Click here to read our latest report “Transmisogyny, Colonialism and Online Anti‐Trans Activism Following Violent Extremist Attacks in the US and EU”

Extremist Violence Against the Trans and LGBTQI+ Community in Australia: A Review of Recent Events

Extremist Violence Against the Trans and LGBTQI+ Community in Australia: A Review of Recent Events
21st July 2023 Dr. Gerard Gill
In Insights


Members of the LGBTQI+ community have long been targeted by far-right actors. However, across the last 12 months, violence against the LGBTQI+ community, and trans community in particular, has increased substantially. The effect of targeting can be and has been devastating. Trans people have been shown to have poorer mental health outcomes and face more discrimination than their peers. The mobilisation of the far-right against the trans community not only threatens targeted individuals but is used by extremist actors to r further attack human rights and democratic norms.

Like other parts of the world, Australia has recently experienced a dramatic escalation of transphobic sentiment. In March 2023, a group of neo-Nazis performed the Roman salute in support of British anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, known more widely as Posey Parker, at her Melbourne rally. This Insight outlines the escalating wave of hate and intimidation towards the LGBTQI+ community in Australia including the Posey Parker incident, the Christian Lives Matter Movement, the My Place movement and the Freedom Movement. I then highlight the responsibility and opportunities for tech companies to address the rising threat against this increasingly marginalised community.           

Posey Parker and the National Socialist Network

Posey Parker is a British anti-trans activist. Parker fashions herself as a women’s rights activist but has also been called an extremist by her critics on numerous occasions. Parker has characterised trans women as sexual predators and openly calls for LGBTQI+ people to be excluded from various spaces in society. 

During Parker’s visit to Australia, the National Socialist Network (NSN) showed up to support Parker in Melbourne. The NSN has a history of voicing genocidal rhetoric towards various groups including the LGBTQI+ community on social media and online discussions, as well as previously at a drag story time in Melbourne. At Keen-Minshull’s event, they displayed a banner reading ‘Destroy Paedo Freaks.’  On Telegram, the NSN are explicit about their ultimate aim:

“It’s a win that these paedo events are being shut down, but one day the aim needs to be removing them from society all together.”

Such sentiment is far from new in Nazi and white supremacist circles, having been present in early historical Nazi activities, and fitting neatly into the fascist view of furthering humanity by cleansing it of supposed degeneracy.

Reignite Democracy Australia, a conspiracist group mostly known for its opposition to COVID-19 measures, also took to Telegram to deny being against transgender people altogether, but only against drag story time, a position which NSN associates sought to disparage:

everyone go thumbs down react this

Not all were trying to distance themselves, however, with prominent anti-trans figure and supporter of Keen-Minshull, Angie Jones, tweeting – “Nazis and women want to get rid of paedo filth, why don’t you?”. The tweet was screenshotted and disseminated widely by trans rights activists to dispute the idea that the presence of the NSN was uniformly unwanted by the wider ‘gender critical’ movement.

Christian Lives Matter 

Christian Lives Matter (CLM) is a Sydney-based group that formed out of opposition to the marriage equality vote in 2017. As the group grew its ranks and started to expand its scope, many members became militant and started speaking in terms of a religious crusade – fighting to retain and regain Christians’ place as a dominant force in society. This turn has put them in league with anti-vaccination and conspiracist networks. As noted in a previous Insight, shared rhetorical frames around LGBTQI+ people are notably effective in uniting disparate far-right groups against a common target.

In 2023, members of CLM attacked and injured a number of LGBTQI+ protesters at a church in Belfield, New South Wales. According to someone present at the event, CLM members “ran and surrounded us and started attacking us. They were attacking us with bottles, rocks, all sorts of things. They were punching girls.” Later, other members of the LGBTQI+ community that attended the protest were doxed and threatened with violence online by CLM members. As a decentralised, loosely organised group, CLM maintains a level of deniability around the actions of individuals associated with them, but examination of members’ posts on Facebook shows a strong hostility towards the LGBTQI+ community. Below are statements taken from a CLM member’s since-deleted Facebook page:

How can I show u how i feel inside me as a Christian u can’t kill my pride      

all u trans do is talk alot of shit      

They are so protected. Enough is enough

Footage on the CLM page shows masked people dressed in black and carrying Christian symbols such as crucifixes referring to themselves as “God’s army”. Another account refers to continuing efforts to force a local Christian school to drop its inclusive events and displays:

Let’s keep the pressure on this school. 

Enough is enough. 

Leave transgender artwork out of our schools. 

After the Belfield incident spawned media coverage and arrests, CLM’s online presence went silent, and many posts were deleted. Recently, the group has become active again promoting a podcast called ‘Stand for Truth’ which covers general Christian talking points and posts about the supposed persecution of Christians in Australia and abroad.

My Place and the Freedom Movement

The ‘Freedom Movement’ in Australia, like elsewhere, grew from opposition to COVID-19 measures to broad right-wing conspiracism. Recently, the Movement has shifted focus from COVID-19 conspiracy theories to a general paranoia fuelled by Christian extremism – alleging an attack from nebulous forces on Christian values, and framing their activities as a biblical fight against evil. This has seen the group become increasingly intent on real-life action. For example, threats from followers of conspiracist David ‘Guru’ Graham forced the cancellation of a youth Pride event at a surf life-saving club in New South Wales.     

The My Place network, which can broadly be situated within the Freedom Movement, has embarked on an escalating campaign of threats against LGBTQI+ inclusive council events. My Place is a growing network of conspiracist groups started by pseudo-law adherent Darren Bergwerf. Bergwerf is associated with Freedom Movement leader Riccardo Bosi and has been accused of anti-Semitism and holocaust denial. 

The groups under the My Place banner present themselves as ordinary community organisations. However, their activities seek to further the Millenarian aim of building parallel institutions to replace those in mainstream society after its inevitable collapse. The semi-public face of the My Place groups, seen in private but easily-accessible Facebook groups, appears benign. Most posts focus on community-building activities such as swap meets, organic produce sales, farmers’ markets, and social events. However, on Telegram the discussion typically contains other elements – QAnon material, claims of COVID-19 vaccine deaths, sovereign citizen ideas, claims of energy weapons targeting ‘purebloods’ (unvaccinated people), and calls to converge on councils over drag and LGBTQI+ inclusive events.

In April 2023, My Place joined Freedom Movement groups who attended a Monash City Council meeting in Victoria to protest a drag queen storytime event. Protesters called councillors ‘paedophiles’ for hosting the event and many councillors were subsequently threatened online. The Monash drag story time event was ultimately cancelled due to fears over staff safety. This phenomenon has not been limited to Australia but has been occurring in other countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States, with each success seemingly emboldening extremists to continue targeting local governments for intimidation and harassment. 


Currently, the most successful responses to LGBTQI+ targeting have come from the LGBTQI+ community itself. In all the cases outlined in this Insight, community action has served as an effective foil to contain the damage caused by extremists. Posey Parker and NSN’s rallies were confronted, and eventually dwarfed and neutralised by counter-protestors. The Rainbow Community Angels are a group that has formed to ensure inclusive events can continue. Felicity Marlowe, the co-founder of the group, states:

“It’s terrifying that there’s been such a rise in hate…and we really don’t want that message to continue. This is a community saying, once again, we know how to look after each other, we are here…we’ll be there to say that we value the art, we value the people, and we want people to live their authentic lives.”

While community members have been the vanguard of resistance to extremist attacks, the onus should not fall on targets and their allies to combat this hate. Communities, victims, and local councils need support from more resourced stakeholders such as governments and tech companies. Australian LGBTQI+ advocates have called for stronger and more holistic anti-vilification laws. Tech companies should review their trust and safety frameworks to better curb threatening conduct, and empower targets of hateful activity. There needs to be an acknowledgement that the discursive environment fostered by social media is an important factor in the rising levels of real-world violence against marginalised communities. Content containing dehumanising rhetoric or legitimising violence against the LGBTQI+ community provides a backdrop and garners support for far-right violence. Currently, social media platform terms of service are only designed to combat a limited range of egregious content. Platforms should develop more comprehensive and robust policies by centring the experiences of the LGBTQI+ communities who are the targets of this hate. By including victims in the development of tech policies, platforms can tailor their interventions to the specific needs of vulnerable communities, and also avoid reproducing the cisnormative societal structures that contribute to their marginalisation.