Feminist Open Government?

Can there be transparency, accountability and participation in the development of public policies on gender identity

Over the last couple of weeks there were two blockbuster international conferences in Canada — the Open Government Partnership Summit in Ottowa and “Women Deliver” in Vancouver. They were both slick affairs, where people from governments, intergovernmental and non-government organisations could rub shoulders and say good things.

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“When I put this yarmulke on, I instantaneously transform from privileged white guy to a member of one of the most persecuted minorities in the history of the world…. This simple piece of cloth has the power to transform me from being a member of a dominant group to being an outsider, to being different and not fitting in, to having others judge me without knowing me.”

Of course this neat trick only worked because Heller really is Jewish. The yarmulke did not transform him. If a non-Jewish person had tried this on it would have been crass and offensive. Similarly if Heller had put on turban and claimed to be Sikh, or blacked up his face and claimed to be African American.

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What if open government principles were applied to the introduction of gender ID policies?

At the “Women Deliver” Summit the Global Philanthropy Project, a collaborative of 19 philanthropic funders that fund lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) rights launched a Position Paper. Many of the funders, such as the Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation and Hivos are also major funders and opinion formers of open government efforts.

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This is mainly where I write about sex and gender

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