Australian Senator Barry O’Sullivan Declares He Is A Woman To Make Abortion Argument, But The Move Backfired

Wikipedia editors had a field day with this.

a close-up image of a wikipedia entry
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Wikipedia editors had a field day with this.

Australian Senator Barry O’Sullivan declared that he is a woman so that he could talk about abortion, and he soon came to regret it, Weekly Times Now is reporting. That’s at least in part because Wikipedia editors decided to see things through, and edited his entry to change all masculine pronouns to feminine ones.

Wait – Why Would A Male Politician Declare Himself A Woman?

Without getting too deep into the abortion debate, you might be aware that one of the arguments made by proponents of pro-choice is that abortion is strictly a women’s issue. Therefore, men have no right to debate or pass laws that regulate what happens to women’s bodies, or, as Green Party Senator Larissa Waters put it to O’Sullivan, “keep your rosaries off my ovaries.”

O’Sullivan, apparently not finding any legitimacy in that argument, declared himself a woman so that he could talk about abortion, according to Global News.

“I’m going to declare my gender today — as I can — to be a woman, and then you’ll no longer be able to attack me.”

Why Australia, Why Now?

Outside of the United States, most of the countries of the developed world — with a few exceptions, Australia not being one of them — provide women with near-unrestricted access to abortion, with no religious or social stigma attached to it.

However, O’Sullivan is a member of the Nationals Party, a right-wing party that, among other things, opposes legalized abortion.

O’Sullivan had introduced legislation that would ban counter-protesters from attending a planned anti-abortion protest scheduled for next March. That was shot down by a vote of 32-12, and O’Sullivan, apparently believing that he was being “attacked,” declared himself a woman so that he could talk about the issue.

The Backlash

Unfortunately for O’Sullivan, the internet can always be counted on to see anything to its logical extreme. For example, one Twitter user told the Senator that he (O’Sullivan) can now expect a 26 percent cut in pay — referring to the pay gap between men and women in the workforce — and to be the subject of unwanted propositions.

But the real damage was done over on Wikipedia. Articles there can be edited by anyone, and users were quick to “update” O’Sullivan’s Wikipedia entry to reflect his new status as a woman. Specifically, users changed masculine pronouns (“him/her”) to feminine ones (“he/she”).

Of course, by now Wikipedia has made things right and locked his page from further editing, something that’s usually done when a page goes through a number of edits in a short period of time.

Meanwhile, the senator who made comments about rosaries and ovaries has asked for her remarks to be withdrawn from the official record, saying she was out of turn in making reference to her colleague’s religion.