Trans rights protester met with Nazis at Posie Parker rally recounts ‘terrifying chaos’
A trans rights activist and TikTok star said they were left heartbroken after seeing Neo-Nazi protesters on the streets of Melbourne at a recent event held by anti-trans pundit Posie Parker.
Lilah, known online as LilahRPG, told PinkNews that they could barely believe what they were seeing after spotting the group, dressed in black and throwing Nazi salutes at the Let Women Speak tour, on Saturday (18 March).
As part of the tour, Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, also known as Posie Parker, is travelling across Australia to share her exclusionary anti-gender rhetoric.
So far, she has travelled to Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart, and, in most cases, has been met with overwhelming pro-trans counter-protests.
But it was her scheduled stop at the Parliament House in Melbourne that caused the most concern among Australian politicians, after a group of neo-Nazis joined the “gender-critical” rally, chanting “white power” and using the Nazi salute.
In response, officials across the country and beyond have condemned both Keen-Minshull and the hate group, with the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, saying their views “aren’t welcome.”
Lilah, who was at a protest an hour before Keen-Minshull’s event was set to begin, said that they wanted to attend the event to help reject the “gender-critical” beliefs on display.
“I was already very familiar with who Posie was prior to her announcement,” they told PinkNews.
“I received a DM on Twitter from one of my followers right after it was announced, and my stomach dropped. I knew this was an attempt by Australian TERFs to import what they call the gender-critical movement into Australia.”
While “gender-critical” beliefs can already be found in Australia, the movement is far less influential than in the UK, mostly because of the country’s predominantly progressive policies usually put in place by lawmakers.
Not only does Australia recognise non-binary genders in its legal documentation – a policy the UK is not currently considering implementing – most regions also allow gender markers to be changed without a surgery requirement.
However, there have been attempts to build the anti-gender movement in the country.
Attending the Melbourne counter-protest against Posie Parker
Lilah shared protest information in a tweet on 14 March, noting that they’d be joining in on the counter-rally to condemn Keen-Minshull’s rhetoric.
“The atmosphere marching over was fierce, but it immediately changed when we turned the corner and saw the Nazis,” Lilah said.
“I could hear the panic in my voice.”
Lilah attempted to record the entire thing for social media, several clips of which are available on their TikTok account.
“In that video, you can see police pulling out the [pepper] spray to try and force us back,” they said.
“I think once the initial shock died down everyone was just furious, seeing Nazis doing salutes uninterrupted and interacting with the TERFs.”
Keen-Minshull told PinkNews that despite the presence of the far-right groups being felt, she believed none of them were actually at the rally.
“No men dressed in black who gave Nazi salutes were at the rally” she said. “Nazis are abhorrent, no right-minded person sides with Nazis, they have absolutely nothing to do with Let Women Speak.”
But Lilah said: “While I didn’t expect Nazis to be bold enough to attend Posie’s rally, it is not surprising they align with them.
“A lot of TERF rhetoric mirrors what was said about gay people prior to marriage equality.”
Lilah was injured as police started ‘shoving’
Lilah said they were injured as police attempted to push protestors away from the opposing groups.
“I don’t know exactly what happened to injure me, there was too much chaos to pay attention. Towards the end, the police started shoving us into the side of the street, into the walls, trees, benches, and, in my case, the tram railing.
“We were being pushed against the railing with nowhere to go, and even though it was only for a few seconds, being trapped between police who had [pepper] sprayed other protestors was terrifying.”
According to Lilah, the police eventually stepped back and allowed protestors room to move.
The look of shock on their fellow protestors’ faces “broke my heart”, Lilah added.
Posie Parker’s ‘gender-critical’ influence in Australia is small, but could increase if the government doesn’t act
In response to the rally, Victoria officials have vowed to ban the Nazi salute as a step towards mitigating hate speech.
But Lilah doesn’t believe this is enough to curb the risk of growing anti-gender rhetoric.
“The [Victoria] government needs to address the police actions on Saturday to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” they said.
“Banning a salute alone will not remove the far-right, it will not remove the anti-trans movement.
“The government needs to introduce stronger protections for queer people, especially when there are people within parliament who are anti-trans.”
After attending and speaking at the rally, Victoria Liberal MP Moira Deeming was expelled from the party, with officials saying her position was untenable.
Opposition leader John Pesutto told the Canberra Times that it was not “an issue about free speech,” but her association “with people whose views are abhorrent” that was unacceptable.
Similarly, Lilah said that “gender-critical” beliefs are not about women’s rights, but rather about hating trans people.
“They’re not there speaking on issues that affect women, like reproductive care, wealth inequality, harm reduction strategies for sex work, poverty and in particular the dire state of welfare in Australia.
“Instead, they gather to speak about how much they hate trans people, to scream that trans people are predators.”
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