Hotel hosting Christians targeted by ‘Safe Schools’ supporters
Tessa Akerman, The Australian, 10 May 2017
A Melbourne hotel has been caught in the crossfire of debate about the contentious Safe Schools program.
Arrow on Swanston, in Carlton, had agreed to host an Australian Christian Lobby event last night with speakers discussing Safe Schools and gender reassignment.
Before the event, the hotel received harassing phone calls and online threats that called the ACL a hate group and condemned the business for associating with them. The campaign comes after several Christian groups were forced to cancel their reservation at a Sydney hotel last year following threats to their meeting about same-sex marriage. About 30 people blocked the entrance to the hotel last night forcing police to escort attendees through their makeshift cordon.
The protest had started silently armed only with signs but turned into a war of words and accusations of assault.
“Jesus might love you but I don’t,” one protester shouted. “These people want us to die, they can get f..ked,” another said.
Australian Christian Lobby Victorian director Dan Flynn said they were hoping for a peaceful event, but had felt compelled to hire security guards and notify police because of the attention it had received. Mr Flynn said the meeting had been planned for about six weeks and the organisation expected more than 150 people to attend.
The seminar was due to feature the lobby’s director of research Elisabeth Taylor, and University of Western Sydney pediatrician John Whitehall.
The ACL website promoted the evening as Dr Whitehall and Dr Taylor helping the public “understand the consequences of teaching contested gender ideology to our kids”.
Transgender activist Regan Bleechmore said Dr Whitehall had advocated for the “wait and see” approach where treatment was withheld from children with gender dysphoria. “We will be there to remind the ACL: we are not your political football,” she said.
“We are human beings and we will not tolerate hate speech. The LGBTI political agenda wants people of all genders, sexes and sexualities to be fully accepted.”