The National Union of Students’ (NUS) LGBTI and women’s departments have planned to counter-protest an upcoming ‘March for Men’ in Melbourne.
The march, slated for Saturday 25 August, was co-organised by anti-trans conservative commentator Sydney Watson and vocal Safe Schools opponent Avi Yemini.
“This is a dog whistle to those who think women’s rights have gone too far,” she said.
“The organisers want a return to the 1950s with its white picket fence values where women stay at home, preferably silent and docile.
“Watson argues that men have been relentlessly attacked in the media – presumably she is referring to the long overdue discussion about domestic violence.
“To declare that such a discussion is unfairly attacking men is a disgusting cover for condoning violence against women.”
In a post on Twitter last month, Watson attempted to throw trans communities under the bus, perpetuating the myth that a person’s gender identity must reflect their biological sex.
“Lemme just confirm this, ya know, cause I’m a biological female,” she wrote.
“You need a uterus to have a period. You can make-believe your gender, but you can’t make-believe your internal organs.”
And earlier this year, Yemini attended an anti-Safe Schools rally in Melbourne, that allegedly saw a young man abused by a crowd of anti-LGBTI protestors.
The ‘Stand Up For Parents’ Rights: Stop Sexualising Our Children’ rally was organised in alliance with the US-based Sex Ed Sit-Out movement, protesting sex education and LGBTI inclusion in schools.
NUS Queer Officer Jasmine Duff believes far-right commentators like Watson and Yemini are using misogyny as their primary organising tool.
“Their campaigns seek to enforce rigid gender norms, sexist stereotypes, and violence towards women,” she said.
“We want to be clear: women and LGBTI people will not go back to the 1950s without a fight.”
The ‘March for Men’ counter-protest is due to be held at the same time as the original march, at Federation Square.