Australian politicians were too quick to tar gender-critical feminists
Last weekend demonstrated that the trans wars are raging just as fiercely down under. The women’s rights campaigner Posie Parker — otherwise known as Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshell — has this month brought her Let Women Speak tour to Australia, aiming to provide a public space for discussion of the conflict of interest between trans rights activism and gender-critical feminists. The fifth leg of the tour, unfortunately, played host to some extremely unsavoury visitors.
At Saturday’s event in Melbourne, black-clad members of the far-Right National Socialist Movement crashed the feminist gathering, performing Nazi salutes and displaying signs which accused trans people of being child abusers. They clashed with the Socialist Alliance, who were protesting the event, and hogged the media limelight at the expense of Parker and the other speakers.
On social media and in the press, however, these two groups — women seeking a platform to discuss their rights and neo-Nazi provocateurs — were conflated into one evil entity. Victorian state premier Daniel Andrews issued a statement, saying that “Nazis aren’t welcome”. He continued, “They were there to say the trans community don’t deserve rights, safety or dignity. That’s what Nazis do. Their evil ideology is to scapegoat minorities – and it’s got no place here. And those who stand with them don’t, either.”
Leader of the Australian Greens Adam Bandt went so far as to state, “I’m disgusted by the anti-trans rally in Melbourne yesterday, protected by their allies: saluting neo-Nazis”, defaming the women present by suggesting that they were in cahoots with out-and-out fascists. This, despite even the Australian Jewish Council recognising that the neo-Nazis were opportunistic gate-crashers.
In reality, this was a melting pot of conflicting ideologies coming together in protest, counter-protest, parallel protest and unabashed opportunism. Many at the LWS event, including local Liberal Party MP Moira Deeming, were initially unaware of the neo-Nazi presence given they were facing away from the steps of Parliament where the National Socialist Movement performed their Sieg Heil salute. When she did become aware of their presence, a frightened Deeming assumed that — in all-black and with their faces hidden — they were militant protestors.
Similarly, the organiser of the Melbourne event, Angie Jones, told radio host Richard King that the neo-Nazis made clear their disdain for feminists beforehand: “They had nothing to do with us. We find their views abhorrent, and they find us abhorrent. On Twitter they said they despised us and that we were trying to turn people into lesbians.”
This sideshow detracted from more serious topics under discussion: recent changes to the law and social policy regarding ‘gender equality’; a “safe schools” education program that promotes a brand of gender ideology which some parents and children find deeply troubling; trans-identifying males in women’s prisons and sports; and mothers worried about gender confused teens. That’s not to mention the chilling effect on speech created when uttering these concerns lead to social ostracisation.
Distracted by the circus in Melbourne, Australia’s political and media class failed abysmally in their duty to represent these issues from all sides.