A British anti-transgender activist is planning a visit to Aotearoa, sparking concerns amongst Rainbow communities who say she has a "track record of hateful speech and the incitement of violence".
An open letter to Immigration Minister Michael Wood by the Rainbow Greens called for the ban of entry of Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, also known as Posie Parker, who planned to visit Wellington 26 March and Auckland on 25 March.
It called for the denial of any visa application or revocation or any previously granted visa for the founder of the group Standing for Women, arguing she posed "significant risk and threat to public order and the public interest".
In particular, they had concerns for the safety of Aotearoa's takatāpui, transgender and gender diverse communities.
It comes as reports of an off-duty bouncer punching a transgender woman outside Wellington bar El Barrio came into light as Wellington Pride Festival kicked off this month.
Gender Minorities Aotearoa organiser Ahi Wi-Hongi said violence towards gender diverse communities was not new but came in "ebbs and flows", usually coinciding with what was happening in the US and UK.
The UK government, under its Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, has blocked legislation passed by the Scottish parliament to introduce self-identification and reportedly planned to revise the 2010 Equality Act to "make it clear that sex means biological sex rather than gender".
Meanwhile, in the US, Republican state lawmakers have pushed to grow a "wave of anti-transgender bills" over recent years, the New York Times reported.
"It's not that [violence] is on a steady rise, we've seen a lot of horrible stuff over the past decade... It peaks whenever it's politically useful for the people who don't want us to have human rights," Wi-Hongi said.
They were aware of Keen-Minshull's tour and described anti-trans campaigners as "just another conspiracy group".
"There are so many conspiracy groups with ridiculous ideas and it's not always worth the time and effort involved in trying to directly address the conspiracy theories," they said.
Instead, they said it was important to have correct and accurate information available to counter the "ridiculous, conspiracy, disinformation".
The open letter gave examples of Keen-Minshull's "track record of hateful speech and the incitement of violence" towards people in the transgender and gender diverse community, associating with far-right and white nationalist groups, as well as stating that trans men should be sterilised and suggesting transgender people should be "annihilated" for standing in her way.
It raised concerns her entry would give her a platform to do the same in Aotearoa.
It called for Keen-Minshull's visas to be denied under s16 of the Immigration Act 2009 which could deny entry permission or visa waiver to a person likely to be a threat or risk to public order or to the public interest.
Wi-Hongi said it was encouraging to see allies in the community advocating on behalf of the transgender community because there was still a risk involved in visibly campaigning themselves.
In Aotearoa, 4.4 percent of adults identified as LGBT+, according to Stats NZ. Over 10,000 people aged 18 and over identified as transgender, while 9000 identified as non-binary.
Wellington Pride co-directors Vivian Lyngdoh and Tahlia Aupapa-Martin said they supported the open letter and "staunchly believe there is no room in Aotearoa for individuals who incite violence against our most marginalised".
A spokesperson for Wood said it would be a decision for Immigration New Zealand which would assess her application "on character grounds".
* This story was originally published by Stuff.