A prominent Queensland politician’s response to a sticker tacked onto the window of her workplace has reignited debate around defining the word “woman”.
Attorney-General and Women’s Minister for the Palaszczuk government, Shannon Fentiman, took to social media on Sunday to highlight the contents of a black and white label which was plastered onto a photo of herself outside her Waterford West office.
“Woman. Noun. Adult human female,” the wording on the sticker, which stood out from the Labor party member’s teal-coloured top, read.
A sticker reading the definition of a woman was stuck to Ms Fentiman’s office window. Picture: @shannonfentimanmp / Instagram
In response, Ms Fentiman – who’s strongly represented women and domestic and family violence prevention in state parliament since November 2020 – used the sticker as an opportunity to weigh in on the meaning behind the word.
In a lengthy caption to her Facebook page and Instagram, she said: “I know the sticker doesn’t look like it says much, and most people will be lucky enough to be unaffected by what it says.
“But for some people in our community, these stickers represent much more – they represent a movement which discriminates against them and denies their existence.”
The Attorney-General later told news.com.au: “I do not stand by these views”.
It’s understood the “movement” Ms Fentiman is referring to is the uprising of anti-transgroups which have recently protested against topics like transgender athletes in sport and access to gendered bathroom facilities.
Such groups have also acknowledged the meaning of the word “woman” are the three words cited on the sticker, which Ms Fentiman appeared to disagree with.
“I’m proud to be working with trans and gender diverse Queenslanders to ensure their lived identity matches their legal identity by reforming our birth certificate laws,” she said.
“I’m proud that we’re modernising anti-discrimination laws to further protect our LGBTQIA+ community, (and) I’m proud to be Queensland’s Minister for Women, fighting for the rights of all Queensland women.”
Ms Fentiman is the Attorney-General and Women’s Minister for the Queensland government. Picture David Clark
Ms Fentiman wrapped up her post by reassuring Queenslanders her office will continue to deliver support for the LGBTQIA+ community, no matter the backlash she receives.
“The work we’re doing will keep going, regardless of any stickers on my office or hateful comments on my social media,” she said.
The Attorney-General later added: “I will continue fighting for the rights of all Queensland women”.
Ms Fentiman’s comment received waves of support from her followers, with many applauding her decision to advocate against the sticker’s intentions.
“I love your voice for social injustice, your fight against social conditioning and your determination to always include,” one fan commented alongside a series of heart and fist-pump emojis.
“Thank you for your tenacity and commitment to this issue, Minister. This movement is misguided and so hurtful,” a second person said.
But the minister’s humble intentions were quickly overshadowed by backlash she received from those who shared differing views, with some comments too vulgar or hateful to publish.
“They say they just want to ‘let women speak’ but this is clearly them trying to threaten you into silence,” one of Ms Fentiman’s supporters commented in response to some posts slamming the Minister.
Meanwhile others argued Ms Fentiman wasn’t fulfilling her role as Women’s Minister due to her inclusive views, with some calling on her to resign.
The sticker which was placed on Ms Fentiman’s office window between April 29 and May 1 and has since been removed.
A lose-lose situation
Ms Fentiman’s comments come less than a week after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was asked the same question by English journalist Piers Morgan during an exclusive interview broadcasted in the UK, ahead of the King’s coronation.
“What is a woman Prime Minister?” Morgan asked.
“An adult female,” Mr Albanese replied instantly.
In response, the British journalist proceeded to question: “how difficult was that to answer?”
“Not too hard,” Mr Albanese said while slightly shrugging his shoulders and shaking his head.
“I was asked during the (election) campaign actually.”
Anthony Albanese was interviewed by Piers Morgan last week. Picture: Twitter
Similarly to Ms Fentiman’s statement, Mr Albanese was quick to cop backlash for his response but this time it was for not acknowledging transgender women in his statement.
Trans activist and blogger Eleanor Evans said Mr Albanese used the question as an opportunity to “drop anti-trans dogwhistles while umming and ahhing about ‘respect’”.
“All through this he couldn’t even bring himself to say the word ‘trans’,” she tweeted.
Meanwhile Political reporter Amy Remeikis accused the PM of “legitimising” a “hateful question”.
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“Here’s the PM last year being asked the same question – what is a woman – and giving the same answer he gave on the bad UK show – it was a dumb question then, it’s even more hateful now and that the leader of our country is legitimising this,” she tweeted.
News.com.au has contacted Ms Fentiman’s office for comment.
Read related topics:Anthony AlbaneseBrisbane