Transgender: One Shade of Grey
September 1, 2018

Transgender: One Shade of Grey poses deep and sometimes disturbing questions that are at the heart of the identity politics impacting the lives of all Australians and our democracy.

What happens if a biological man who identifies as a woman can play in women’s
sports, access women’s domestic violence shelters, lesbian organisations and, if in jail, access women’s prisons? Why are state education departments saying that if a biological boy identifies as a girl, he must be allowed to use the girls’ toilets, showers, change rooms and play in girls’ sports teams?

Patrick Byrne finds that the more the term gender identity is examined the more the it becomes uncertain, ambiguous, contradictory and leads Australia into deep legal and cultural conflicts. At the same time, the more laws and governments insist on gender neutral language, gender neutral toilets and sports in the cause of “diversity,” the more we are all treated uniformly. The more the transgender world view is protected in law, the more people are threatened with legal, professional and cultural sanctions if they insist on recognising the biological fact that human beings are either male or female.

Byrne critiques the assumption behind the transgender world view, that there is no human nature, raising the question: if there is no common human nature, how can there be universal human rights?


Patrick J Byrne is president of the National Civic Council. For twenty-five years, he has contributed to the NCC’s magazine News Weekly, which has been published since 1942. He is a commentator on political, social and economic affairs. In 2006 he co-wrote the book High and Dry on major changes in water policy that affected Australia’s food production in the Murray-Darling Basin. Over three years, he extensively researched the consequences of changing Australian laws to recognise people by their fluid gender identity in place of their biological sex.