be called transphobic..
      When you die ..you are identified as a male or
      Female..end of story ..

      As for African people’s causing problems
      In Victoria..yes they have been running wild
      as do other Nationalities.. this has been confirmed
      Many times ..but Dan ..Calls it
      Racist.. it’s a fact ..deal with it Victoria..

  8. I have a solid rule thats worked since Gough got removed.. If Murdochs for it I’m against it.. simple but surprisingly satisfying.. the sooner the old scrote departs the better..

    • So he can control what you think, and if his press contradicts its self, you will also contradict yourself, in the inverse direction. Very leftist of you.

      • The doozy in the whole diatribe is ” trans women are real women” . I wonder if this bloke is just another academic educated beyond his level of intelligence and common sense. It would be interesting if this statement would pass the proposed misinformation/disinformation test in the upcoming legislation proposed by Labor.

        • To go from lawyer to magistrate to professor requires you to be a political animal that says all the ‘right things’. These institutions filter out ‘undesirables’.

  9. If anyone wants to see just how corrupted Murdoch media is, read page 182 of David Crows book “VENOM”.
    Where Lachlan Murdoch assembles all his usual media suspect dancing monkeys and demands the media TV, Radio, Newspaper blanket undermining and disinformation campaign removal of a sitting PM, Turnbull.
    And yes the reading is far worse than you can ever imagine, the installing of the more Murdoch malleable but completely unelectable Dutton.
    The Liberal party heads off this attack on the PM and instead installs Morrison, leading to the most corrupted incompetent Govt since federation! Now after Morrison is removed at the election we have Dutton/ Murdoch age of NO, is once again upon us after the disaster of the Abbott/Murdoch age of NO! Dutton whom now has blanket media coverage doing nothing more than saying NO, while this same media attacks Albanese and Labor relentlessly 24/7, whom are actually fixing all the damage the Murdoch political interference caused!

    • Do you understand the concept of ‘controlled opposition’? If Murdoch really opposed you, Skynews would sound like me, instead of being middle of the road, pro-Israel, semi-civic nationalists. Murdoch is this system’s Emanuel Goldstein. Your real opposition is on the net, not on the legacy media. If the Murdoch media outlets fell silent tomorrow, my side would start growing much faster.

    • Tweed we must not forget the hit jobs
      On Morrison and the coalition by the
      Ever reliable ABC .you know the station tweed ?
      With not one conservative in its ranks the whole
      Time the coalition were in power ..part of the
      Job description really as part of your on-board
      With the TAXPAYER’S funded impartial
      National broadcaster…portrayed Morrison
      And the coalition as have a woman problem..
      Lead by the Ms Higgins & Co accusations..
      Not one thing proven ..it was Relentless
      From mostly all media outlets including
      Our much loved . But ever so Bias Echo …
      The current Labor party have lots to answer for
      Tweed ..yet the ABC have been very conspicuously
      Absent.. not surprised..gos both ways tweed ..

  10. Your ‘code law’ legal system can’t even define what an Aboriginal is, let alone what a Woman is. You work in a literal social construct of legislation, completely divorced from objective reality, so I can understand why you are unaware that all news is opinion i.e. a narrative. Truth is that which allows you to more broadly, or more accurately, predict the future. Everything else is opinion. Work on the land for a while, and you will learn this, or you die.

  11. I find it (almost) amusing how this columnist thrusts his opinions into the ether with a type of unquestionable confidence. Almost like he speaks on behalf of us all. It’s clear that the columnist has never had one of his children hypnotised and drawn into the transgender vortex. When this social contagion finds its way into your family unit, it is devastating and heartbreaking to witness. Like a train wreck in slow-mo—over the course of years. This ‘movement’ is like many others…. it aims to divide friends and families along every conceivable line, including sexuality. 

    • I’m sure gender dysphoria can be a distressing experience for the individuals and families involved. It’s all the more reason to call out the sort of bigotry and intolerance that the writer is referencing. It’s a tragedy if it divides friends and families.

      But tell me, who is hypnotising children and dragging them into vortexes? To what end?

  12. Thanks for your column David Heilpern. Very interesting. I too have wondered why all this fear and loathing of trans people, who make up less than 1pc of the population… my feeling is it’s the nascent bigotry in disenfranchised people who are basically unhappy with their lives, and who are conservative politically. They want someone to focus their anger, anxiety and hatred on. The focus of these groups’ bigotry in the past, lasting hundreds if not thousands of years in some cases, has included: the Irish and Irish Catholics, Jewish people, gays and lesbians, black/Aboriginal people, and women of course. It’s no longer socially acceptable to hate these groups and discriminate against them publicly, which leaves very few vulnerable minority groups that are ‘safe’ to pick on… hence them targeting trans people, tragically.


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