This is what I, a loyal long-standing ABC customer and Australian taxpayer, was confronted with when I sought to subscribe to iView, the ABC’s video-on-demand and catch-up TV service. 

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Now here at Women’sCooee, we understand that ‘male’ and ‘female’ are categories of biological sex, not genders. And that ‘genders’ are sex-role stereotypes used to bolster the patriarchal hierarchy that puts women on the bottom. And that ‘gender identity’ is a load of bollocks. So where did that leave me? Forced to say I’ve got a gender identity, that’s where. I wasn’t even allowed to say I don’t have one – the most I could do was say I didn’t want to tell them what mine is. 

Other parts of the iView form ask for objective facts not subjective appreciation. Aunty wants to know our locations, not where we think we are. 

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Aunty wants to know our year of birth, not how young or old we feel. 

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It’s very odd Aunty’s not interested in what sex we are. Doesn’t regard that as having anything to do with what content we might find relevant, or as helping her understand her audience. 

Getting a Gold Star

Could this have anything to do with the ABC’s membership of trans-lobby ACON’s AWEI scheme, we wonder? Aunty swore to Senator Claire Chandler that the ABC’s membership of AWEI was all about its staff and its workplace: encouraging a safe work environment, attracting high-skilled employees, etc. We know that’s not true, we know that’s not all AWEI does for the ABC – we know AWEI influences content too. Now we find the ABC forcing trans-extremist dogma onto its customers’ digital identities as well. ABC gets AWEI points for the inclusion in its forms and IT systems of non-binary options and options for those who identify as trans or gender diverse. The ABC doesn’t get any AWEI points for forcing its customers to say we’ve got a gender identity, but we’re inclined to think Aunty is still responding to the incentives that are in the AWEI scheme, even as she ends up going one better on what the scheme explicitly asks for. Holly Lawford-Smith has examined how this operates in her workplace, the University of Melbourne. And we should add that we know that each organisation in AWEI – including the ABC – is guided by a relationship manager who suggests off-record how they should implement the requirements of the scheme. The culture of competition, fostered by the leaderboard, also undoubtedly comes into play. Gotta get that gold star on the forehead!

We don’t want to have to say we’ve got a gender identity just so we can watch an ABC show on catch-up, and we don’t see why we should have to. We want the ABC to get out of AWEI. We want our independent, sane, reliable Aunty back. It’s what us tax-payers fund her to be.