Kirralie Smith is an outrage merchant who peddles conspiracy theories about people who are either from non-white or non-straight backgrounds for attention.
With her former endeavour the Q Society having failed to win the street war over the Bendigo Mosque and having raised a failed campaign of canards over halal certification in the mid-2010s (along with her fascist friends the United Patriots Front), she’s now decided to attack the queer community in Canberra.
Kirralie Smith does not live in Canberra. Her kids, if she has any, do not go to school here in Canberra. Yet, her new hate group Binary has decided to intervene in the upcoming ACT election.
For background, the ACT Government recently introduced a bill to ban so-called “conversion therapy”. The government also recently allowed people over the age of 16 to change their name and gender on their birth certificate simply by filing paperwork with Access Canberra. This is apparently an abrogation of parental rights even though the circumstances in which this could be done without parental support would likely be the exception, not the rule.
Kirralie and outrage merchants like her believe that these laws offend religious freedom and “parental rights” even though they do not prohibit religious belief of any kind, don’t remove parental rights in any unprecedented way (think how 16 year olds can marry with a court order), and apply without regard for the religious beliefs (or lack thereof) of the conversion therapist. Smith and her ilk have spread fake news that minors can now change their legally recognised gender without parental consent.
Her group and other outrage merchants have also stated that the definition of conversion “therapy” in the recently introduced bill, legally called “conversion practices”, is so broad as to include the mere religious belief that queer people are unnatural or that only traditional (read: straight) marriage is valid.
As I said at length on behalf of the local Rainbow Labor branch in July, the conversion torture ban that’s going through the ACT Legislative Assembly at the moment does nothing to minimise religious freedom or prohibit even the most queerphobic of religious beliefs. It doesn’t prevent counselling on religious teaching. The actual offence that a person would be charged with under the law requires an actual action done to another person. The definition also uses words like “treatment” which suggests that a conversion practice is done in a systematic manner (not unlike actual therapy), which is the common understanding of the phrase “conversion therapy”.
A judge, who by mere job description has a greater set of reading comprehension skills than Ms Smith and her staff, would be able to make the distinction between passive prayers and doctrinal counselling and active attempts at “conversion” torture.
This brings us to yesterday, when she sent an email (presumably) to all candidates which have been described by Labor activists as blackmail. Non-incumbents Tim Dobson, Jacob Ingram and Georgia Phillips all reported that Ms Smith sent this threatening letter (with attached 2px by 2px gif):
After having annoyed much of Canberra with hateful push-polling last week, Ms Smith’s organisation has decided to run ads calling out people who think that conversion torture will vote against “mums and dads”. A normal, calm (albeit homophobic) person might just post the ads and let the outrage roll in. But a deranged outrage merchant like Ms Smith instead choose to write a ransom letter.
The only vote against “mums and dads” that a candidate would do by supporting the bill is voting against parents who abuse their queer children, heightening their risk of suicide, by sending them to torturing cranks.
Ms Smith doesn’t care about the harm she will do to the community with this fundamentally misleading advertising campaign. She knows it will do harm, because she was a leading figure in the No campaign on same-sex marriage which used much the same tactic of misdirection and dog-whistling about “religious freedom” being used here. She’s already caused enough trauma with her previous greatest hits. When I say trauma, I do mean trauma.
We don’t need another campaign like it and we don’t need some fascist platforming homophobe from Melbourne telling our lawmakers what to do, based on conspiracy theories she made up.
I’m currently the convenor of Rainbow Labor ACT. Come join us over on Facebook.