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Disinformation and the far right – transgressive transitions

Disinformation and the far right – transgressive transitions

A research report from The Disinformation Project has documented the merging of disinformation communities in Aotearoa, and shift from Covid 19 to transgender hate.

The report, ‘Transgressive transitions’, documents the merging of conspiracy theorist communities which produce disinformation in Aotearoa. The ‘disinformation communities’ include anti-vaxx, Covid 19 denialist, white supremacist, fundamentalist faith based, and anti-trans communities.

It found that the disinformation community which formed around Covid 19 recently shifted it’s focus to the transgender community. This shift happened in ‘near real time’ as a visit occurred from UK anti-trans campaigner Posie Parker (Kelly-Jay Keen-Minshull). Parker is also known for her links with white supremacy and neo-nazis. Parker visited Aotearoa in March 2023.

The report defines ‘disinformation’ as :

“false information created with the intention of harming a person, group, or organisation, or even a company”

Transgressive transitions

The report documented an unprecedented increase in extremist, far-right disinformation online in Aotearoa, as the disinformation communities merged and refocused on transgender hate.

The report notes several important concepts, which trans communities have attempted to highlight over the past few decades:

The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention has described the international ‘gender critical movement’ as genocidal: “the gender critical movement simultaneously denies that transgender identity is real and seeks to eradicate it completely from society.”

Transgressive transitions

The reports goes on to say:

We note specifically the continued and targeted use of the language of genocidality […]

Through the repeated use of dehumanising language … we are studying the strategic shift of social perceptions, values, and attitudes, which is a dangerous speech hallmark. The violative language engenders and normalises the notion that targets must be killed, and often, urgently.

Transgressive transitions

This is what we’ve been telling the government for years, if you want to counter terrorism, this is the direction you need to look in.

PDF – read online or download

Fullscreen Mode

Find out more

You can visit The Disinformation Project website here to find out more.

You can also read these media articles on the report:

Read earlier related articles:

Transgender Perspectives on Feminism: Online Course

Transgender Perspectives on Feminism: Online Course

Gender Minorities Aotearoa is offering a free online course, designed to increase your knowledge of historic and contemporary issues regarding feminism and transgender people, and to improve your transgender inclusive intersectional feminist praxis. It is designed for people who are relatively fluent in feminism, and already have a 101 understanding of transgender issues.

It was developed through an intersectional feminist lens, by a transgender team that included transfeminine, transmasculine, non-binary, indigenous Māori, neurodiverse, disabled, and working class representation.

This course takes around 60 minutes to complete, and is broken into 5 sessions. You can stop at any time and continue later by logging in again. Some chapters have additional reading materials linked – these are not included in the time allocation.

By the end of chapter 1. you will be able to:

  • 1. Differentiate between gender, sex characteristics, and sex assigned at birth.
  • 2. Talk about impact of colonisation on understandings of sex and gender.

By the end of chapter 2. you will be able to:

  • 1. Understand the impact of eurocentric heteropatriarchal sexology on transgender narratives.
  • 2. Understand the history of enforced heteronormative sexuality in trans healthcare.
  • 3. Recognise the sexualisation of transgender women through medicalisation and pathologisation.
  • 4. Recognise the abusive nature of enforcing an arbitrary gender without an infants consent.

By the end of chapter 3. you will be able to:

  • 1. Recognise the repression of transgender people in Nazi Germany.
  • 2. Recognise similarities between historic fascism and contemporary repressive regimes.
  • 3. Identify psudo-feminist and fundamentalist religious right alliances.
  • 4. Understand the history of Radical Feminism and inclusivity in relation to transgender women.    
  • 5. Talk about why the term “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism” or “TERF” was developed.
  • 6. Identify impacts of TERF campaigns on public policy.
  • 7. Discuss various online and offline tactics of TERF campaigners, and the impacts of these.
  • 8. Identify reasoning behind the framing of anti-trans propaganda as “transgender debate”. 

By the end of chapter 4. you will be able to:

  • 1. Recognise key components of transmisogyny.
  • 2. Talk about the transmisogynist double bind.
  • 3. Identify the stereotypes behind transmisogynist prejudice. 
  • 4. Discuss why theories of “male socialisation” are inaccurate.

By the end of chapter 5. you will be able to:

  • 1. Identify examples of transgender intersectional feminist praxis.
  • 2. Recognise the exclusion of transgender narratives from contemporary feminist discourses.
  • 3. Identify a Black lesbian feminist separatist position on biological essentialism.
  • 4. Discuss key strategies for an intersectional feminist praxis of transgender inclusivity. 
  • 5. Identify areas of transgender marginalisation to address in gendered oppression discourse.
  • 6. Identify key concepts in creating trans-inclusive gendered spaces.
  • 7. Discuss core concepts in building safer spaces or diversity and inclusion policies.

Content Warning: this course discusses transgender histories, including forced surgeries, childhood sexual assault, concentration camps, the death penalty, and sexual violence.

Anti-Trans Conference at Odds with Massey University’s Rainbow Policy

Anti-Trans Conference at Odds with Massey University’s Rainbow Policy

The anti-trans campaign group ‘Speak up for Women’ is holding an event at Massey University, which promotes and advocates for the removal of human rights and legal protections from trans people. Trans people are a severely stigmatised, disadvantaged, and discriminated against population, that experiences some of the highest rates of violence including sexual violence in Aotearoa NZ. This is unacceptable.
In their LGBTQI+ policy, Massey University says:
Massey University is Rainbow Tick certified. This achievement confirms our commitment to the Rainbow community, and to provide a safe and inclusive environment for its members.

All staff and students need to feel comfortable being their whole-self, and to work and study without fear of harassment or discrimination. We’re committed to equal opportunities for all, regardless of your:

  • gender identity
  • marital status
  • religious belief
  • colour
  • race
  • ethnic or national origin
  • disability
  • age
  • political opinion
  • employment or family status
  • sexual orientation.
Hosting a known anti-trans extremist group is in direct opposition to this commitment.
The activism of Speak up for Women is entirely based on removal of human rights for trans people, who suffer from extremely high rates of stigma, sexual violence, and discrimination across housing, healthcare, education, employment, access to goods and services, and all other areas of public life. This stigma, discrimination, and harassment results in minority stress and suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and deaths, at greatly elevated levels compared with the general population  [Counting Ourselves, 2019].
Massey University must take action to prevent harm toward trans students, staff members, and members of society.
This week the High Court backed the Auckland Council’s decision to cancel a booking for far-right speakers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff saying that the right to free speech did not include the right to a platform, and that “These individuals who want to incite hatred against others are, in my view, not welcome here.”
Rainbow Tick Acting President Martin King said Massey University’s Rainbow Tick status would likely be reviewed if it allowed the anti-trans conference to go ahead.
Massey Wellington Students Association is calling for the event to be cancelled. It has penned a petition, saying ”By providing a platform for a hate group to speak on our campus, Massey University is putting ‘freedom of speech’ over the safety of its staff and students. This petition has gained over 1,300 signatures in just 5 hours. You can sign the petition here.
Landmark Trans Health Report Shows Widespread Disparity

Landmark Trans Health Report Shows Widespread Disparity

Counting Ourselves, a national report on transgender health, has just been released.

The survey had 1,178 participants, from all regions of Aotearoa, ranging from 14 to 83 years old.


The research, funded by the Health Research Council and with support from University of Waikato and Rule Foundation, found that trans people experience discrimination at more than double the rate of the general population, almost half of trans people had someone attempt to have sex with them against their will since age 13, and almost a third reported someone did have sex with them against their will since age 13. Participants reported high or very high levels of psychological distress at a rate nine times that of the general population. In the last 12 months, more than half had seriously considered suicide, and 12% had attempted suicide.

key findings


In the last 12 months, 13% of participants were asked unnecessary or invasive questions during a health visit

17% reported they had experienced reparative therapy (a professional had tried to stop them from being trans) [note: sometimes called “conversion therapy”]

36% avoided seeing a doctor to avoid being disrespected

Stigma, Discrimination, and Violence

67% had experienced discrimination at some point

44% had experienced discrimination in the last 12 months – this was more than double the rate for the general population (17%)

21% were bullied at school at least once a week, much higher than the general population (5%)

83% did not have the correct gender marker on their New Zealand birth certificate

32% reported someone had had sex with them against their will since they were 13

47% reported someone had attempted to have sex with them against their will since they were 13

Compared to the general population, participants were almost three times more likely to have put up with feeling cold (64%) and gone without fresh fruit or vegetables (51%) in order to reduce costs.

Distress and Suicide

71% reported high or very high psychological distress, compared with only 8% of the general population in Aotearoa New Zealand

56% had seriously thought about attempting suicide in the last 12 months

37% had attempted suicide at some point

12% had made a suicide attempt in the last 12 months

Participants who reported that someone had had sex with them against their will  were twice as likely to have attempted suicide in the past year (18%) than participants who did not report this (9%)

Participants who had experienced discrimination for being trans or non-binary were twice as likely to have attempted suicide in the past year (16%) than participants who did not report this discrimination (8%)

Participants’ rate of cannabis use in the last year (38%) was more than three times higher than the general population (12%)

Protective Factors

57% reported that most or all of their family supported them. Respondents supported by at least half of their family were almost half as likely to attempt suicide (9%).

62% were proud to be trans, 58% provided support to other trans people, and 56% felt connected with trans community.

Full Report

The Counting Ourselves website is here.

Quick download the Executive Summary (PDF)

Quick download Counting Ourselves_Full Report (PDF)


Trans and Non-Binary Health and Wellbeing Report Reveals Severe Inequities

Kiwi Transgender and Non-binary People at Higher Risk of Suicide – Survey

Transgender and Non-binary People Suffer High Levels of Mental Health and Discrimination Issues, Report Finds

New Zealand Finds Nearly a Third of Transgender People Raped But Few Seek Help

How Our Health System Has Severely Failed Trans and Non-binary New Zealanders

Survey Shines a Light on Trans and Non-binary New Zealanders

Parliamentary Rainbow Network Welcomes Groundbreaking Report

Accurate birth certificates: BDMRR 101 primer

Accurate birth certificates: BDMRR 101 primer

What is the BDMRR Act?

BDMRR stands for Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration. This is an Act in New Zealand law which sets out the legal aspects and requirements pertaining to the registration of Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships. This includes the legal requirements for birth certificates, including changing the name or gender marker on ones birth certificate, due to marriage, civil union, or being transgender, for example.

What does the BDMRR currently say about trans people changing their birth certificate?

Changing one’s name can be done by a simple statutory declaration, witnessed by a Justice of the Peace. However, the current BDMRRA provisions require medical evidence and a Family Court process in order to change the gender marker on one’s birth certificate.

What’s the problem with the current situation?

The required medical evidence and Family Court process can be difficult, and expensive. It is out of line with the current policy on passports and drivers licenses, which require a simple statutory declaration to change the gender marker on them. It is also out of step with international best practice for human rights.

This impacts most heavily on those who:

  • do not undertake medical steps as part of their transition (for financial, medical, religious, or other reasons)
  • do not know how to make a formal legal application to the Family Court and/or
  • cannot afford to pay a lawyer to apply on their behalf, which can be expensive, costing up to $3,000.

The current process can be lengthy, particularly for those takatāpui, trans and non-binary people waiting for medical evidence to be supplied from a GP, hormone specialist or surgeon. They may also not want a particular medical treatment, and may be pressured toward medical intervention in order to obtain accurate identification documents with their correct gender marker.

Why do trans people need to change their birth certificate gender marker, when getting a passport with their correct chosen gender marker is so easy?

A birth certificate is the only document that someone born here can never have taken away from them. In some significant life events, it is the sole document that will be accepted as proof of identity, rather than a passport or other identification. For example, the gender marker on a takatāpui, trans, or non-binary person’s birth certificate is used on their marriage or civil union certificate, on their child’s birth certificate, and on their death certificate.

What would the amendments in the Bill do?

  1. replace a Family Court application with a statutory declaration process that enables takatāpui, trans or non-binary people to affirm and legally document their correct gender
  2. remove any other eligibility requirements, such as the need for medical evidence
  3. enable gender markers to be recognised as male, female, or as a third, non-binary gender, ensuring trans and non-binary people have the same right to legal recognition, and the legal protection that provides, as all non-trans people in New Zealand.

What are the benefits of this?

Meet international human rights standards

New Zealand’s policy for amending gender markers on passports, introduced in December 2012, is often cited as one of the best in the world. In contrast, the current BDMRR Act provisions for amending gender markers on birth certificates, developed 23 years ago, are outdated. They have not kept pace with international human rights standards, which set out each person’s right to legal recognition, regardless of age.

The current BDMRR Act does not meet the requirements set out in international case law or recommendations by United Nations bodies that monitor treaties that New Zealand has ratified.

Reduce costs and free up time

Moving from a Family Court process to a statutory declaration will reduce cost barriers for takatāpui, trans, and non-binary people, and their whānau, it would free up the court’s time, and it would reduce the administrative burden on the health professionals who are asked to supply medical evidence for each application.

Support kids to be in school

This would have a significant impact on children live in an area with an unsupportive school, and are currently forced to wear the wrong uniform and use the wrong bathrooms and are called by the wrong gender. These children currently experience extreme distress and often simply leave school regardless of their age.

Support adults to be in employment

It would significantly impact adults who currently have to out themselves to potential employers, and are often then outed to colleagues, resulting in continual uncomfortable questioning, curiosity, and in many cases workplace bullying to the extent that the trans person can no longer work.

Basic privacy and quality of life

Passing the Bill would make an important practical difference for takatāpui, trans, and non-binary people’s daily lives. It would support the privacy of all trans people in other situations where showing a birth certificate is mandatory.

Would passing the bill affect everyone else?

Passing the Bill would have very little impact on non-transgender people. Passports currently use a simple statutory declaration for changing one’s gender marker to M, F, or X, and a passport can be used as proof of identity in most circumstances.

Have other countries passed similar Bills?

Yes. Several other countries have already passed similar legislation.

Ireland – Gender Recognition Bill (2015)

A person over the age of 18 can change their gender by way of a ‘statutory declaration’. A report published in 2017 found 297 trans people had been issued with gender recognition certificates since the bill was updated in 2015.

Malta – Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act (2015)

A person over the age of 16 can change their gender by way of a ‘statutory declaration’.

Norway – Legal Gender Amendment Act (2016)

Any person over the age of 16 can change their gender and name by submitting a short document to the local tax office. Young people between 6 and 16 can access the process if at least one parent consents to it.

Argentina – Gender Identity Law (2012)

A person of any age can change their name and gender if all legal guardians agree. If they don’t all agree, a judge can decide. Persons over the age of 18 can change their name and gender by submitting a document to the National Bureau of Vital Statistics. The law also gives adults access to sex reassignment surgery and hormone therapy as a part of their public or private health care plans.

Portugal – Gender identity law (2018)

A person over the age of 16 can change their gender by making a statutory declaration. The legislation also makes it illegal to perform unnecessary surgery on intersex babies.

Belgium – Legal Gender Recognition Law (2017)

A person from the age of 16 can change their gender by submitting a document to the civil registry. The process includes a three-month waiting period.


Are there arguments against passing the Bill?

The main issues which are sometimes raised, usually by anti-transgender extremists, are framed as concerns for women’s rights. These are based on two false assertions:

  1. that transgender women are inherently men
  2. that transgender women should be considered sexual predators unless proven otherwise, and recognising them as women will increase sexual violence

These positions are against every international human rights organisation, every international human rights treaty, The Human Rights Commission, the National Council of Women, and against transgender people’s experiences of themselves.

There is no credible evidence suggesting elevated levels of sexual violence as a result of similar legislation passing in other countries.

The anti-transgender arguments include

It will mean non-transgender women have less rights

CEDAW (The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women) firmly affirms that transgender women are protected as a sex class. This right to be protected as a sex class does not detract from any other person’s right to nondiscrimination as a sex class. This is already the case in NZ, the Bill will not change this.

Male privilege

Both international and local research shows that transgender women experience higher rates than non-transgender women of discrimination in education, housing, healthcare, employment, access to justice, legal documentation, higher rates of violence including sexual violence, higher rates of street harassment, and other indicators of a lack of privilege. This is not what male privilege looks like.

Male pattern violence

There is no credible evidence showing that trans women perpetrate violence toward non-transgender women at a higher rate than non-transgender women perpetrate violence against each other.

Women’s prisons

There are currently systems in place to minimise violence, including sexual violence, between prisoners housed together. The Department of Corrections has confirmed that it is prepared to make adjustments to the ways prisoners are housed to ensure the safest conditions possible for all prisoners if the Bill should pass.

Other countries with similar legislation have not reported any negative effect on women prisoners.

Women’s bathrooms/women’s refuges/women only spaces

These do not currently require birth certificates to enter.

Women’s refuges currently do allow transgender women and have done for many years. They have evidence based processes and protections in place to ensure all women who enter are kept safe, and to protect women who, for example, are fleeing violent relationships with other women who may seek to access them in a refuge by deception. No woman can enter a women’s refuge without legitimate need.

Other countries with similar legislation have not reported any rise is sexual violence in women’s spaces as a result of the legislation.

Men will pretend to be trans women in order to enter women’s spaces

There are almost no women’s spaces which require a birth certificate to enter. There are no reported cases of men in New Zealand gaining access to women’s spaces by using the simple statutory declaration process currently available for passports in order to ”game the system” and sexually assault women.

Single sex schools

In Aotearoa, we have many co-ed or mixed gender schools, and students are considered safe attending these. There are currently single gender schools which accept transgender students. International and New Zealand research suggests that it is transgender students who are at risk of bullying and violence in schools.

Collection of data regarding women

The concern is said to be that data about women, for example the gender pay gap, will be skewed and become inaccurate if transgender women are consistently recorded as women.

Given that transgender people all together make up between 1% and 2% of the population, this is unlikely to have much bearing on data about women overall.

There has not been public consultation

The Bill has been through the same public consultation process as any other Bill, including  submissions from the public. Many of the anti-transgender campaigners made submissions, as did members of their mostly UK based following. These were in opposition to the Human Rights Commission’s recommendations.

Who is in favor of passing the Bill?

As well as rainbow focused organisations, most other human rights advocates and organisations, womens organisations, and public health organisations,  are in favor of passing the Bill, including the United Nations, Public Health Association of New Zealand, Women’s Health Action, Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP, National Council of Women, and the Human Rights Commission.

This submission alone was signed by:

Ahi Wi-Hongi, National Coordinator, Gender Minorities Aotearoa, Dr Jaimie Veale, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, University of Waikato / Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato and President Professional Association for Transgender Health Aotearoa (PATHA), Tom Hamilton, Counselor, OUTLine NZ and project collaborator, re.frame, Jack Byrne, Research Officer, Aotearoa New Zealand Trans and Non-binary Health Survey, George Parker, Strategic Advisor, Women’s Health Action, Conor Twyford, Chief Executive / Kaiwhakahaere, Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP, Richard Tankersley, the Uprising Trust, Christchurch and former Human Rights Commissioner, Rosslyn Noonan, former Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Dame Margaret Sparrow, Dame Catherine Healy, National Coordinator, New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective, Professor Elizabeth McDonald MNZM, School of Law, University of Canterbury, Abbi Pritchard Jones, group administrator and facilitator of Genderbridge NZ, Tracee Nelley, President of Agender NZ, Phylesha Brown-Acton, Managing Director of F’INE, Soul Mehlhopt, Co-ordinator of Transcend, Manawatū, Michelle Smeaton, Secretary of Tranzaction, Christchurch, Sharyn Forsyth, Co-ordinator, NZ Parents and Caregivers of Transgender and Gender Diverse Children, Nick Winchester, Mentor / Founder, Kindred, Christchurch, Dr Elizabeth Kerekere and Kevin Haunui, Chair and Deputy Chair, Tīwhanawhana Trust, Duncan Matthews, Manager, OutLine NZ Inc., Frances Arns, Chief Executive, RainbowYOUTH, Tabby Besley, National Co-ordinator, InsideOUT, Jem Traylen, Trans Secretariat/Board Member, Rainbow Wellington, Jevon Wright, Treasurer, OuterSpaces Charitable Trust, Wellington, Amanda Ashley, Founder, Rodney Area Rainbow LGBTQ+, Warren Lindberg, Chief Executive Officer, Public Health Association of New Zealand, Sally Dellow, Allyson Hamblett, Claudia Mckay, Cathy Parker, Lynda Whitehead, Ally Wilson, Aych McArdle, Joey Macdonald, Griffin Nichol Madill, Laura O’Connell Rapira.

Who is arguing against the Bill?

There are a small number of anti-transgender campaigners, commonly referred to by the softer term ”TERFs” or ”Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists.” The “Exclusionary” refers to excluding transgender people from human rights protections. They sometimes refer to themselves as ”gender critical feminists” and falsely claim that ”TERF” is a slur.   An accurate history of the term TERF can be found here.

Some anti-transgender campaigners have formed an organised campaign against the human rights of transgender people, especially targeting transgender women, under the guise of  ”Speaking Up For Women” against the Bill. They are joined by far-right (conservative extremist) groups and fundamentalist faith-based groups in opposing the Bill.

The anti-transgender campaign has involved creating a faux ”Lesbian Alliance” group online, to release statements against transgender women. One anti-trans campaigner dressed as a penis and harassed staff at a gym which allows trans women. Two momentarily crashed a Pride Parade in front of media cameras with a transphobic banner. They have also attempted to have the rainbow suicide prevention organisations for young people – RainbowYOUTH and InsideOUT – defunded. You can read more about their actions here.

The anti-transgender extremists are also known for campaigns against other minority group women. This includes attacking breastfeeding mothers in the ”Free the Nipple” movement,  strawman tirades against legal protections for sex workers, and accusing Maori curators at the national museum Te Papa of being ”too colonized to understand” that Te Papa ”doesn’t have proper Maori exhibitions”. You can find some of these rants on this local anti-transgender blog here, if you can stomach it.

Is there any NZ media I can look at, what do other people think?

Yes there is. These discuss the BDMRR and gender markers, from a variety of angles, including the views of key human rights advocates, sexual violence services, and others who support the Bill, and some from the key anti-transgender activists who are coordinating the campaign against the Bill.

  1. NZ Privacy Commissioner John Edwards: transgender self identification: why it’s a human right.
  2. Jan Logie: Changes to the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act.
  3. Birth certificate gender changes ‘will protect trans people from being outed’.
  4. The only transgender agenda is to live a normal life and be safe.
  5. Big Read: A matter of identity.
  6. MPs recommend that gender changes to birth certificates be made easier for applicants.
  7. Sex self-identification debate a ‘cesspool of harmful stereotypes’.
  8. Being the parent of a transgender child.
  9. Jan Logie: Good policy; making lives easier for trans and intersex people.
  10. Louisa Wall: Trans exclusionary stance dispiriting.
  11. John Roughan: Freeing sexuality from politics is the last hurdle.
  12. MPs recommend easier process to change sex on birth certificate.
  13. We asked a trans woman to speak on our #MeToo panel, then the abuse began.
  14. Green Party: we should all have documents with dignity.

NB: this post has been updated 23/02/2019 to add links number 1, 2, and 14

What can I do to help to help pass the Bill?

Get the facts

Understanding how a Bill becomes an Act (a part of the law) can help you to be well informed about what is happening at any stage of the process, and be empowered to act. This post explains the process in a way which is easy to understand for those without a legal background.

If you like to read, there are many feminist and legal theorists, academics, practitioners, and writers in Aotearoa, who are writing on these subjects. These include Sharyn Graham Davies, and Elisabeth McDonald.

Contact an MP

You can contact Members of Parliament (MPs) at their offices in the parliamentary complex or at their out-of-Parliament or electorate offices in your area. This page tells you how to find contact details for MPs in your area, and how to address people in Parliament when you correspond with them.

Other great actions to take

  1. Support your local transgender led groups.
  2. Make a donation to Gender Minorities Aotearoa – campaigns like this one take a lot of time and cost a lot of money, every penny helps.
  3. Support Gender Minorities Aotearoa in another way.
  4. Share resources and information about transgender people, help others to understand.
  5. Attend local Pride events and other rainbow community events, talk with others, find your community.

Dowload the BDMRR posters

You can download each poster on our posters page here.


See these posters out and about

Use the search box to find out more about the bdmrr