Trans solidarity and anti-fascism

Whether they're under attack from the far right or from so-called feminists, trans rights are non-negotiable. 

During the first week of Parliament after the state election, Abigail used her first adjournment debate to raise the concerning rise in anti-trans scare-mongering. 

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (18:36): I am not alone among the left of politics in becoming increasingly concerned about the rise of fascism, not as something just to observe with detached alarm as it gains an increasing foothold in other countries, but something that we are now being confronted with daily in Australia—on the streets, in our social media feeds and in the halls of our democratic institutions. Fascism is the enemy of the people, the enemy of equality, and the enemy of all those who seek justice in this world. The fascists that walk among us and who espouse their dangerous ideology of division know that their politics are unpopular, even among those who they would describe as their base, so they rely on diversion, misdirection, fearmongering and hatred. Theirs is an ideology that thrives on division and hatred, fuelled by toxic masculinity and misogyny.

We cannot afford to be passive. We should be vigilant in recognising and resisting the far right in all its forms, from the seemingly innocuous to the overtly violent. We have to promote a culture of resistance that is unapologetic in its defence of justice, equality and dignity. The fight against fascism is inextricably linked to the fight against patriarchy and misogyny. Contemporary global feminism is the most important location and lens for anti-fascist struggle. Rather than still separating feminism as some "other politics", we should be actively working to situate it at the core of our political movement's contemporary political struggles.

Fascism is a form of authoritarianism that seeks to control every aspect of society. It is a system built on the oppression of marginalised groups, particularly women and gender-diverse people. That is why we need a feminist anti-fascism that centres the experiences of those who have been most impacted by the patriarchy and misogyny that fuels fascist ideology. We must recognise the ways in which fascism and patriarchy reinforce each other, and work to dismantle them both. The rise of far right movements has led to a surge in transphobic and anti-gender-diverse rhetoric and violence. Trans and gender-diverse people are held up as a danger to women.

There is a confected hysterical obsession with bathrooms and women's spaces as being under attack or invaded by transwomen who present a threat to the safety of women. This misinformation is deliberately invoked to obscure the fact that we know that the most dangerous place for women is in the heterosexual nuclear family where women experience a brutal and daily onslaught of gendered violence and murder. The anti-trans ideologues seek, through smoke and mirrors, through dog whistles and increasingly explicit rhetoric and action, to obscure this reality in pursuit of their political ends, offering up alluring promises of protectionism while reinforcing the very structures of gendered oppression. These gender critical conspiracy theories serve as a mask to hide what the real oppressor of women is, which is the patriarchy. All of this is in service of protecting the status quo.

Recently, far right groups have taken to our streets to intimidate and harass queer people, marching down the streets of Newtown in the middle of WorldPride and violently assaulting peaceful LGBTQIA+ protesters in Belfield. Explicitly Neo-Nazi groups are targeting libraries and community spaces that are hosting family-friendly queer or drag events. Neo-Nazis have begun storming council meetings in Victoria, and a group of Neo-Nazis stood on the steps of the Victorian Parliament and performed fascist salutes with impunity. The far right is more than just creeping here in Australia; it is surging. It is incumbent upon all of us to challenge it in whatever ways we can. We must unequivocally defend the rights and dignity of trans and gender-diverse people and reject any attempts to marginalise or exclude them from our movements.

I hope we are able to come together in this new term of Parliament to create structures and reinforce our democratic institution in a way that is explicitly feminist, and I pledge my commitment to doing what I can to ensure that happens. This is as important for the people working within these walls of power as it is to those upholding our liberties through their work outside Parliament and on the streets. A feminist Parliament is just a Parliament that upholds the rights and dignities of all people and can be a bulwark against dangerous political ideologies that seek to degrade and undermine our democracy and our rights. I encourage all members to be active participants in the struggle to build a feminist anti-fascist movement and to create a world where everyone can live free from oppression and fear.

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