Human rights lawyers join with key LGBTIQ+ organsiations to call on Victorian Government and Victoria Police to act in wake of anti-trans protests

April 3, 2023

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) joins with Transgender Victoria, the Victorian Pride Lobby, LGBTIQ Legal Service and other key LGBTIQ and ally organisations led by Southside Justice in calling for action from the Victorian Government following the anti-trans protests in Melbourne on 18 March 2023. 

In a joint letter the group has acknowledged and thanked the Victorian Government  for the response and strong support of the trans and gender diverse community, but has called for action to urgently prioritise anti-vilification reforms to protect LGBTIQ+ Victorians and to initiate an independent investigation into Victoria Police conduct at the protest. 

ALHR LGBTI Rights Co-chair, Georgia Burke said, “In September 2021 the Andrews Government committed to expanding current anti-vilification provisions, including in relation to sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. The majority of Australian states and territories already have anti-vilification provisions that prevent the incitement of hate, ridicule and serious contempt against members of the LGBTIQ+ community. Victoria is lagging significantly behind on this.”

ALHR Vice President and Co-Chair of LGBTI Rights, Nicholas Stewart, said, “Community members who attended pro-equality counter-protests at the anti-trans rally have identified a range of allegations as to discriminatory policing practices, including not removing or monitoring hate speech and banners with violent statements inciting violence such as “kill pedo freaks” directed at trans and gender diverse people. 

ALHR joins with other signatories of the joint letter in calling on the Victorian government to initiate an independent investigation of Victoria Police actions during the anti-trans rally through the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission including a review of allegations of excessive use of force against attendees at the pro-equality counter protest.”

Ms Burke concluded, “The LGBTIQ+ community has a complicated relationship historically with law enforcement. Events such as this continue to erode the trust of the LGBTIQ+ community and other marginalised groups in Victoria Police.” 

“ALHR calls upon Victoria Police to acknowledge the significant damage this event has caused the LGBTIQ+ community, and to make a public statement condemning the use of Nazi symbolism and incitement of hatred and violence towards trans and gender diverse people.”

“We also call upon Victoria police to identify ways to improve their relationship with the LGBTIQ+ community.”

Media Contact: To arrange an interview with Georgia or Nicholas, please contact Matt Mitchell 

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