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  • Writer's pictureanonymous woman

For many years now a lawyer who identifies as a woman has been working in community legal services in northern regional Victoria. This person seems well regarded by local magistrates' court staff and magistrates, and is an affable, pleasant individual. In various meeting with the local court that I witnessed, this individual struggles to hide his sex as he is a chronic mansplainer. But every one smiles and calls him 'she' and by his chosen name.

The thing that worries me most about this individual's transgenderism is its impact on women clients who come to see him, with their having to affirm "her" identity as a woman. Victims/survivors of family violence have often been subjected to the most extreme sexual violence by their male partners, and men's coercive controlling techniques always include a liberal dose of gaslighting by the perpetrator against the woman. It sickens me to think of these extremely vulnerable women, with no option to pay for private female legal representation, being forced to again kowtow and comply with this lawyer's belief that he is a woman.

What is worse is that the local magistrates and court staff are complicit in this coercion of vulnerable women and always refuse to mention the elephant in the room that the six foot something, huge-footed, massive-handed individual is and always will be male. If this is not a conflict of the rights of the man to identify as a woman vs. the rights of the most vulnerable women to access and receive justice in our legal system - I don't know what is.

[*Moderator's note: the author of this submission would like noted that this lawyer does not work for LegalAid, who are more sensitive to the needs of their female clients].


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