Thursday 26 July 2012


About 2/3 of the way on the curve... was seriously worried when I read the abstract.

Tuesday 17 July 2012

The Same for Thousands of Years...

Marriage, Australian style - Rear Vision - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Keri Phillips: Today on Rear Vision, we’ll take a look at the story of marriage in Australia since white settlement. It’s a story of ever-increasing state regulation in what was once a more private affair and one that shows how the law and society interact with each other to bring about social change. Our marriage laws have their roots in English common law, as Professor Rebecca Probert, an expert in the history of marriage law from the University of Warwick, explains.
Rebecca Probert: The origins of modern marriage go back to the eleventh century, which is when the Christian Church acquired authority over marriage. We don’t know that much about marriage practices before that. There are some hints that Anglo-Saxon marriage practices were not the same as the Christian Church; for example, in divorce being permitted. But we do also know that there were Christian marriage services being carried out even in the Anglo-Saxon period. How popular they were, we have no means of telling. We don’t have much information on what people actually did in this period, apart from at the very highest levels of society, which we can’t take as representative. So our knowledge of marriage really only dates from the Christian period, from the eleventh century onwards.
Keri Phillips: What do we know about it at this very early period?
Rebecca Probert: The basic idea was that marriage was entered into by the free consent of the parties and it was for life. Now, a marriage could be annulled on the basis there was some impediment to it coming into being; for example, if the parties were too closely related, or didn’t have capacity to consent. But other than that, it was for life. Whether you had marriage being entered into solely on the basis of consent is something of a debated issue, because the church also had legislation on banns and publicity and marriages being celebrated in church, even at this early period.
Keri Phillips: What do we know about how it evolved over the years, centuries, following the earliest evidence that you’ve just told us about?
Rebecca Probert: It really is a matter of evolution. Obviously you have the Reformation in the sixteenth century, so the Catholic Church becomes the Church of England, but not very much changes with that. It’s really only when you get into the seventeenth century you have a brief flirtation with civil marriage under the commonwealth. And then in the 1690s you start to get legislation beginning to define where marriages should take place and fining those that aren’t celebrated in the right place, so that the state is reinforcing the church’s prescriptions.
Unchanging? The last time the Marriage Act was radically changed in Australia was in 2004.

Friday 13 July 2012

Today's Battle

From the National Catholic Register

Posted by Charles O'Connel on Wednesday, Jul 4, 2012 12:21 PM (EST):

Regarding people who claim to speak with expertise & authority, I have been dismayed to hear, on an extremely prominent Catholic broadcast - one associated with this publication - two of the most major Catholic commentators (you would know their names), venturing very naive opinions on this subject. They should either take the time to become educated, or learn to avoid rash judgment by shutting up about it.

The author of this article is confirmed in her findings by a true expert, Dr. Paul McHugh, formerly psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, in his November 2004, “First Things” article “Surgical Sex”.

The first thing to consider, is that people who seek such extreme remedies, are responding, however incorrectly, to very real problems; they aren’t doing it on a lark, or to conform with fashion.

The whole history of sexual radicalism is one of such people being exploited by professional agitators who haven’t got their best interests at heart. The emphasis on compassion is the most important thing. In time, those who are really loving will be discovered & remembered.

Posted by Zoe Brain on Wednesday, Jul 4, 2012 7:46 PM (EST):

McHugh’s views are based entirely on ideology, not on evidence.

Think about it - his works on the subject are in political/religious journals, not medical/scientific ones. You see his article “Surgical Sex” constantly being quoted. Why? Because it’s the only one of its kind. A distinctly fringe, even crackpot, view. Unique. His tenure as head of psychiatry was “controversial” to say the least.

To repeat:

As Dr Paul McHugh admitted in his book “Psychiatric Misadventures”:

“This interrelationship of cultural antinomianism and a psychiatric misplaced emphasis is seen at its grimmest in the practice known as sex-reassignment surgery. I happen to know about this because Johns Hopkins was one of the places in the United States where this practice was given its start. It was part of my intention, when I arrived in Baltimore in 1975, to help end it. “
Verdict first, trial afterwards.
The bishops recently chose Dr. Paul McHugh, former chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, as chief behavioral scientist for their new clergy sex crimes review board. Yet Dr. McHugh once said Johns Hopkins’ Sexual Disorders Clinic, which treats molesters, was justified in concealing multiple incidents of child rape and fondling to police, despite a state law requiring staffers to report them.

We did what we thought was appropriate,” said Dr. McHugh, then director of Hopkins’ Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, which oversaw the sex clinic. He agreed with his subordinate, clinic head Fred Berlin, who broke the then-new child sexual abuse law on the grounds that it might keep child molesters from seeking treatment.

Dr. Berlin admitted he had covered for the sex criminals, angering legislators, child-advocacy groups and state officials. But his actions were not surprising, because “at least eight men have been convicted of sexually abusing Maryland children while under [Dr. Berlin’s] treatment there,” according to the March 23, 1988, issue of the Capital. Despite a 1990 Government Accounting Office study that found no therapy program that stopped sex offenders, Dr. Berlin said in 1994 that psychiatry can “effectively control” sex criminals.
McHugh still insists that there is no problem with paedophilia in the Church, that it’s all imaginary, and that the problem is under psychiatric control.
“McHugh’s actions…pose the deepest threat to the council’s credibility. McHugh is the only therapist on the lay council. This makes his participation especially significant, because other members may rely on his presumed expertise. Because he frequently testifies on behalf of accused molesters, doubts may be raised about the council’s desire to truly solve the problem.

McHugh…is the man whose report to the court in one case stated that a defendant’s harassing phone calls were not obscene – including the call that detailed a fantasy of a 4-year-old sex slave locked in a dog cage and fed human waste.

At least eight men have been convicted of sexually abusing Maryland children while under treatment at the “sex disorders” clinic McHugh runs at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine – abuse the doctors did not report, citing client confidentiality. When Maryland law was changed to require that doctors report child molestation, the clinic fought it and advised patients on how to get around the law. The memo to patients suggested that molesters report their pedophilic activities to their lawyers, who could in turn tell staff; attorney-client privilege would then protect the molesters from being reported. This memo was fully approved by the boss – Dr. Paul McHugh…
I think that even the most charitable view would call his judgement “questionable” at best. It’s not as if he has any evidence to back up his views.

What matters is not who has said something, but whether it’s true or not. However, if one is to ignore evidence, and rely on an “appeal to authority”, one had better make sure the authority is unimpeachable.

The Vatican, in all good faith, employed McHugh as their advisor on sexual matters. His psychiatric qualifications were impeccable (even if he lacked training in science, as was the fashion in the 50’s), his conservative politics eminently sound. The result of adopting his recommendations we all know about.

He hasn’t been involved with Transsexual treatment for over 30 years, his knowledge of the area firmly rooted in state-of-the-art theories from the 1950’s, and not updated since.

Thursday 12 July 2012

Monday 9 July 2012

Beyond the Binary: legal recognition of sex and gender diversity in the ACT

LRAC_Report_7_June.pdf (application/pdf Object)

Law Reform Advisory Council recommendations

Beyond the Binary: legal recognition of sex and gender diversity in the ACT
ACT Law Reform Advisory Council

Including input from scientific, medical, and legal experts from the Australian National University - some of whom are Intersex or Trans themselves.

NAB Honesty Shouldn't Go Unrewarded

From the Daily Mail

The shopping centre prank is the latest in a string of NAB stunts. Another experiment involved the bank building a coffee stand on a busy Melbourne street, where the barista deliberately gave all customers $5 too much in change for their coffees.

Every single person immediately returned the money.

The barista then changed tactics and began insulting customers - asking one lactose-intolerant woman when she ‘decided she had that condition’, and telling a smartly dressed young man that he would no longer fit into his suit if he kept drinking moccas.

Despite the obnoxious comments 91 per cent STILL returned the extra change.