On July 9, 60 people took to the streets to condemn the death of Aboriginal trans woman Veronnica Baxter. She was found dead in the Silverwater Metropolitan Reception and Remand Centre — a prison for men — six days after her arrest by Redfern police on minor drugs charges.
The protesters were in Wollongong for Queer Collaborations, a yearly student activist conference supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and gender diverse rights. The July 5-9 conference had 180 participants and the theme “Fighting Queers Need Fighting Unions”.
People in the Wollongong mall responded positively to the loud chants of "Stop black deaths in custody — justice for Veronnica Baxter" and signed two pages of petitions within an hour.
Stef Greenshields, Queer Collaborations conference spokesperson told Green Left Weekly: “The action was good because it showed a huge amount of positive support for this campaign. We will take the campaign onto campuses and won’t stop till we have won justice for Veronnica Baxter.”
The action joined the growing chorus calling for an inquiry into her death. The Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA), Community Action Against Homophobia, Intersex Sex and Gender Association, Still Fierce, Organisation Intersex International (OII), Socialist Alliance and the Greens all support the call for an inquiry.
Queer Collaborations projections include combating homophobia in high schools through a referendum on equal marriage rights; helping the campaign to free Leela Krishna, a gay Tamil refugee detained in Villawood; and continuing to develop dynamic queer collectives in universities. Queer Collaborations 2011 will be held in Perth.
[For more information about the Veronnica Baxter campaign, call Ray 02 9318 0947 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 02 9318 0947 end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 02 9318 0947 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, Stef 0400 253 384, Tracie 0403 398 808, or Sylvia 02 9230 3030.]