Peaceful protest outside RAC Arena as thousands flock to ACL event

A small group of protesters from the LGBTIQA+ communities gathered outside RAC Arena on Saturday night as thousands of Western Australians flocked to The Truth Of It, a presentation from the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).

The presentation sees Martyn Iles, the Australian Christian Lobby’s Managing Director, answering questions about faith, politics and morality. Sharing the name of his YouTube presentations, the seminar has toured the nation.

The protest group included members of the queer communities, alongside parents and siblings who joined to show their support.

For Cherie Wallace, attending was an important way for her and her husband to show their children that they had their love and support. The mum of three told OUTinPerth that it was important for them to stand by their children.

“We support all of our kids, but I sometimes think the best way to support kids who are in the LGBTIQA+ community is to actually show your face. It’s okay to let them know at home that you love and support them, but I think sometime what they really need to see is that real physical presence at something like this which is really important to them.

“I think its important for other people to see that you can be, what people would consider to be a ‘normal parent’, and you can still support and love your kids. It’s really important for us to let our kids know that we publicly support them.” Wallace said.

Wallace said she didn’t give much credence to the joint promotion from the ACL and companion organisation True Identity, who have toured Western Australia promoting the idea that it’s possible for people to change change or suppress their sexuality via counselling and prayer.

“I wonder how many people are sitting in that area right now, who are actually gay or bi, and they’re just lying to themselves and lying to everyone around them, because that’s what they need to do to fit into their own community, I think that’s really sad.”

“The people here are not just gay, or trans, or bi, or non-binary. These people here are being as true to themselves as they possibly can, and supporting other people. The amount of people going by who are just honking their horns in support has been really affirming for them.”

River Clarke, one of the organsiers of the protest, said it was important for people to be told that their lives are valid.

“We’re out here today to say, LGBTQIA+ people are loved and supported. No matter what the Australian Christian Lobby say, we’re out here to say being queer is valid and supported,” Clarke said.

“Tonight’s event is something our community are now used to. Blatant homophobia and transphobia.”

Lynn Maclaren calls on McGowan government to update legislation

Former Greens MLC Lynn Maclaren, said the McGowan government needed to act quickly to stop what amounted to torture on WA youth, calling for legislation to ban practices that aim to suppress or change a person’s sexuality or gender identity.

“The Labor government lacks leadership on this issue – WA has fallen behind other states.” Maclaren said, noting that it has been 20 years since legislation was last reviewed.

“There is a conservative Christian movement pushing to wind back the clock and break our community. Homophobic and transphobia cannot be accepted.”

Maclaren said Western Australia urgently needed to revisit legislation and bring the state into line with other jurisdictions in Australia.

“We need to look to Tasmania and Victoria in changing laws to protect our community, and it needs to be done now.”

Co-chairs of City of Perth LGBTIQA+ inclusion group speak out against ACL

Paul van Lieshount Hunt and David Goncalves, the co-chairs of City of Perth’s LGBTIQA+ inclusion Advisory Group, dropped by the protest and thanked participants for their action.

“I don’t understand why the Australian Christian Lobby are more focused on us as gays or trans people, rather than the homeless,” Hunt said. “The Australian Christian Lobby are well known for their “underground” churches where they practice medieval operations on children.”

David Goncalves, said the church’s event was not representative of the city.

“LGTBQIA+ people are welcome in this City, I would hate for one event to undermine the good work the City of Perth is doing to become a beacon for culture, arts, and community.”


Peter Abetz says ACL has been unfairly described as promoting conversion therapy

When the Australian Christian Lobby first attempted to book Western Australian venues they faced difficulty as the Perth Theatre Trust introduced a new policy that prevented the group from booking state operated venues. The ban was overturned by Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman.

Taking to the stage on Saturday night, Peter Abetz, the ACL’s State Director, who is also the Deputy Mayor of Gosnells, told the crowd of 4,500 people that society was having it’s Christian foundations removed.

“People often say that politics is downstream of culture, but the reality is that politics actually shapes our culture.  Many of the laws and the regulations that get passed that are pulling the Christian foundations out from under our society are often the results of the efforts of small well-funded but well organised pressure groups.” Abetz said calling on Christians to become more involved in politics.

Abetz said the landslide election result which saw Premier Mark McGowan command a majority of seats in the state’s parliament was worrying as it may lead to legislation that would remove Christians schools right to recruit and dismiss employees in line with their religious beliefs.

“They may use their muscle to push through their cherished aims.” Abetz said, suggesting that Labor-left wanted to criminalize any expression of opinion that does not align with their “gender ideology”.

Abetz said the ACL was not supporting any activities which forced people or coerced them into changing their sexuality or gender identity.

“Nobody supports that, but the problem is the activists have redefined conversion therapy to mean anything that does not suit their agenda.” Abetz said. The former Liberal MP said that the laws introduced in Victoria could see children removed from their parents care, and Christians being jailed for up to ten years.

“We believe that any person who wants to change from their LGBTI identity should have the right to access whatever services they believe will help them achieve whatever orientation or gender identity they want.”

Abetz accused Albany Pride and the Western Australian media of falsely describing their Real Lives presentation that has toured the state as a ‘conversion therapy roadshow’.

It was revealed that under Peter Abetz’s leadership the Western Australian membership of the Australia  Christian Lobby has swelled to over 20,000 members, making them a larger political force than most major political parties.

ACL leader Martyn Iles says people are being taught to be transgender

Addressing the crowd, ACL Managing Director Martyn Iles said at his core he was a preacher who wanted to spread the work of the Bible.

In a speech that addressed religious freedom legislation and abortion laws, Iles also shared his thoughts on transgender youth, telling the audience they should all be concerned about the growing number of teenagers receiving treatment for gender incongruence.

“The other thing that bothers me, from a humanitarian point of view, is the rise and rise of young people who are going into gender clinics around this country, increasing by thousands of a percent at a time, hundred and hundred in treatment right now, taking hormones which means that they will be sterilised.”

Iles said the increase in teenagers seeking treatment was a result of educational programs such as Same Schools, Respectful Relationships and The Good Society.

“This isn’t happening because people are really of their own volition coming up with gender dysphoria in their mind. It’s because it’s being put there. It’s being taught to them.

“What did Jesus say?” Iles asked the audience, “He said those who stumble children, are better for them if a millstone was hung around their neck and they’re cast in the depths of the sea.”

Graeme Watson 

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