Letter to the Editor, Australian Jewish News, May 5 2023, p17
A flawed genius
AS much a genius and friend of Jews Barry Humphries was seen to be (AJN 28/04), these accolades fall short of him respecting transgender people. Consummate at presenting as a woman, Barry failed to appreciate the depth of hurt his words wielded when in 2016 he first ripped into the very heart of transgender identity. He proceeded to take further swipes at the LGBTIQ+ community in 2018, where he was shunned by the comedy community and beyond.
To see Jews laud a person who inflicts harm on vulnerable people makes me very uneasy. We cannot afford room for any intolerance, lest we wish to invite similar upon ourselves.
To download this statement in PDF format, please click here.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (the ECAJ), the peak representative body of the Australian Jewish community, has condemned yesterday’s demonstration in Melbourne’s CBD by a group of neo-Nazis as “disgraceful”, and called for tougher action by State, Territory and Federal governments against public displays of Nazi symbols and gestures.
“Neo-Nazis remain denizens of the far fringes of society, but a weak response by government has emboldened them”, said ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim. “They are becoming increasingly brazen in staging displays of the kind we witnessed yesterday outside the Victorian parliament”.
“Thugs in black uniform, hiding behind masks, performing Nazi salutes and spewing violent and dehumanising rhetoric against entire groups of people on the basis of their race, sexuality or gender identity, should have no place anywhere in Australia, let alone outside a parliament, the symbol of democracy”, he said.
Peter Wertheim also noted media reports of attempts by neo-Nazis to join the Australian defence force and state police forces in order to gain access to weapons and training.
“We welcome the Victorian government’s announcement that it will ban the Nazi salute in public, after it previously outlawed the display of the Hakenkreuz. But we need something more than a piecemeal approach, and a patchwork of State laws. It’s well past time for Federal, State and Territory governments to co-ordinate their efforts through intelligence sharing, tough uniform legislation, and rigorous police training and enforcement to crack down on this growing menace.”
Aleph Melbourne co-convenor Michael Barnett said: “White supremacy of this nature led to the persecution and murder of millions of Jews, LGBTIQ+ people and other minorities in World War II. There is no room for this ugly behaviour in Melbourne, or anywhere else. Transgender, gender diverse and all LGBTIQ+ people have a right to live in peace and safety, without fear of bigotry, transphobia or intolerance.”
Daniel Aghion KC, President of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) said: “Vilification, in any form, has no place in Victoria.”, while Michael Barnett, Aleph Melbournesaid: “White supremacy of this nature lead to the persecution and murder of millions of Jews, LGBTIQ+ people and other minorities in World War 2. There is no room for this ugly behaviour in Melbourne, or anywhere else. Transgender, gender diverse and all LGBTIQ+ people have a right to live in peace and safety, without fear of bigotry, transphobia or intolerance.
Taking aim at what he called Deeming’s “extremist views and values on the issues of human sexuality and gender identity”, Aleph Melbourne co-convenor Michael Barnett said, “When politicians like Moira Deeming align themselves with people like Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull who affiliate with neo-Nazi extremists they cross a line of no return.
“I cannot see how there is room for people like that in a political party that values human decency. Her expulsion from the party cannot come soon enough,” he said.
19 March 2023 – A diverse group of trans, LGBTIQ+, multicultural, women’s and other civil society organisations have joined together to condemn the hate speech and transphobic displays that took place outside Victorian parliament.
The coalition said it highlighted the urgent need for Victoria and other jurisdictions to expand their anti-vilification laws to prohibit all forms of hate speech, including vilification based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
There are currently no federal laws and no laws in Victoria, South Australia or Western Australia protecting LGBTIQ+ people from vilification. Only vilification based on race (and in Victoria, also based on religion) is prohibited in these places.
Son Vivienne and Jeremy Wiggins, CEO’s of Transgender Victoria and Transcend said: “Surely, we can agree that whatever our personal or political beliefs, we share a human desire for mutual respect?
“Anti-vilification laws are one way to protect humanity against violence, hate and bigoted ideologies that hurt all people, but especially those at the intersections of stigmatised gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, faith, class and disability.
“Transgender Victoria and Transcend believe in standing for common decency and compassion and we call upon state and federal governments to strengthen legal protections against hate.”
Jackie Turner, Founderof the Trans Justice Project said: ”Trans people deserve to thrive. Yet right now we are facing unprecedented attacks on our rights, lives and health care from anti-trans hate groups. I encourage everyone to stand in solidarity with the trans and gender diverse community in calling out these attacks.”
Anna Brown, CEO of Equality Australia said: “The actions of the anti-trans protesters in Victoria yesterday speak for themselves and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms. Clearly there is no place for Nazi salutes and signs calling for the destruction of trans people in Australian public debate.
“The neo-Nazi ideology and that of the anti-trans protesters have much in common – they target vulnerable minorities to incite hatred and fear. These ugly displays of transphobia are typical of the sort of vilification trans people have to deal with every day and now the broader Australian public can see for themselves the sort of people doing it.”
Mohammad Al-Khafaji, CEO of the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) said: “With International Day on the Elimination of Racism on Tuesday, we can’t stand by and let the symbols of racist ideology be used to demean the dignity of any person in our wonderfully multicultural society, whatever their race, religion, gender identity or sexuality.”
Daniel Aghion KC,President of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) said: “Vilification, in any form, has no place in Victoria.”
Jana Favero, Director of Systemic Change, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said: “It was shocking to see footage of yesterday’s anti trans neo nazi displays. We condemn this display of racism, hatred, and fear mongering. Such discrimination and division does not reflect us as a community and must be rejected and condemned.”
Michael Barnett, Aleph Melbourne said: “White supremacy of this nature lead to the persecution and murder of millions of Jews, LGBTIQ+ people and other minorities in World War 2. There is no room for this ugly behaviour in Melbourne, or anywhere else. Transgender, gender diverse and all LGBTIQ+ people have a right to live in peace and safety, without fear of bigotry, transphobia or intolerance.
Renee Carr, Executive Director of Fair Agenda said: “The fight for women’s rights is one for respect and dignity. We condemn the actions of all who target and marginalise people in our community to incite hatred and fear. All women must join together to ensure our movement is not co-opted to demonise the trans women among us. A better future for women is one where we all have safety, security and agency over our lives and bodies.”
In 2021, a cross-party Victorian Parliamentary committee recommended expanding Victoria’s racial and religious vilification laws to protect everyone from hate, including transgender people. These recommendations are yet to be implemented.
In the lead up to the federal election in 2022, the Commonwealth government committed to enacting religious anti-vilification laws but has not committed to prohibiting vilification based on other attributes.
Ms Brown said reforms to protect LGBTIQ+ people from the harms of hate speech were long overdue.
“In 2023, it cannot be that Nazi salutes vilifying trans people are legal in Victoria, or anywhere in Australia. Everyone deserves to live without people condemning their simple right to exist, or live with dignity,” concluded Ms Brown.
Media contact: Anna Brown 0422 235 522, Tara Ravens 0408 898 154
Statement from Independent for Kooyong Dr Monique Ryan for Aleph Melbourne in support of the LGBTIQ+ community.
The protection of the rights of vulnerable people, including those in the LGBTIQ+ community, is a major priority for Monique. She abhors the way the Religious Discrimination Bill has been weaponised – causing harm and distress to LGBTIQ+ people and other minorities including people with disability – and she would oppose any attempts to compromise the protections that are currently afforded by the Sex Discrimination Act and by state Anti-Discrimination Acts.
Monique condemns the way that trans people have been exposed to ongoing harmful and cruel political posturing throughout this election campaign, and she is aware of the devastation that this hostility inflicts on individuals and communities. She opposes the Save Women’s Sports Bill – and supports the continuation of s42 of the Sex Discrimination Act – as both currently stand. She is concerned that this Bill would further marginalise a vulnerable group of people – especially trans and gender diverse children – who already experience a high degree of social exclusion and isolation. Trans people must be at the centre of discussions involving any legislation that directly impacts them.
If Monique is elected she will work with LGBTIQ+ communities to move equality forward. That means removing anti-LGBTIQ+ exemptions from discrimination law, supporting better mental health services and school inclusion programs, ensuring equity in Medicare for trans and gender diverse people, and putting an end to conversion practices and unnecessary, non-consenting medical interventions on children with variations of sex characteristics.
Monique stands for a community that is inclusive, generous and welcoming.
Further information on Dr Monique Ryan’s policies is available here.
Aleph Melbourne received the following clarifying statement from Glen Eira Councillor Dr David Zyngier on April 4, 2022, issued in response to the tweet from @StrewthQueen below:
As a member of the Greens I fully support and endorse the non-negotiable rights of all people to their fundamental human rights. I fully support the Greens policy on trans rights. I acknowledge as a cis male there is much that I do not fully understand and am open to being educated about issues that impact and effect our LGBTQI+ community. I look forward to future productive conversations with members of the LGBTQI+ community and especially those members of the Greens who identify as trans. If there are transphobic or trans exclusionary members of the Greens, they do not represent Green values or mine.
Liam Getreu, Executive Director of NIF Australia, told me: “Jewish organisations shouldn’t platform prominent political figures who are openly racist, homophobic, misogynistic or who traffic in bizarre conspiracy theories … We won’t want their hateful, toxic views rippling through our community.”
The Council for the Order of Australia should hang its collective head in shame for honouring Margaret Court, a purveyor of bigotry.
MEDIA RELEASE JANUARY 26 2021 ALEPH MELBOURNE DISGUSTED BY AUSTRALIA DAY HONOUR AWARDED TO MARGARET COURT
The Australia Day 2021 Honour bestowed to Margaret Court “for eminent service to tennis as an internationally acclaimed player and record-holding grand slam champion, and as a mentor of young sportspersons” flies in the face of good taste and decency.
As an organisation representing Jewish LGBTIQ+ people we have been doubly impacted by Margaret Court’s incessant demonisation, with her comparison of the work done to protect LGBTIQ+ children to what Adolf Hitler did, and her rabid transphobia and homophobia.
Margaret Court may be capable when it comes to mentoring in tennis, but as a community leader she is a danger to impressionable young people by telling those who are LGBTIQ+ that they are the work of the devil and making them feel bad about themselves.
The Council for the Order of Australia should hang its collective head in shame for honouring a purveyor of bigotry.
Contact Michael Barnett – Co-convenor firstname.lastname@example.org 0417-595-541