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— INQUIRY INTO EDUCATION LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (PARENTAL RIGHTS) BILL 2020 Name: Date Received: Submission No 57 Professor John Haldane 1 March 2021 University of St Andrews Scotland's first university 600 YEARS 1413 - 2013 School of Philosophical, Anthropological & Film Studies St Andrews, Fife KY16 9AL, Scotland Hon Mark Latham MLC Chair, Portfolio Committee No. 3 - Education Upper House Committees |Legislative Council Parliament of New South Wales Conclusion Professor John Haldane, FRSE Professor of Moral Philosophy Emeritus Senior Fellow, Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs 28 February, 2021 Dear Mr Latham, This is to submit the attached commentary in relation to the Education Legislation Amendment re Parental Rights with specific reference to the teaching of Gender Fluidity. I repeat my conclusion here for convenience. Whatever view might be taken philosophically or psychologically of the issue, what is clear is that the very notion of 'Gender fluidity' and of kindred notions is theoretically highly controversial, contested, and practically challenging inasmuch as it is taken by advocates to ground moral and political claims of recognition and rights. As such while it might be a matter for discussion in the Humanities and Social Sciences learning area of the Australian Curriculum (presumably in relation to Civics and Citizenship) it could not and should not be presented as uncontroversial, and the sorts of points summarised above would need to be cited along with the views of advocates. To do otherwise would be intellectually dishonest and educationally unprofessional; and to do so in the face of opposition from parents would be to violate their rights in respect of the moral education of their children cited earlier and implied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I am content for my submisssion to be made public. Yours sincerely, Introduction Education and Gender-Fluidity John Haldane, University of St Andrews, etc. I am writing in relation to the Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020, specifically with regard to the matter of the notion of 'gender fluidity' and the question as to the rights of parents in respect of the teaching of fundamental moral and political values and principles. Let me explain at the outset that my expertise in regard to these matters is as a professional philosopher with special interests in ethics, education and public policy. I have held and hold positions in a number of universities in the UK, the US and Australia. My principal and longest-standing affiliation, however, is with the University of St Andrews where I began my academic career in 1983. The following year I was one of the founding members of the University's Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs (CEPPA), which I directed for some 25 years. In 1994 I became Professor of Moral Philosophy and as of 2020 continue in an Emeritus role, and as the Senior Fellow of CEPPA. I am also editor of the book series St Andrews Studies in Philosophy and Public Affairs. Additionally, I have held the Royden Davis Chair in Humanities at Georgetown University, DC, the J. Newton Rayzor Senior Distinguished Chair in Philosophy at Baylor University, Texas, where I remain Distinguished Affiliate Professor. I am currently Professor of Virtue Theory in the School of Education, University of Birmingham. UK, and Professor of Philosophy of Education at Australian Catholic University. Since 1995 I have been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and for the past ten years I have also been Chair of the Royal Institute of Philosophy in London. I hold three honorary degrees from universities in the UK, US and Australia. I divide my remarks into three parts: 1) The family and education 2) Gender Identity and Fluidity 3) Conclusion. 1) The Family and Education Writing in regard to the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 1994 Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the UN observed that “The family has a continuing and crucial role in social and human development as well as in provision of care and support to individuals." Here he was speaking of societies' dependence on the family as a formative and supportive institution, but the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the ethical status of the family and acknowledges its prior standing in respect of the first of these basic functions: 1 The opening sentence of the UDHR preamble states that: recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world"; and thereafter the status of the family and the rights of parents are affirmed: Article 16, (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State. Article 26, (3) "Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children." It is evident that families matter. One can say this confidently without any appeal to philosophical, political or other theories. Families are where things start for the mass of human beings, and it is in the context of the family, small or large, that children are trained and in which they acquire and develop the primary human modes of relating intelligently to the world. The fact of the dependency of children upon immediate providers is part of human natural history. Family relations are inalienable, as are the responsibilities and rights associated with them and these latter cannot be annihilated, though they may be neglected, overlooked or infringed upon. In considering the question of the state in relation to the well-being of children, there are two forms of family involvement to be acknowledged and taken account of. First, there is the dependence of the child upon its immediate moral' environment; and second there is the family considered, not just as a source of moral consciousness and formation but as a 'societal' community whose well-being is partly constitutive of the child's own interests. On these accounts, the state has both moral and prudential reasons to respect the primacy of the role and authority of parents in the moral education of children. Such education, like morality itself, has several aspects corresponding to a) the promotion of welfare (and protection from harm), b) the recognition of rights, duties and obligations, and c) the cultivation of a sense of human existence and of the goods and meanings attaching to it. So far as present issues are concerned the last of these has special relevance since it includes an understanding of the basic dimensions of human nature: bodily, psychological, and social. The matter of sexual identity relates to each of these: primarily to the first but importantly to the second and third also. 2) Gender Identity. In what is literally a ‘sign-of-the times' the website Dictionary.Com carries an email sign-up notification which reads "LGBTQIA+ Language Changes Fast We'll keep you up to date!" This is indicative of at least two things. First, that there is widespread uncertainty about the meanings and acceptability of such terms as gender, cis-gender, transgender, gender-queer, gender-fluid, non-binary, etc, and second, the fact that terms are being generated not in line with longstanding scientific, medical, philosophical or anthropological understandings but as part of a broad cultural and political movement involving advocacy of changing ideas and norms and criticism of existing ones. 2 It is important to recognise the revisionary, controversial and contested character of most of these notions. First, it is relevant to observe two standard philosophical distinctions a) between concepts and conceptions and b) between descriptive and prescriptive definitions. Concepts represent presumed general natures and tend to be stable and commonly shared while conceptions differ and are more liable to be subjects of debate and disagreement. For example, in political discourse it is common to invoke such notions as those of 'society', 'the private’ and 'the public', 'justice', ‘rights' and 'common goods' etc. These are generally recognised to be central and important concepts; but there are disagreements between different conceptions of what each amounts to and requires. Thus, there are egalitarian, libertarian, and other conceptions of justice, the common good, and of the private/public distinction. Again, in some spheres there are stable and uncontested common concepts which serve to define matters, as in chemistry, biology and medicine; whereas in others there is extensive disagreement between competing prescriptive conceptions, such as in fields of art, literary and musical appreciation. The concept of sex as an aspect of identity applicable to human beings and other animal species is part of biology, relating primarily to reproduction. Thus, the idea of primary (internal and external genitalia) and secondary (pelvic build, menstrual cycle), sexual characteristics. In looser connection with these are what might be termed tertiary sex characteristics, typically behavioural ones, e.g., aggression, competitiveness, nurturing. While there are broad commonalities around these, they may not be historically and culturally universal, and this gave rise among anthropologists in the 19th and early 20th centuries to interest in the extent to which they might be culturally variant. A proposal somewhat in line with these speculations, but with a more specifically political character was made in the middle of the 20th century by the French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex (1949) to distinguish between biological sex and cultural gender, writing that: "Everyone agrees there are females in the human species; today, as in the past, they make up about half of humanity; and yet we are told that "femininity is in jeopardy"; we are urged, "Be women, stay women, become women." So not every female human being is necessarily a woman; she must take part in this mysterious and endangered reality known as femininity. ...". Prior to the reception of her work the term 'gender' was a grammatical one used by linguists to identify nouns and pronouns (e.g.in Lattin and French) as male, female, common or neuter. Its application to describe certain kinds of cultural identity was then an innovation. Although the idea of ‘gender identity' has recently entered into the vocabulary its status as socially constructed remains contested among philosophers, psychologists and others. Its primary usage had until quite recently been among feminists who wanted to argue that that certain conceptions of 'femininity' were the product of imbalances between the powers of the sexes, enshrined in cultural categories and norms. Two points in all of this are important to appreciate. First, and notwithstanding the rare occurrence of individuals born with mixed or indeterminate primary sexual characteristics, the biological classificatory terms male and female have not been seriously contested or given new conceptions. Second, that the tertiary characteristics associated with masculinity and femininity have generally been held to have either objective or intersubjective criteria of application. In other words, it has been held by gender theorists that, like the natural category sex, the culture identity gender is something whose applicability is not a matter of self-determination or self- identification. 3
— A new book defends the view that parents have primary authority over their children. The role of the state is to help parents, not to take over tasks that are properly parental.
— You're in a conversation and someone says, “We have to respect the rights of children. No one, not even their parents, should be allowed to interfere with their sexual autonomy. We have to let them decide who they really are.” What would you say? Children's rights are absolutely crucial, but does that mean parents shouldn't be able to direct their children’s education and medical care, or be informed about the choices they're making? No. The next time you're in a conversation and someone says that children’s rights conflict with parental rights, here are 3 things to remember. First, children have rights, but they're frequently misunderstood. Second, children have rights, including the right to life and the right to their mother and father. Third, children have rights, and they don't conflict with parental rights. Thanks to Katy Faust for her contributions to this video. Katy is the Founder and Director of the children’s rights organization Them Before Us. You can learn more by visiting thembeforeus.com. Donate Here: http://WhatWouldYouSay.org/give Website: http://WhatWouldYouSay.org http://ColsonCenter.org http://Breakpoint.org Comment Policy: We encourage civil discussions. Please keep bad language, personal attacks, off-topic comments, and general bad behavior off our site. Sources and Recommended Reading: “Them Before Us: Why We Need a Global Children’s Rights Movement,” by Katy Faust and Stacy Manning For more on how some professionals argue for children’s harmful transgender treatments despite parental objection, see: Maura Priest, “Transgender Children and the Right to Transition: Medical Ethics When Parents Mean Well but Cause Harm,” National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, February 20, 2019 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30784385/ For more on how some school districts hide children’s transgender identities from their parents, see: http://www.journalrepository.org/media/journals/BJESBS_21/2015/Aug/Sullins1122015BJESBS19337.pdf For more on how parent’s moral obligation to care for their children correlate to children’s rights, see: Melissa Moschella, “The Rights of Children: Biology Matters,” Public Discourse, The Journal of the Witherspoon Institute, February 20, 2014 https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2014/02/11620/
— Our culture values the rights of adults over the rights of children, and as a result, children suffer. It's time to stop repeating the lie that "the kids will be alright." In this video, I talk with Katy Faust about her riveting and important book THEM BEFORE US. READ: Them Before Us (https://amzn.to/3tPFcOa) *Get a MASTERS IN APOLOGETICS or SCIENCE AND RELIGION at BIOLA (https://bit.ly/3LdNqKf) *USE Discount Code [SMDCERTDISC] for $100 off the BIOLA APOLOGETICS CERTIFICATE program (https://bit.ly/3AzfPFM) *See our fully online UNDERGRAD DEGREE in Bible, Theology, and Apologetics: (https://bit.ly/448STKK) FOLLOW ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sean_McDowell TikTok: @sean_mcdowell Instagram: @seanmcdowell
— Katy Faust is a speaker, author, Founder & Director at "Them Before Us" (TBU), and an international activist for children's rights. She joins me here for a discussion on her organization and her new book, honing in on systemic injustices attributed to the breakdown of the family, alternative families, and her warning on the costs of our policies when we put adults' desires before children's needs. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Katy's new book: https://www.amazon.com/Them-Before-Us-Childrens-Movement/dp/1642935964 Katy's non-profit: (Them Before Us) https://thembeforeus.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katyfaustauthor/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/Advo_Katy?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #childrensrights #blacklivesmatter #gayparents
— You probably know the adult viewpoints on marriage, infertility, reproductive technologies, same-sex parenting, divorce, and adoption. But have you ever considered the kids’ perspective?Them Before Us has flipped the script on adult-centric attitudes toward marriage, parenthood, and reproductive technologies by framing these issues around a child’s right to be raised by both their mother and father. Set against a backdrop of sound research, the compelling stories throughout each chapter confirm that a child’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being depends on being loved by the two people responsible for their existence. It’s a paradigm shift that will impact the personal and the political, and reframe every marriage and family conversation across the globe. Them Before Us dispels many prevalent, harmful myths concerning children’s rights, such as: • Kids need only love and safety—moms and dads are optional. • Love makes a family—biology is irrelevant. • Marriage is about adults—it has nothing to do with kids. • Children are resilient and will “get over” divorce. • Studies show “no difference” in outcomes for kids with same-sex parents. • Sperm and egg donor kids are fortunate because they are so wanted. • Surrogacy is a great way to help wannabe parents have a baby. • Reproductive technologies are just like adoption. Are you tired of a culture that views adults as victims in family matters, when it’s clear that kids are the ones who truly pay the price? If so, we are your people, and this is your movement.
— Melissa Moschella joined The Lars Larson Show to discuss parental rights and parents' right to determine how to best educate their children. Read more about this topic, here: https://www.heritage.org/education/report/parental-rights-foundational-account Melissa Moschella is a Heritage visiting fellow and a assistant professor of philosophy at The Catholic University of America, where her teaching and research focus on natural law, biomedical ethics, and the moral and political status of the family. Still haven’t subscribed to The Heritage Foundation on YouTube? Click here ► https://bit.ly/2otKliy Follow The Heritage Foundation on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heritagefoundation/ Follow The Heritage Foundation on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Heritage Follow The Heritage Foundation on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heritagefoundation/?hl=en
— Most Americans presume that parents have the primary responsibility to raise and educate their children—and that the government should generally not interfere with parents’ childrearing practices except in cases of abuse or neglect. Yet parental rights are increasingly being threatened on a number of fronts, both in principle and in practice.