Last week Melbourne was confronted with the sight of black-clad white supremacists performing Nazi salutes on the steps of the Victorian parliament, serving as “protection” for noted UK trans-phobe Kelly Jay Keen-Minshull.
Depending on where you get your news, you might have heard that the Nazis were there to either “ambush” the trans hate event, or to “support” Keen's speaking tour.
But for those of us who have observed “TERF” (trans-exclusionary-radical-feminist) activities in Melbourne over the past few years the explanation is somewhat simpler: If you scratch a trans-phobe, a Nazi bleeds.
What are they on about?
With the domestic supply of TERFs dwindling, local trans-phobes imported Kelly Jay Keen-Minshull (also known as Posie Parker) to drum up support for their... ahem... “cause”.
Keen-Minshull's particular brand of transphobia asserts that the legal recognition of transgender people and their human rights cheapens the experience of being a woman for her. Keen-Minshull cynically twists the very real need to address violence against women into a perverse persecution of those women statistically most likely to suffer violence - trans women. Keen-Minshull attempts to divide cis women against our trans sisters, to distract us from our shared experiences of violence and discrimination.
Keen-Minshull openly admits that she is not a feminist, but nonetheless thinks it’s terribly important that she has a platform to speak her mind on feminist issues, and that her platform not be shared, at all, with other perspectives. Hence the “Let Women Speak” tour.
Ironically, Victorian unions are currently campaigning on an actual workplace issue of women being silenced. The campaign to End NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) - which gag survivors of workplace gendered violence – welcomes all sisters (not just cis-ters) to campaign together for the legal right to name and shame harassers and hazardous workplaces. Funny – the TERFs don’t seem to be interested in letting women speak when it might disadvantage corporate interests.
So where do Nazis come in?
The strategy of opposing rights for a minority group – of dividing workers by race, gender, or identity – is pretty stock standard Nazi behaviour. Their whole shtick is making us afraid of each other, distrusting of our shared institutions, and fighting over scraps from their table. Anti-trans campaigns are therefore right up their alley.
Why do we care?
Conversely, recognising the inherent human dignity of our trans comrades is a core value of the union movement. Touch one – touch all.
Trans workers are staunchly organising in their workplaces and communities for justice and respect, but right now our trans comrades are also vulnerable to violence and significantly higher rates of self-harm. Our trans youth deserve the freedom to be themselves without threats from powerful media personalities.
We know we’re stronger when we stick together – and that when we’re united in common struggle for economic and social justice we’re unbeatable. So we’ll keep turning out together – and defend our trans comrades from their attacks.