Gay Brisbane MP Asks Australian Government To Cancel British Anti-Trans Activist’s Visa

Gay Brisbane MP Asks Australian Government To Cancel British Anti-Trans Activist’s Visa
Image: British anti-trans campaigner Kellie-Jay Keen.

Out gay Brisbane Greens MP Stephen Bates has written to Immigration Minister Andrew Giles to use his special powers to revoke British anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen’s visa to enter Australia. 

Trigger Warning: This story discusses anti-trans comments, which might be distressing to some readers. For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

Keen, who goes by the online handle The Posie Parker, announced that she will be touring Australia in March, with talks scheduled at Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart and Canberra. 

Bates called on the Minister to revoke the visa “of a prominent transphobe who poses a significant risk to members of the trans and gender diverse community of Australia.” Bates posted his January 19 letter to the Minister on Twitter, and redacted the anti-trans campaigner’s name as he didn’t want to “amplify their hate speech”. 

Brisbane’s LGBTQI Community Starts Online Petition

According to Bates, a number of members of Brisbane’s LGBTQI communities had approached him with their concerns. The local community had also started an online petition asking the Immigration Minister to cancel Keen’s visa. 

The online petition, which has received around 1,500 signatures so far, says that Keen “has in the past year been organising rallies attended by and including Proud Boys as speakers.”

“Her tour of Australia will likewise incite action by Proud Boys and neo-Nazis who are already targeting LGBTQ+ and drag events in Australia, creating increased danger in the community,” the petition said.

The MP said that Keen had an “established record of promoting or excusing hate and violence towards trans and other marginalised communities”. 

Out Gay Brisbane MP Stephen Bates.

A History Of Harmful Rhetoric

Bates listed some of her actions including “calling for men carrying guns to patrol women’s bathrooms”, violence at Keen’s US tours including a supporter “allegedly assaulting trans protestors with pepper spray”, harassing a transgender advocate,  “posing for a selfie with a Norwegian political extremist known for his racist and anti-semitic statements, including Holocaust denial”, and appearing in a video with a far-right white nationalist YouTuber. 

“Hateful vilification and violence toward the trans and gender diverse community has no place in Australia,” the Brisbane MP said in the letter, adding that the Government by allowing Keen to “platform these views encourages her harmful rhetoric to proliferate within the Australian community, and places trans and gender diverse people at an even greater risk of violence and discrimination.”

The MP asked Giles to use his Ministerial discretion under section 501 of the Migration Act “to immediately revoke visa in the interests of protecting trans and gender diverse members of the Australian community against the very real threat of harassment, vilification and violence that she poses to them”.

Not surprisingly, Australian anti-trans campaigners have welcomed Keen’s tour. Tasmanian Senator Claire Chandler, who moved a bill to ban trans women from single-sex sports, posted on social media: “The Greens want to ban a women’s rights campaigner who runs events called “Let Women Speak” from coming to Australia. Says it all about the Greens’ hatred of free speech and women who stand up to them. Looking forward to having Kellie-Jay Keen in the country.”

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