Printed cards and stickers with transphobic messages have been found in public places around Brisbane.
A Melbourne woman this week shared on social media an image of a professionally printed card found in a shopping centre bathroom in Carindale, in Brisbane’s eastern suburbs.
“Do you believe a man is a woman if he says he is?” read the card.
“The QLD government is planning to change the law to allow any man to declare himself a woman. This is known as gender self-ID.”
The fearmongering message goes on to say that “men who say they are women” could do things from joining women’s sport teams and working as rape counsellors for women to being imprisoned in women’s jails if convicted of crimes.
The woman who found the card said that she already felt worried in public spaces as a trans person and was further intimidated by the transphobic message.
A friend who was with her reportedly took the card to centre management, who apologised and promised to have security staff search for and remove any others.
The woman, who is anonymous here for privacy reasons, was forced to lock her Twitter account due to a barrage of abusive messages.
Other social media users called the card “horrific”, “awful”, and “disgusting”.
One person said they do not go into bathrooms on their own for fear of encountering transphobic abuse.
Elsewhere in Brisbane, transphobic stickers with similar messages have been found inside train carriages.
“This experience, and the response on Twitter, definitely popped me out my little bubble that told me this was only visibly happening the UK and US,” the woman told Pink Advocate.
“I definitely feel dramatically less safe after this week, and I feel a little silly for having that feeling only now.
“I guess I’m amazed that my first in-person experience of this kind of negative activism was in Queensland rather than Victoria [where I live].”
Gender self-identification refers to recognising a person’s gender without medical requirements.
Currently in Queensland, to legally change their gender, a person must go expensive, invasive, and often unwanted sterilising surgery.
All other states of Australia except New South Wales, and parts of the rest of the world, have introduced self-identification to eliminate this requirement.
Queensland’s Attorney-General last year promised to introduce legislation to reform birth certificate laws, bringing them into line with more progressive states.
In Tasmania, a report one year after groundbreaking new laws were introduced, allowing the gender recorded on birth certificates to be easily changed, found that the amendment had been beneficial and had none of the feared “unintended consequences”.