Right-wing Australian MP Mark Latham was widely mocked by social media users after he complained about recognition for LGBTQ+ people and declared heterosexuals should get their own flag for "preventing human extinction."
Writing on Twitter, Latham—a member in the New South Wales Legislative Council who several years ago joined the right-wing populist party One Nation (ONP)—exalted straight people for "Keeping our species alive!!"
"We love the gays but it's overdue to recognise the Heteros with our flag, parade, International Day, UN evoys, special footy round and jersey and Welcome to Bed ceremonies."
Latham's message included an image of a man and woman hugging that lauded straight people for "Preventing Human Extinction For The Last Two Million Years."
You can see his tweet below.
Latham's message shows a profound misunderstanding of why LGBTQ+ Pride exists and why it remains vital to ensuring equal access and opportunity to a community that has historically been on the receiving end of discrimination by a heterosexual majority.
LGBTQ+ people around the world continue to experience pervasive discrimination that negatively impacts their lives and often face threats to their physical and psychological well-being simply for being who they are.
While Australia is one of the more accepting countries in the world, Australian political parties remain polarized on LGBTQ+ issues and the hardline government of former Prime Minister Scott Morrison was relatively hostile to LGBTQ+ rights, including proposing "religious discrimination" laws to legalize certain forms of discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.
Latham's message was swiftly mocked by social media users.
Latham has moved further to the right over the course of his political career, with previous stints in the Australian Labor Party (ALP)—before taking a long break from politics—and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) before aligning himself with ONP.
ONP's policies and platform have been much criticized as being racist and xenophobic and have had a significant impact on debates about immigration and multiculturalism in Australia.
ONP founder Pauline Hanson and other ONP politicians have repeatedly come under fire for homophobic diatribes and Latham himself introduced the controversial Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedoms and Equality) Bill 2020, which Equality Australia noted "contains a number of provisions which could adversely affect, among others, LGBTQ+ people, women, divorced and unmarried people, and even people of faith."
Latham has also previously voted against same-sex marriage, endorsing the "no" vote during the 2017 Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, saying that a "yes" vote "will open a can of worms."