As Christian Thugs Rally in Newtown Yet Again, Leong Assures That Diversity Will Prevail

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Christian Thugs

Christian Lives Matter descended upon Newtown again, about a week back, on a Friday night. The rally was just a bunch of neofascist Christians gathering in public to vocally share their social hangups about some people not having sex in the same way they do or for dressing unconventionally.

The name, Christian Lives Matter, is a racist appropriation of a term that expresses an extremely serious and long-term issue that involves state authorities and white people killing Black people with impunity, while nobody’s feeding Christians to the lions these days, especially not in this country.

Indeed, what CLM represents is a group of individuals claiming to be under threat, as a means to propagate hatred, in some cases via violence, towards non-heterosexual individuals, especially those who dress in clothes they consider are intrinsically associated with only one type of person.

This group of Christian thugs made itself known as Sydney World Pride 2023 was coming to an end in early March, as a group of men paraded through the streets of queer-friendly Newtown, chanting the Lord’s Prayer. And whilst this might sound mild, the footage shows it to be distinctly threatening.

And so concerned to hear of yet another CLM appearance in her electorate of Newtown, NSW Greens MP Jenny Leong jumped on social media to post a warning message, asking those back home to take care, even though she was over in South Korea attending the Global Greens Congress 2023.

A danger to diversity

“The event held in Newtown last week was part of a disturbing, ongoing trend by the far-right to intimidate queer communities and legitimise dangerous transphobic and queerphobic rhetoric in the guise of religious preaching,” Leong made clear.

“Transphobia and queerphobia are hateful ideologies – they have no place in our community – and we must challenge any movement that preaches such discrimination, just as we would if protests were preaching racism or sexism,” she told Sydney Criminal Lawyers.

A long-time advocate for LGBTIQ rights, Leong’s warning from South Korea, which coincided with around 50 to 100 black-clad men, some from CLM, with others representing different far-right groups, preached violence-inciting hatred in Newtown’s Pride Square, formerly known as The Hub.

But the most inspiring aspect to this incident is that Leong’s efforts worked. Despite being in Asia, she was able to successfully warn her constituents, to the point that her message circulated widely online, and triggered others concerned for people’s safety to likewise post their own cautions.

During her message, Leong described the anti-LGBTIQ demonstrators, as “a really dangerous group of individuals”, which is by no means an exaggeration.

“I wanted to jump on live to let you know to be really safe if you are out and about tonight on King Street,” added the NSW Greens MP.

Homogeneity breeds decline

After the Christian Lives Matter protest in Newtown in March, CLM and other far-right Christian actors held a rally in Sydney’s Hyde Park North two weeks later. And as event speakers espoused deeply paranoid theories, a large group scuffled with a sizable NSW police presence.

The most bizarre aspect to CLM and other far-right groups like them is that they seriously consider that there’s a left-wing conspiracy attempting to turn their children into trans individuals, and they further believe this “project” is such a threat that they must proactively stamp it out.

But the truth of the matter is that trans people account for around 1 percent of the community and they’re just demanding that their rights be upheld, as well as to be free from transphobic hatred and violence, while there is no hidden agenda attempting to persuade others to become transgender.

Those propagating this absurd theory, however, are attempting to make the rest of the community heterosexual just like them. Ultraconservatives, like CLM, want everyone to act and dress just as they do, and they’re willing to use force to the point of lethal violence to enforce this.

This desire to destroy those different to one’s own group is a fascist tendency borne of fear of the other.

And increasingly, in the Australian political setting, as elsewhere in the Global North, these types of ideologies insisting on homogeneity are robbing us all of our rights, freedoms and liberties.

A bigot with sexual hangups

These transphobic and queerphobic groups have been empowered to appear on the streets of late, due to the rising ultraconservative rhetoric of certain members of parliament, with the chief culprit on Macquarie Street these days, being NSW One Nation MLC Mark Latham.

Over the last term of parliament, Latham grabbed attention by claiming that NSW schools have become “gender-fluidity factories”, he introduced a bill aiming to erase the identity of trans children in educational settings and he pushed for laws to uphold Christian rights above all others.

Prior to the March election, Latham even appeared at a Christian Lives Matter meeting to bolster the anti-trans agenda, which prompted a small band of nonviolent transgender rights advocates to rally out the front of the event, which led to hundreds of Christian thugs violently attacking them.

Of late, Latham has also made it publicly known that he has a severe hangup about anal sex, via an obscene tweet he posted regarding Independent MP for Sydney Alex Greenwich.

And while the leader of this state’s chapter of the nation’s leading white supremacist political party seemed to consider he was having a go at Greenwich, what he actually achieved was sharing some of his most deep-seated sexual issues publicly, and he’s probably still completely blind to that fact.

Leong’s pledge for diversity

In concluding her 9 June warning message, Leong promised that she’ll be doing everything in her power to ensure that the efforts of “these vile individuals and groups” out to intimidate trans and queer people, along with the rest of the progressive Newtown community, are put to an end.

A key issue identified by many onlookers at these far-right rallies is that state police forces tend to appear sympathetic to the message being propagated. Indeed, Leong pointed out after the first CLM demonstration in March, that instead taking any action, police simply walked alongside the group.

At a Sunday afternoon rally at Pride Square days later, the Greens MP described video footage showing officers merely “escorting the group up Enmore Road”, and instead of preventing behaviour such as spitting at passers-by, NSW police were simply jotting down details in notebooks.

Similar scenes have taken place in Melbourne recently as well, with two anti-trans events having been staged by the nation’s leading neo-Nazi group, the Nationalist Socialist Network, which again saw police cracking down on counter protesters, while white supremacists goosestepped in peace.

“We will keep working with activists and communities to fight the rise of the far-right and maintain Newtown as a hub for activism, a haven for the queer members of our community and a place where difference and diversity are celebrated,” Leong concluded on Monday just after parliament.

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Paul Gregoire

Paul Gregoire is a Sydney-based journalist and writer. He's the winner of the 2021 NSW Council for Civil Liberties Award For Excellence In Civil Liberties Journalism. Prior to Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, Paul wrote for VICE and was the news editor at Sydney’s City Hub.

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