NZ Herald 22 February 2017Family First Comment: “As a girl I feel uncomfortable with a guy being in the same toilets [as me]. There are already gender-neutral toilets in the school. Girls going through puberty and stuff, it can be quite stressful and embarrassing. And knowing that there could be a guy that could walk in, it’s a little bit terrifying to think about that.”http://www.askmefirst.nzA Kiwi teenager has spoken out about her school’s decision to allow a transgender student to use the girls’ bathrooms, saying it was made without consultation and her rights were overlooked.In a video the girl, known only as Laura, says the management’s decision to allow a transgender teenager, who was born male but identifies as female, to attend the all-girls’ school last year shocked her.School leadership initially told the transgender student she could use the gender-neutral toilets, but she successfully campaigned to access the girls’ halfway through the school year.Laura said it was then that she spoke to the school’s management, voicing her concerns for her and other students’ safety.“And at that point I was like ‘No this isn’t right’,” she says in the video.“As a girl I feel uncomfortable with a guy being in the same toilets [as me]. There are already gender-neutral toilets in the school.“Girls going through puberty and stuff, it can be quite stressful and embarrassing. And knowing that there could be a guy that could walk in, it’s a little bit terrifying to think about that.”Laura says her concerns fell on deaf ears, and the principal told her if she had a problem with being in the same toilet block as the other student, she could use the unisex toilets herself.“And that’s when I thought ‘hold on a minute. I’m at an all-girls’ school with these girls’ bathrooms and you’re telling me if I don’t want to use them I can go to a unisex toilet?’ It doesn’t make sense. It really doesn’t.”Lynda Whitehead, spokesperson for Tranzaction, an advocacy organisation for transgender people, was shocked when watching the video.“I was dismayed. Transgender people do not go around harassing anybody. They don’t go into a bathroom and use them for any other reason than anyone else,” Whitehead said.“What I would say to this young lady [Laura] is go out there, find a transperson and have a talk with them and see where they are coming from.”Laura’s mother also voices her opinion in the video, which lobby group Family First produced as part of a campaign to bar transgender females from using girls’ and women’s’ facilities such as toilets and changing rooms.“As a mother when I found out about the issue I was extremely distraught and upset,” she says.Laura’s mother says the school’s claims that it considered the rights of all its students before making the decision are “really incorrect”.“They have not respected the value of the girls’ vulnerability. They haven’t respected their thoughts on the matter. There’s over 600 girls. They also have a right to have a voice.“I think as a parent, we should’ve got together in the school itself before it all happened. Why didn’t they ask us what we wanted to do?”Laura adds that while she has nothing against the transgender student involved in the stoush, she takes issue with the school’s lack of consideration of her views.“[The school] never asked me my opinion. They never respected my rights. Nobody asked me first.”Whitehead, who is a trans woman, said students should be consulted but she believes most would rule in favour of transgender people being able to use the bathroom they consider most appropriate to them.“It’s straightforward. If a person identifies and presents as a female they will use the facility appropriate to them. The same goes for a male.”Whitehead said the issue was laid to rest last year and has only been rekindled by Family First.“We are a marginalised and small community in New Zealand so we’re an easy target for [Family First]. But why is this being stirred up now if it was done and dusted last year?“Its nothing more than organised bigotry and quite frankly we’re sick of it.“All we want is to get on with our lives like everyone else.”http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11804688Kiwi teen hits out over transgender toilet policyOtago Daily Times 21 February 2017A Kiwi teenager has spoken out about her school’s decision to allow a transgender student to use the girls’ bathrooms, saying it was made without consultation and her rights were overlooked.In a video titled Ask Me First About School Toilet Privacy: Laura the girl, known only as Laura, says the management’s decision to allow a transgender teenager, who was born male but identifies as female, to attend the all-girls’ school last year shocked her.School leadership initially told the transgender student she could use the gender-neutral toilets, but she successfully campaigned to access the girls’ halfway through the school year.Laura said it was then that she spoke up to the school’s management, voicing her concerns for her and other students’ safety.READ MORE: https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/kiwi-teen-hits-out-over-transgender-toilet-policyLizzie Marvelly: Our toilets are the new battlegroundNZ Herald 25 Feb 2017Somewhere between the broken soap dispenser, the constantly dripping tap and the hand drier that hasn’t worked in about 20 years, it appears that you’ll now find conservative lobby group Family First lurking in the background to ensure each girl who pops in for a wee between classes has the type of genitalia up her skirt that Family First deems appropriate. This week, New Zealand’s favourite pearl-clutchers took it upon themselves to join an American campaign fighting against advances in the human rights of transgender people.I am a staunch advocate for amplifying young women’s voices, but I also believe teens deserve the right to formulate their own views and opinions without the pressure of voicing them in a conservative lobby group’s controversial campaign that they may or may not agree with in the future.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11805955Nadine Chalmers-Ross: ‘Morality guardians invade the toilets’Sunday Star Times 26 Feb 2017Teenagers are arguably more vulnerable than my strident almost-31 year old self. That vulnerability was not given enough consideration, according to the mother of a girl whose school decided to let its one transgender student use the girls’ bathrooms. Laura and her mum have been wheeled out as the faces of Family First’s new ‘Ask Me First’ campaign. A campaign that adopts the usual approach of the bully – sorry, lobby group – that is: inciting fear, discrimination and intolerance as it carries out its self-appointed role as the guardian of morality…. Laura’s mum is right about one thing; teenagers are vulnerable….http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/89740782/nadine-chalmersross-morality-guardians-invade-the-toilets#AskMeFirst: The left’s shameful response to Laura will push more women to the rightWriting by Renee Blog https://reneejg.net/2017/02/24/askmefirst/….Cue the liberal backlash. Journalists on the left are completely ignoring the implications to girls’ and women’s safety of opening up female-only spaces on the basis of identity politics, being too busy scrambling to profess their “love” for trans people and hatred of “bigotry” to think about girls. They are so rushed, in fact, they can’t even stop to define the terms of their own arguments. The Herald‘s Lizzie Marvelly cannot cough up a definition of a “girl” to back up her choice to ride roughshod over a young woman’s legitimate concerns about her rights to consent, privacy, safety and speech.Commentators like Alison Mau and Marvelly have dismissed Laura herself as “exploited” by Family First, in order to sidestep consideration of the concerns she raises. Auckland University academic equity leader Lexie Matheson even bluffs that this “exploitation” actually “worries” him.… Women are increasingly prevented from discussing the root causes of epidemics that affect us, like eating disorders and sexual abuse – because doing so involves looking at the nature of gender as a hierarchical system that men impose on women, on the basis of sex. Even saying this is now considered “transphobic”, because “transwomen are women!”… To see Laura’s legitimate concerns dismissed in this condescending manner is nauseating. Given these sorts of reactions, it is also no wonder that women and radical feminists are finding themselves increasingly accepting support from right wing groups.… So if the right supports girls and women like Laura to ask questions pertinent to our safety, while liberals hound and bully them for it – those same liberals should be prepared. When more and more women start making political swings to the right, seeing no other options to make themselves heard – liberals will only have themselves to blame.Rosemary McLeod: I don’t want to be intimate with strangersStuff co.nz 2 March 2017The dunny drama of 2017 was a happy moment for liberal-minded people to puff out their chests, preen, and congratulate themselves for being more progressive than bores like Family First. But they weren’t entirely heroic.READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/columnists/89923312/rosemary-mcleod-i-dont-want-to-be-intimate-with-strangersKyle MacDonald: Why are New Zealand’s suicide rates so high among transgender youth?NZ Herald 2 March 2017One of the amazing things about humans is we have this ability to think about how we see ourselves. We call it our identity.READ MORE: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11810387Who would dress as a woman just to enter a female toilet? Diane SparkesNZ Herald 1 March 2017Being transgender is not about sexual orientation, who you have sex with. A person who identifies as female is not being that way just so he can go to the bathroom or locker room just to get his, that should read, her, jollies off.READ MORE: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11809702Keep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.