10 Apr 2023

Police urge anyone including the rainbow community to report threats, violence

8:41 am on 10 April 2023
Protestors at the Posie Parker rally in Auckland.

Members of the rainbow community and its supporters protested Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull's visit. Photo: RNZ/ Jordan Dunn

Police are urging anyone including members of the trans or rainbow community who are being threatened to contact them.

Analysts monitoring online extremism say since Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, known as Posie Parker, came to Aotearoa, there has been a marked increase in online hatred directed at the trans community here.

They say the content is now being widely distributed by anti-mandate and anti-government groups.

Police say violence or threatening behaviour towards people because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, faith, disability, and age is not acceptable.

British anti-transgender activist Posie Parker, also known as Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, at a rally in Albert Park in central Auckland on 25 March 2023.

Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull left New Zealand shortly after her speaking event failed in Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Rayssa Almeida

Anyone concerned about specific threats or messages should contact police on 105.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people can also discuss issues with police diversity liaison officers.

Shaneel Lal was a central figure in the protest against the visit by Keen-Minshull.

They were recently named Young New Zealander of the Year for their work for rainbow communities - including the fight to ban conversion therapy.

The spotlight has prompted a backlash. Lal previously told RNZ they have been threatened with violence and feared for their safety at the awards ceremony and the threats prompted extra security at the event.

"A lot of these people who are sending threats could very much act on it," they said.

"One of the threats I got says 'if I see you I'll snap your neck'."

Outpouring of hate spreading in anti-vaccine mandate groups

Disinformation Project researcher Dr Sanjana Hattotuwa previously told RNZ the outpouring of hate towards the trans community triggered by Keen-Minshull visit was beyond anything he has seen.

"They are being hounded, harassed and harmed and hated upon online - to a degree we've never studied before."

Hattotuwa said a major change had been the degree to which the "extraordinarily violent" content has been taken up and distributed by anti-vax and anti-mandate groups.

He said the extremity of the content was more characteristic of far right and neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups, and the fact it was now being taken up by groups that flourished because of Covid measures was "really worrying".

He said the vitriol directed at the trans community could be described as "genocidal".

"Something that we've never seen before is the import of content from Australian neo-Nazi, neo-fascist, anti-Semitic networks and individuals and their personal networks, into Aotearoa New Zealand."

Hattotuwa said there was an "extremely strong correlation" between online hate and the possibility of physical violence.

*This story has been amended. 

The original headline was 'Police urge rainbow community to report threats, violence in wake of Posie Parker visit' and was changed to read 'Police urge anyone including the rainbow community to report threats, violence'.

A sentence in the story which read “Police are urging any members of the trans or rainbow community who are being threatened in the wake of the visit by a British anti-trans activist to contact them” was edited to read “Police are urging anyone including members of the trans or rainbow community who are being threatened to contact them".

  • Spike in online hate toward trans community after Posie Parker visit - researchers
  • Posie Parker departs New Zealand; JK Rowling blasts protest as 'repellent'
  • Photo essay: How the Posie Parker rally unravelled in Auckland
  • Posie Parker rally: Hundreds counter protest at Albert Park