Tasmania faced its latest conflict during Australia’s postal vote this weekend. The Australian neo-Nazi group Antipodean Resistance plastered stickers over signage at the University of Tasmania.
The stickers featured swastikas, images of Adolf Hitler, and homophobic slurs.
One of the posters show a young Hitler with the phrase: ‘National Socialism or nothing!’ Others made assumptions about the suicide rate of gay and transgender people.
On their website, the group describes themselves as seeing the country ‘for what it is: terminally ill’. They also describe Australia as ‘weak and crumbling under the weight of progressive degeneracy’.
They write they will ‘bring the final victory of White Australia through rallies, demonstrations, and postering’ and oppose ‘rotten, irresponsible distractions’ like homosexuality.
Antipodean posted images of their posters and stickers on their Twitter account.
‘These signs will be a very painful reminder’
‘The messages contained in these posters are some of the most violent and homophobic we’ve seen. They represent the worst of the worst in Australian society,’ said Robin Banks, spokesperson for Tasmanians United for Marriage Equality.
Banks discusses the pain that young LGBTI students, especially, will feel upon seeing these signs.
‘For many LGBTI people, these signs will be a very painful reminder of times when entrenched homophobia and prejudice has manifested in violence, intimidation and ostracism from their communities.
‘We’ve seen a lot less of this in recent years, but many fear the current debate is setting us back in terms of LGBTI acceptance.’
Banks urges everyone to vote yes in the current postal survey for equality and in opposition to groups like these.
An ugly debate
The debate over marriage equality is turning ugly across the country. Tasmania, specifically, has seen several instances in recent days.
Then, a young trans girl was allegedly attacked and choked in public over the debate.
A vote no campaign billboard appeared next to a pizza parlor. Luckily, this particular story has a funny ending.
Regardless, this is one of the latest stories as the country continues its furious debates.
Gay Star News reached out to the university’s Queer Students on Campus group for comment.
Update, 26 September: The Queer Students on Campus group released the following statement:
We at QSOC strongly condemn these homophobic and racist actions. We stand to protect and give a voice to not only the racially and spiritually diverse group of LGBTQIA+ people on campus, but the entire UTAS collective who are impacted by these fascists.
What we can see from these neo-nazi stickers is that there are frightened and misguided people who are willing to hate what they don’t understand. They are scared of progress and equality.
Whether these people are scared of LGBTQIA+ individuals receiving the right to marry the one they love, or international students receiving an education in Tasmania, they are not losing anything. What some people fail to understand is; privilege isn’t a limited resource and equality does not mean one group will go without, or have their rights taken away.
We are a happily coexisting group of diverse people at UTAS, a strong community of people from across the globe gathered to better themselves and the world they live in.
That is something to be proud of.
The queer community at UTAS condemns all forms of prejudice whether it comes from neo-nazis,”alt-right” groups, or government officials and we will continue to do so for as long as there is prejudice on our campus.