Wikipedia Editors Are Waging A Small War Over Barry O’Sullivan’s Pronouns

Congratulations to Liberal National Party senator Barry O’Sullivan, who has either bravely come out as trans or has made a super shitty joke at the expense of trans people to defend being anti-abortion.

In a speech to the Senate today, they declared themselves to be a woman with the express intent of somehow making it so that left-wing critics would “no longer be able to attack [them]” over their stance on abortion. While they themselves made it pretty clear that this is a cynical move that makes a mockery of the genuine difficulties faced by trans people, there doesn’t seem to be any harm in taking their choice at face value.

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O’Sullivan has previously stated that the conversation is a serious one that they don’t want to make light of, speaking in Senate Estimates in May:

I definitely don’t want to make light of any of the conversation. It’s quite a serious subject. What would that allow me to do, if I declared that my gender status was…um… female? Does that allow me the freedom of movement … I mean this is a serious question … Can I go into the ladies’ loo loo then?

O’Sullivan’s comments today came in response to criticism they drew from Greens senator Larissa Waters, who vocally opposed a motion by O’Sullivan that would see pro-choice activists banned from disrupting International Day of the Unborn Child.

Shortly after a Buzzfeed article about O’Sullivan’s comments was published, O’Sullivan’s Wikipedia article was updated with she/her pronouns. Shortly afterwards, the article was reverted to he/him, before it was changed back again to she/her.

O’Sullivan’s track record for queer issues is not exactly stellar, voting against the marriage equality bill in November last year, despite 61% of Queenslanders responding in favour of marriage equality in the postal survey.

If this is (as bizarre and as unlikely as it seems) a genuine coming out into queerhood, we congratulate them unreservedly. If this is a shitty joke: they can go fuck themselves.

(Actually, they can probably go fuck themselves either way.)

Update: The pronouns have been reverted back to he/him, again.

Further update: Someone has changed it back to she/her again and, you know what, we’re probably going to stop doing these updates now.