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CITIZEN SCIENCE: Rainbow white anting

A friend who recently applied for a job at the Commerce Commission was startled to find the application process included being asked to state her sexuality and gender identity, with no “prefer not to say” option on the menu. A job applicant’s sexuality might once have been considered private information, but these days public servants are required to bring their whole selves to work whether they like it or not, even to the Commerce Commission.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) appears to have spent both terms of this Labour government embedding gender identity ideology across our public services. It’s worth noting that Chris Hipkins became Minister for the Public Service in 2017 and retained the portfolio until a few months ago. That same year, the PSC established a public service-wide diversity and inclusion programme. The programme is Rainbow Tick certified and includes a section on how to snitch to HR on colleagues who don’t want to use pronouns. No other group appears to have been consulted, let alone given benchmarking authority.

What is Rainbow Tick? It is a service of Kāhui Tū Kaha, a subsidiary of Ngāti Whātua and a not-for-profit provider of housing and mental health services, with a grand total of two dedicated (nameless) Rainbow Tick employees as a sort of side hustle. And PSC sought guidance and validation for a massive culture change across the public service from a couple of persons in a tiny subset of an NGO subset of an iwi authority, whose credentials are not given.

Just in case anyone doubts the agenda of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programme, there is no dedicated section for any identity group other than LGBTQ+, not even Māori. Let alone the disabled or those uterus havers – what are they called again? And nowhere is gender identity actually explained – what it is, what it means – which is just as well because anyone who has taken more than a cursory look knows that it falls apart at the slightest touch. That’s why our rainbow friends are so fragile and basic questions are transphobic hate speech.

What was our most powerful central government agency thinking? With no disrespect to Kāhui Tū Kaha, who clearly spotted a gap in the market and lucked in, this kind of transformation needs policy, legal, and ethical expertise and debate, not to mention transparency. How could the agency that literally sets the standards for the rest of the public service be so amateurish, so half-pie?

It is impossible to escape the conclusion that our government is not run by serious people. These leaders give every indication of being an expensively credentialed herd of group-thinkers, desperate to relinquish their critical thinking for cool points. And through the mechanism of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, they have schooled public servants in the new orthodoxy with the threat of disciplinary action if they don’t comply.

Services funded by the government have sniffed the wind (or drunk the Koolaid) and fallen in with the new trend, sometimes with absolutely eye-popping results. For example, Family Planning New Zealand would like you to know that Everyone is Welcome at Family Planning, including all sexualities and genders. It was once generally believed that lesbians and gay men were the least likely people on earth to need contraception, but now that straight men who wear dresses can be lesbians, and straight women who … wear trousers? … can be gay men – everyone is welcome at Family Planning. This is not a joke, they are serious.

Last week Radio New Zealand promoted an activist demand by the Professional Association for Transgender Health Aotearoa (PATHA) that the government should invest more in transgender “healthcare” – that’s sterilisation and genital mutilation to the rest of us. Radio New Zealand knows very well the harm that is being done. It actively chooses not only to ignore it, but to whitewash it. (This is the same media that tells us daily that our health system is on its knees. Actual women – the old fashioned sort - sit on long waiting lists for operations for endometriosis, breast reductions for chronic back pain, and all those silly ailments of the female embodied. Read the room guys?)

PATHA is a group whose membership appears to contain not a single medical professional, in fact very few professionals of any kind, yet the Ministry of Health uses its guidelines as standards of care for vulnerable, confused kids who are questioning their gender because that’s what kids do these days – they’re taught to at school. PATHA is just one of many activist groups funded by the public service to shape policy and deliver community services for which they appear to be entirely unqualified, apart from having very firm opinions and “lived experience”. PATHA, Gender Minorities Aotearoa, Rainbow Youth etc. etc. - it's almost as if the government wants to outsource everything difficult or potentially problematic so that it can dodge accountability. But it is spending our money on these extremists and it is to blame for this mess. We need proper, rigorous standards in healthcare and across government, from leaders who take our wellbeing seriously. Some voices are marginalised for a reason – they are unqualified, unwell, untethered, and certainly not representative of any sensible section of society. We need to be protected from their misguided influence, they are not positive role models. When will our public service leaders locate their discernment and common sense?

As for Labour, no wonder it has had to dump so much of its mandated work programme. It’s been too busy implementing the one we didn’t vote for and by that measure it has been wildly successful.

Citizen Science is a pseudonym

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