Experts warn that cancelling LGBTIQA+ events emboldens far-right

An extremism expert advising Victorian Councils has warned that cancelling LGBTIQA+ themed events because of threats from far-right groups will only embolden those trying to close down the events.

Victorian has seen at least 11 LGBTIQA+ themed events cancelled in the last six months because of safety concerns for those attending, while council staff and elected representatives have been inundated with offensive phone calls, messages and in some cases, death threats.

In Western Australia an event for young LGBTIQA+ people run by the City of Fremantle was cancelled in 2022, while protesters have targeted events being attended by rainbow families and young children.

Josh Roose, a political sociologist at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Gobalisation spoke to a gathering of Victorian Councils last week saying the cancellation of events was rewarding those making the threats.

“Each time an event is shut down it is exploited online by the far right as a victory,” Roose told Guardian Australia. “By cancelling the events there’s the risk of rewarding incredibly bad … behaviour.”

Roose said councils also had to follow the advice of police, creating a situation where councils had little choice to call of events. He suggested that it was important that local governments had a united voice on the issue.

The lack of anti-vilification laws relating to sexuality and gender identity in some states has been flagged as a reason that the LGBTIQA+ communities are able to be targeted.

OIP Staff

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