We are left-leaning feminists in the tradition of the suffragettes and Women’s Liberation. We are in favour of broad-ranging human rights and social justice.

We support ‘our’ ABC as a publicly funded broadcaster and we support adequate funding for the ABC.

In the Australian media landscape – which is so dominated by a few powerful players – we rely on and need, the ABC to provide quality journalism and news coverage. Indeed, as taxpayers, we are entitled to such from our public broadcaster. 

HOWEVER, as women, we are profoundly disappointed in the ABC’s coverage of issues around gender identity ideology, an ideology that harms women and children by

  • threatening the survival of women-only service provisions, including prisons, refugees, and victim support and health care services
  • justifying the intrusion of men and boys into single-sex spaces aimed at guaranteeing the safety, privacy, and dignity of women and girls
  • erasing the category of women’s sport 
  • reassigning the ‘gender’ of children who do not conform to sex-role stereotypes or wh are diagnosed with gender dysphoria, with subsequent medical interventions that carry a high risk of long-term adverse physical and psychological consequences 
  • being based on the erroneous notion that humans can change sex: Human beings, unlike some other species such as clownfish, cannot change sex! 

ABC’s editorial policies commit it to independence, integrity and responsibility (Policy 1), factual accuracy (Policy 2) and impartiality (Policy 4). The ABC is not adhering to these principles in its treatment of issues around gender identity ideology. 

We call on the ABC to present accurate information about women and cover issues around transgenderism with impartiality, responsibility, independence, and integrity. 

Accuracy • Impartiality • Responsibility

How ‘our’ ABC is failing women

Women’s Cooee 2 ABC has collected examples of how the ABC is failing women (and children) in this regard. This includes:

  • downplaying the dangers of males in women’s sports
  • promoting the incarceration of males in women’s prisons
  • promoting dangerous medical practices
  • factual inaccuracy
  • promoting sex-role stereotypes
  • promoting sexualised images of children 
  • misrepresenting viewpoint
  • failing to cover important developments 

Downplaying the dangers of males in women’s sports

The ABC has published a number of articles and radio broadcasts in support of males competing in women’s sports. All are still up on the ABC’s website and the amount of material is growing. The ABC routinely interviews transwomen (ie males) about whether it is fair and safe for them to play in women’s sport. ABC has never interviewed a female sportswoman on the question.

Save Women’s Sports and weightlifters Tracey Lambrechs and Anna Van Bellinghen were all vocal about transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard participating in the Tokyo Olympics, for example, and none were interviewed by ABC. August 2021

Ricki Coughlan raced against females

As part of a series on women in sport, ABC published an article and a video about transgender athletes. Ricki Coughlan is a transgender runner who raced against female athletes. The article focuses on the positive treatment Coughlan receives when they ‘come out’, and does not mention fairness to the other competitors. 19 September 2020

“In Her Words” is a series of videos about women in sports. An episode is dedicated to transgender athletes. Ricki Coughlan, Caroline Layt, Roxy Tickle and Hannah Mouncey all report being warmly supported after coming out as transgender. The piece does not interview any women athletes on their feelings about competing alongside males. The issues of safety and fairness are not addressed. – 18 September 2020

Coverage of weightlifter Laurel Hubbard

Between 2018 and 2021, ABC published 30 articles and interviews about transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard. Only ONE article gave voice to women’s concerns about safety and fairness. Articles range from simple mentions that Hubbard contested a match to impassioned pronouncements about why males belong in women’s sport (9 April 2018). In a radio interview, ABC journalist Tracey Holmes states that transgender athletes are MORE LIKELY to be injured than women half their size. 20 July 2021

Deceptive impartiality:

Because transwomen have feminine names, the ABC can appear to be interviewing a balanced panel. However, Joanna Harper, Chelsea Wolfe, Grace McKenzie, Kristin Worley are all males who play in female sports. So are Hannah Mouncey, Ricki Coughlan, Caroline Layt and Roxy Tickle.

Safety of women in sport

ABC fails to give consideration to the safety of women who compete in contact sports against males.

ABC Journalist Tracey Holmes is on record stating that 1.88m 100kg Hannah Mouncey is the one most likely to be hurt in a class with female competitors.

Promoting the incarceration of males in women’s prisons

A 2020 ABC content campaign in support of placing males in female prisons – still available on the ABC website – includes an adult comic strip, a first-person narrative, a podcast, several news articles and brief mentions on BTN (a news spot for children). The risks to women prisoners are not discussed. No women are interviewed or given space across the campaign. An advocate for transgender prisoners gives comments.

Links: Cartoon, Background briefing, first article, another article 3 July 2020

The dangers involved in promoting such a policy are clearly shown by the current California experience, in which a number of male prisoners who claim to be women have been transferred to the female estate: Prison authorities are handing out condoms with the expectation that women will be raped.

The ABC has not reported this development. 

Promoting dangerous medical practices

ABC News published an article promoting breast binding which is still available online. Breast binding is a dangerous practice: Risks include shortness of breath, dizziness, cracked and malformed ribs, rashes, infections, exacerbating asthma, damaged breasts. No risks were mentioned in the article. The ABC describes breast binders as safe garments. The article refers to Andrew who began breast binding as a minor. No caution is given against minors binding their breasts. 10 October 2021 and repeated on Instagram

Puberty Blockers presented without risks

In an episode of Australian Story, Dr Michelle Telfer, head of the children’s gender clinic at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, makes a number of unverified claims about the effectiveness of transgender medicine for children.

She claims that puberty blockers are safe and reversible. The effects of puberty blockers include osteoporosis, cognitive delay, and infertility. These drugs are used to treat end-stage prostate cancer and to chemically castrate sex offenders. They are not available on PBS for blocking puberty. ABC does not include any warnings about these risks.

Dr Telfer states that if not given this treatment then young people will self-harm. There is no evidence that medicalising gender dysphoria impacts suicide rates. Depression and self-harm are known side effects of some medicines used to block puberty.

There is a growing number of people who desist and de-transition. The ABC does not give them a voice in this story.

Australian Story: A Balancing Act (ABC TV) – 24 May 2021

Self Harm Advertised to Children

ABC advertised the charity Wear It Purple on the children’s podcast News Time. News Time is aimed at primary-aged children. The Wear It Purple blog features a story of a woman who decided to have her breasts removed after watching YouTube videos. She displays her scarred bare chest in a photograph. 28 August 2020

Factual inaccuracy

ABCQueer, an Instagram account operated by the ABC, published a post stating “Some men have periods”. This is factually inaccurate. While not all women menstruate, only women menstruate. Audiences look to the ABC for factual content. The audience of ABCQueer is primarily young people. The ABC is delivering content that is confusing and inaccurate. 20 April 2021. Another post draws a parallel between plant sex and human sex – 19 August 2021.


You Can’t Ask That (ABC TV) about lesbians featured a male ‘lesbian’ talking about how he coerces women into penetrative sex. A lesbian is a woman who is sexually attracted to other women.

No lesbian has a penis.

This program coerces lesbians to accept sex with men. 2 June 2021

Mis-representing violence against trans people

ABC regularly publishes articles asserting that there is an epidemic of violence against trans people. In fact the Trans Murder Monitoring Project has recorded only 4 transgender deaths in Australia since 2008.

An article on Trans Day of Remembrance discussed difficulty identifying transgender victims of violence – 20 November 2019.

The title of the article ‘Trans and gender diverse people ‘four times more likely to experience sexual violence’ misrepresents the data taken from the Kirby report. The report clearly links sexual violence with biological sex, not trans status. – 23 September 2019.

sexual violence and coercion were much more common among participants who had been assigned female at birth – trans men and non-binary people – compared with those assigned male (61.8% vs 39.3%, p<0.001)”.

2018 Australian Trans and Gender Diverse Sexual Health Survey

Promoting sex-role stereotypes

Shane Janek / Courtney Act

The ABC employs a drag queen as a ‘gender expert’, namely Shane Jenek aka Courtney Act. In a recent children’s segment “Little Kids Big Talk” on the topic of gender.

Children speak exclusively to Jenek, who does not discuss the different ways men and women behave in society – for example why do we say “ladies first” or why does mum do all the cooking? Instead he speaks with the children about his high heels, make-up, dancing and how he “doesn’t mind” whether people call him a boy or a girl. Dressed as “Courtney”, he talks of Shane as a separate person. Then tells children to be comfortable being themselves while he inhabits a separate persona.

If the ABC were to expose children to a balanced discussion about how gender shapes our perceptions, it should not be delivered by a man performing rigid stereotypes of women’s beauty and behaviour. 21 June 2021

Promoting sexualised images of children

13 year old Logan

The ABC featured a campaign around child drag queen Logan aka Candy Featherbottom. He is pictured in a sexy outfit strutting underneath a sign reading TABOO. 13 May 2021. This is promoted across multiple channels. (Instagram, ABC News, ABC News Video)

Parents look to the ABC for age-appropriate content for children. Parents look to ABC for family standards of behaviour. This content undermines trust in the ABC.

Misrepresenting viewpoint

ABC report where Noah states “We are not trans”. His words are erased from the trascript.

ABC has blatantly censored the statement of Noah, an 11-year-old who was interviewed about his experience growing up intersex.

Noah gave the ABC a 7.5 min interview on Sunday 17 October. Noah spoke directly to camera stating “we are not trans”. This part of his statement was redacted from the transcript which appeared on abc.net.au

Clearly, ABC journalists or their managers are prepared to break faith with Noah to push an agenda. 17 October 2021

Failing to cover important developments

The ABC failed to report on Bell v Tavistock – a landmark case in the UK where the High Court found that under 16 children cannot consent to puberty blockers. 1 December 2020 (Wikipedia)

The ABC failed to report that Maya Forstater won her unfair dismissal case in the UK, enshrining the right to believe that human beings cannot change sex. 27 April 2021

Independence • Integrity

ABC’s independence and integrity are compromised by its membership of the Pride in Diversity AWEI Scheme. Pride in Diversity is a division of ACON, a non-government organisation which, after starting out as the AIDS Council of New South Wales, has evolved into a lobby group committed to aggressively promoting gender identity ideology through government and corporate sectors of Australian society. 

The ABC’s membership of this scheme mostly affects its internal human resources management, involving such things as provision of transition leave, installation of ‘all gender’ toilets, and establishment of special recruitment considerations for trans and gender-diverse applicants.

It is clear that ABC’s relationship with ACON is also influencing its content, in particular as the broadcast of material in line with ACON’s ideology can be used to gain points in the ratings of the schemes ACON administers. 

We note with alarm, in this regard, that in its annual submission to AWEI the ABC explicitly mentioned the Wear It Purple promotion in children’s broadcasting mentioned above. The children’s show says that Wear It Purple is about feeling safe. However, the Wear It Purple features stories about body modification such as the blog by the woman who had had her breasts removed (above). 

We also note that ABC has recently developed a special Instagram channel, ABCQueer, which heavily promotes gender identity ideology. 

The ACON Pride in Diversity AWEI scheme closely resembles those which the organisation Stonewell has had in place in the UK for several years. These schemes are being increasingly revealed as compromising the independence and integrity of scheme partners, most recently in a 10-part podcast by BBC journalist Stephen Nolan and his team.

Many prestigious UK organisations are now withdrawing from Stonewall’s Diversity Champions scheme, including the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the UK media regulator Ofcom. 

We call on the ABC to break its ties with ACON for the sake of regaining its independence and integrity. 

8 thoughts on “How ‘our’ ABC is failing women

  1. The ABC needs to adopt transparency about its links to ACON and trans rights groups. It also needs to reflect the views of other groups that don’t subscribe to trans ideology such as feminist groups and professionals who critique the medical dangers puberty blockers, and gender reassignment

    1. I totally agree.
      I have sent emails to ABC re its biased reporting in favour of gender ideology & its harms to women & children. No reply of course

  2. I am horrified about this injustice and deeply concerned about the ramifications for society. I am no longer a paid up ‘friend’ and rarely listen to the ABC as a result

  3. Excellent!!
    I attempted to contact the Abc after the Telfer story to tell them I knew a 15 year old child who had a double mastectomy through RCH. Dr Telfer was adamant they don’t do surgery on minors.
    My polite comment was deleted and I was blocked from their Facebook page.

    1. I have also written to the ABC and received zero replies from them. Not even a receipt of my letter.

  4. Agreed! I love the ABC but this bias toward gender ideology is shameful. It’s harming children and women. Stop it!

  5. Thank you for this thorough article. As a woman, it gives me hope knowing that not everybody has been brainwashed yet. It gives me hope for a brighter future. Well done!

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