Quick update: Contrary to the headline Barbara Kay tells me she did not select for her National Post column about me, I am not “lonely.” (2016.12.14)
In 2016, the Ontario legislature introduced Bill 28. Its official subtitle is All Families Are Equal Act (Parentage and Related Registrations Statute Law Amendment), 2016. I call it Bill 28: The Handmaid’s Tale Act, because it attempts to rewrite actual biological facts about human reproduction.
The context here is a court case the Ontario government lost almost ten years previous. The Rutherford decision held, in discussing the Vital Statistics Act (VSA):
The term “father” in the VSA cannot be read as a plural and gender-neutral term in order to include lesbian co-mothers. Despite the broad purpose of the VSA, there can only be two parents according to the textual analysis: one mother and one father. This is because the terms “mother” and “father” are preceded throughout the VSA by “the.” Even if the article “the” were interpreted to mean a group of mothers or fathers, it is implausible to interpret “father” as including women. To alter the meaning of “father” to include non-biological lesbian co-mothers is stretching the plausible use of the expression.
Although §28(j) of the Interpretation Act… says that a singular can be plural and a male term can include females and vice versa, in this case it is a linguistic implausibility to interpret “father” as including “mother.”
The decision gave the Ontario government 12 months to remedy the impossibility that lesbian (and gay) parents faced in legally registering parentage of their children.
That was in 2006, and the government did not fix the problem. Cheri DiNovo introduced a private member’s bill that eventually died. Bill 28 is the actual legislation introduced into the House.
And that legislation really does redefine mothers and fathers. So I got on the deputants’ list and appeared at the committee hearing on 2016.10.18. You can read the bill, two kinds of transcripts of my appearance, and my later submission.
Excerpts from The Handmaid’s Tale
Goldsbie as if cutely mocked my comparison to Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale on Twitter. Nothing about Goldsbie is cute. I took pictures of the Reference Library’s first-pressing edition, signed by Peggy Atwood, no less. Draw your own comparisons.
What I should have asked Cheri DiNovo
I described the Rev. NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo as “he single greatest enemy that the legitimately constituted gay and lesbian community in Ontario faces.” In person, I asked her if she thought an MTF transgender could be a mother. Of course she does.
What I should have asked her is: “Do you believe a male-to-female transgender can gestate and deliver a baby?” Even without double-checking, obviously the answer there is also yes. Bodies are unreal except inasmuch as her health scare hinted to her they aren’t.
Tubby social-justice-warrior-manquée coverage
Almost the only seat in the hearing room when I arrived was behind and just to the right of a small free-standing table at which a fat girl typed animatedly on a MacBook. I poked her flab and asked if she were the clerk. No, that is, said the woman, pointing to the obvious clerk at the front of the room. “Oh, the one with the sign saying ‘clerk,’ ” I said, kicking myself.
Before it was my turn to speak, I told this Ashley Csanady of the Tubby that she was gonna love what I had to say. And, once I sat down, I E‑mailed her my speaking notes (twice – the first time borked).
Csanady spent much of the afternoon misrepresenting me on Twitter, the natural home of cyberbullying. I fact-checked her last week in an E‑mail that she just ignored.
First, she wrote “the worst part of covering committee from in the room is when people think you’re the clerk while you’re trying to file.”
I sent her this last week:
Unless that happened more than once, I was the guilty party there. Within moments I saw the actual clerk (with her nametag) at front of room and told you so. But you were not “trying to file”; your deadline was hours away, you hadn’t heard all witnesses yet, and you had the Jays game up on your MacBook. Please comment.
She didn’t. (Yes, she had the baseball game running. I could see that in the top one-fourth of the screen that was plainly visible over her shoulder. She also had a shitload of tiny tabs in Chrome open, and apparently didn’t know the keystroke to move from tab to tab, and also wasn’t using a mouse. I did not read, and would not have read, actual text on her screen.)
Next, the political reporter from a right-wing newspaper put this missive out on Twitter: “A gay man who is a TERF. This is a new one.”
“TERF,” like “cis” and “white,” is a term of opprobrium bordering on hate speech to which transgenders and their apologists resort when confronted with someone who tells them to their faces that penis is male. Right that afternoon, I mailed Csanady to state that I was not a “TERF.” She didn’t even respond until I complained a second time (after Goldsbie – inevitably – stuck his nose in things).
In response, Csanady told me “I will adjust my feed” – but didn’t. (I assumed that meant she’d post on Twitter that I wrote in to say I was not a TERF. She didn’t do anything, least of all that.)
Csanady got a basic fact wrong. Here is her Twit and how I corrected her, more or less immediately at the time, via E‑mail:
Gay man speaking in committee against parent equity bill it changes “mother” to “birth parent” calls it the Handmaid’s Tale Act.
Not quite! The act changes “mother” and “birth mother” to “person” when not actually deleting the former.
I told her this last week: “You further misquoted me, as I told you in E‑mail, despite the fact I was right there and you could have talked to me and I gave you my speaking notes on the spot. Please comment.” She didn’t.
Csanady at least made her commitment to untruth and slander clear in an earlier Twit: “I also find the TERF side repellnt.”
Putting everything together, I wrote her the following last week (link added):
I hew to the late David Carr’s philosophy of explaining to interview subjects exactly what my viewpoint is and exactly what I’m going to say. So here goes. You, working from a position of transgender apologia, decided to malign me as a TERF (why not also “cis,” Ashley?) without bothering to get my side of the story first. In fact, even though I presented you with my full speaking notes and was amply available to you, you never got my side. You promised to correct your record and didn’t. You stereotyped me based on misapprehension of my opinions, which I was entirely open about, as I am here.
I find it odd, and will say I find it odd, that a reporter from ostensibly right-wing newspaper would carry around that kind of ultra-left-wing bias. I contend you comply with the stereotype of the overweight ultra-left-wing feminist journalist despite working for the Tubby. Please comment.
I note with satisfaction that your quote from me in the ultimate story, while brief, was perfectly accurate about my views. I consider “cis” and “TERF” to be mindless insults, very much worse than calling you fat, in no small part because I, at least, am neither cis nor a TERF. Don’t call people by names they reject.
Csanady was busy that day acting as freelance media critic on the Jesse Brown podcast. (Three can play at that game.) Many days later, she hasn’t responded, and clearly isn’t going to.
Facts that progressive journalists, even those embedded at right-wing newspapers, prefer left unspoken
Ashley Csanady looks like what her words show she is: An overweight transgender apologist.
Neither men nor generic “persons” can give birth to babies.
I gather that downtown progressives would prefer that Bill 28 be passed exactly as is rather than someone like me state the above facts. Men don’t have babies, and yes, Ashley Csanady looks and writes like a fat social-justice-warrior girl.
We’ve been through this already with newscastresses who have the gall to work out, dress well, and do their hair and makeup. I don’t see how anyone can really be surprised that I am reporting exactly what I said and what I saw at a legislative hearing. It’s what I said and what I saw, and at least has the virtue of being true and accurate, unlike what Csanady wrote.