Transgender athlete Kirsti Miller has said she plans to sue Liberal candidate Katherine Deves for vilification after Deves allegedly portrayed her as a sexual predator.
Katherine Deves is the Liberal party’s candidate for the Sydney seat of Warringah. During the election campaign, Deves’ numerous offensive comments about transgender rights, transgender athletes and transgender children have caused outrage.
Kirsti Miller, who came out as transgender in 2000 and is a prominent trans rights advocate, has played multiple sports all her life, including football and the pentathlon.
Miller told The Daily Advertiser she discovered Katherine Deves’ comments in recent days within a YouTube video from late December 2021.
Deves was speaking to academic Holly Lawford-Smith in a podcast, and claimed more people would oppose transgender rights if they thought about sharing a public toilet with “the Kirsti Millers of the world”.
“I think if they actually knew, they wouldn’t be on side,” Deves says in the video, according to the Advertiser.
“But because they keep wheeling out these little blonde, blue-eyed, six-year-old boys [sic] going, ‘I’m the trans person that you were told to be afraid of in the toilets.’
“It’s like, well, we’re not talking about that; we’re talking about … the Kirsti Millers of the world.
“If people actually saw what was happening and understood that, the numbers would probably be higher.”
Kirsti Miller plans to sue over ‘disgusting’ comments
Kirsti Miller said Deves’ comments are “disgusting” and described the deeply upsetting remarks as the worst she’d received.
“She has clearly vilified me by naming me as a predator in toilets,” Miller told the Daily Advertiser.
The New South Wales athlete said she’s now working on lodging a vilification complaint to Anti-Discrimination NSW.
She said she wants a personal apology from Deves, and claimed the comments had put her health and safety at risk.
“I have been vilified on football fields in the past, so this has re-triggered everything,” she said.
“This is the worst that I have ever been called, assuming that I am some kind of sexual predator.
“I’m 57 years of age, I’m a grandparent of seven and a parent to three girls. I’m a decorated prison governor. I have never broken the law in my life.
“To now have this politician say that people should fear me, how can I go outside and feel safe?
“How can any transgender person go to any shopping centre or a sports facility and use the toilets?”
Miller (pictured below, top) said she had received legal advice and plans to take action on the basis of transgender vilification under the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act.
Katherine Deves repeats apology for trans comments
A spokesperson for Deves did not comment on any potential legal action against the Liberal candidate.
They referred to a previous apology Deves issued last week regarding her previous comments.
“In my dedication to fighting for the rights of women and girls, my language has on occasion been unacceptable,” Deves said at the time.
“It has hurt people, and detracted from my arguments. I apologise for such language and the hurt that I have caused.
“I commit to continuing the fight for the safety of girls and women in a respectful way.”
Senior Liberals want party to disendorse Deves
Prime Minister Scott Morrison preselected Katherine Deves for the seat of Warringah.
In recent weeks Morrison has repeatedly defended her and brushed off calls from within his own party to dump her ahead of the May 21 election.
On Monday evening, Deves dug in and declared she is “not going anywhere”. She said her critics had “bullied [her] in the most vile way” and she’d received death threats.
But senior Liberals have publicly called for the party to dump Deves. Among them are New South Wales state treasurer Matt Kean.
On Tuesday Kean said Deves was unfit for office and the Liberal party should disendorse her.
Kean said her past comments on trans people were “outright bigotry” and “absolutely disgraceful”.
“We live in a cosmopolitan, multicultural society where people are free to be themselves. That’s a fundamental tenant of liberalism,” he said.
“This is not a one-off drunken Twitter rant. This is not a a statement she made at university 30 years ago.
“It is a series of persistent positions held over a long period and in recent times.”
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