Birds of a feather: Anti-trans hatefest at Sultan’s hotel

iwd brisbane meanjin anti-trans group royal on the park sultan
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Anti-trans group IWD Brisbane Meanjin will hold a public meeting on November 12 at the Sultan of Brunei’s Brisbane property, the Royal on the Park Hotel.

IWD Brisbane Meanjin

The Brisbane group holds regular small street protests against trans rights. They held one in the Brisbane CBD today. On November 12, they will host a No Self ID in Qld public meeting at the Sultan of Brunei’s Royal on the Park Hotel in Brisbane. They invite attendance and solicit for donations for the event on their Facebook page.

Of course, they couldn’t hold street protests in Brunei. The autocratic sultan does not allow protest.

Death by stoning

But the sultan is best known for introducing laws that include death by stoning for abortions, adultery, and same-sex sexual acts. Brunei classifies sex between a transgender woman and a man as same-sex. Women committing lesbian acts face a potential penalty of forty lashes.

IWD Brisbane Meanjin frequently speculates about what they say could happen to women and girls as a result of trans rights. But — right now in Brunei — men can legally rape their wives. Bruneian law specifies that sexual intercourse by a man with his wife can not be rape. Unless the bride is under 13 years of age.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchs. He succeeded to the throne of Brunei in 1967 following the abdication of his father. Bolkiah wields full executive authority and the country last held elections in 1962.

In April 2014, the Sultan announced the phased introduction of Sharia law. The 21st-century Bruneian penal code includes death by stoning, severing of limbs, and flogging for ‘crimes’ such as abortions, adultery, and same-sex sexual acts.

In 2019, worldwide protests erupted against the laws. Most protests took place near hotels owned by the Sultan. In Brisbane, speakers addressed a rally in the Botanic Gardens opposite the Royal on the Park Hotel after QNews exposed the Sultan’s ownership.

The protests hit one of the world’s wealthiest men where it hurts — his pocket. The Sultan announced a moratorium on the death penalty and public attention moved elsewhere.

However, the moratorium can be lifted at any time.

Why the Royal on the Park?

Does IWD Brisbane Meanjin support death by stoning?

Or is the organisation unaware of Bolkiah’s ownership? Money from their event will directly benefit the Sultan.

Perhaps they were busy painting anti-trans placards or scrawling graffiti in public toilets during the 2019 protests.

Or does their single-minded focus on transgender people as the greatest modern threat to humankind mean they don’t pay attention to other issues? After all, the Sultan of Brunei is not the only tyrant to share their anti-trans agenda. There’s also Putin in Russia, Bolsanaro in Brazil, and Orbán in Hungary among others.

Perhaps they don’t care, or maybe no other premise would rent out a room for an anti-trans hatefest.

Maybe it’s just a case of Birds of a Feather.

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia


  1. Cool Pete
    30 October 2022

    Women protesting against the rights of transwomen is on par with an offensive statement made in The Bulletin, in 1887, that, “No (pejorative word for American of African origin), no (pejorative word for a person from China), could be an Australian.”
    And yes, TERFs are aligning themselves with right-wingers.

  2. Witch
    31 October 2022

    When men don’t like something women say, they call women ‘Bitches’.
    Twas ever thus.

    • 31 October 2022

      Legitimate point about the word bitch. I’ve changed the headline and apologise for using it. I didn’t mean it to reference women as it’s commonly used nowadays to talk about anyone but acknowledge its origin and historical use as a misogynistic slur – it was a terrible choice to use about a group comprised mostly of women.

  3. Kangaroo Jack
    1 November 2022

    I have been able to identify all of the sultan’s medals.

    They were purchased at the $2 shop in Cannon Hill for 80 cents each.

    The sultan has never served his country in time of war.

  4. Edward
    13 November 2022

    I went to this event yesterday after the royal canceled. It was the first IWDBM event I have been to.
    I would describe the crowd as 50% reclaim the night and 50% tuckshop mums. The speakers were women who objected to the impact of the changes of an upcoming law on women and the broader trans movement on women.
    The concerns they raised included the impact of the QLD sex self id laws on women athletes and prisoners and of the broader trans movement on lesbians and the risk of giving transgender medical care to a child who is not trans.
    The thing is, even if they’re wrong about everything, these seem like normal topics that these women should be able to meet to discuss.
    I am therefore concerned at the treatment they received in having the venue cancel on them due to what I understand to be pressure from trans activists.
    If true, this is not the way we should be disagreeing. What’s really weird is I suspect most of the LGBT community would agree with the views of IWDBM on many other things.
    I found myself thinking during it ‘WTAF is going on that these guys are outcasts from the LGBT movement?’. That said, I have only heard one side of the story and it would be good to hear from anybody involved with pressuring the Royal to cancel to know what the motivation was.
    If any such people could share a link etc to whichever the group was that would be great as I would like to hear the other side and I couldn’t get an answer from the above article.

    • 14 November 2022

      I can’t find any evidence of anyone pressuring the Royal to cancel – which doesn’t mean it didn’t happen but if it did, it was very small scale.

      Of course, IWD Brisbane Meanjin have a right to hold meetings. The article is clearly not about stopping people’s right to peaceful assembly and free speech. It is about where they chose to meet.

      The cancellation might be more to do with the awareness of venues owned by the Sultan that any focus on that ownership results in public controversy and lost trade.

      Depriving the Sultan of income has proved an effective way of limiting the impact of his egregious laws on women and queer people in Brunei – I don’t know why anyone would want to put money in his pocket.

      • Edward
        17 November 2022

        Thanks Destiny. My understanding from IWDBM was that it was trans activists who had pressured the Royal to not host IWDBM because they are TERFs, rather than being directed at the Sultan.

        I would be really keen to know the name of the specific group who did pressured the royal as it is very worrying that anybody opposing a government policy has their freedom of association curtailed by vigilantes. I realise this has nothing to do with you destiny but just replying here in the hope they might be reading this and might reply. I discussed this with some Trans activists but they were not involved in this specific campaign so could not help.

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