Outspoken Liberal candidate Katherine Deves has a gay brother who partied in a hot pink bikini and a blonde wig.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal pictures of Jonathan Deves, 41, dressing up in drag for Sydney‘s Mardi Gras in 2010, camping it up at parties before and after the parade.
Her own brother’s cross-dressing episode appears at odds with Ms Deves’ regular online attacks on the transgender and queer movements – the candidate once tweeted that the Gay Pride flag ‘triggered’ her.
Now close friends say her emphatic views on transgender issues has caused a divide between the brother and sister, with one insisting: ‘He does not share her views. He is not transphobic.’
Jonathan Deves, brother of controversial anti-trans Liberal candidate Katherine Deves, is a gay man who partied in a pink bikini and a blonde wig through the streets of Sydney
Jonathan Deves was part of a large group of friends who made no secret of their sexuality and embraced Sydney’s gay scene, with Katherine Deves occasionally seen out with them
Jonathan Deves partied in drag for Mardi Gras 2010 and proudly paraded in the hot pink bikini, camping it up for pictures with friends
The controversy over Ms Deves’s views – discovered in old social media posts – has prompted some Liberals to call for her to be dis-endorsed as a candidate for ex-PM Tony Abbott’s former seat of Warringah on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
However she has also attracted strong support from the conservative wing of the party, plus former PMs John Howard and Mr Abbott, as well as Prime Minister Scott Morrison himself.
The recently qualified lawyer was handpicked by Mr Morrison to fight to regain the beachside seat for the Liberals after it was won by independent Zali Steggall in 2019.
Her resurfaced tweets – posted right up until she was named a Liberal candidate in April – called for a ban on the participation of transgender competitors in women’s sport and more broadly criticised some trans activists and supporters.
She claimed half of all men with trans identities were sex offenders, and that what she called ‘transvestism’ was common among ‘sexual predators and even serial killers’.
The mother-of-three also called transgender children who had undergone sex re-assignment operations as ‘surgically mutilated’ and branded activists ‘groomer gender zealots’ and the ‘Rainbow Reich’.
Ms Deves said the Gay Pride flag ‘triggered’ her and said speaking out about the issue was akin to being part of the French Resistance that opposed German occupation during WWII.
Daily Mail Australia tried to approach Ms Deves, but she ducked questions in an ugly confrontation which saw a bodyguard drive his ute in the direction of waiting press and the police called.
When the Mail attempted to ask a question about Ms Deves’ brother in drag to her partner, David Morgan, he told Daily Mail Australia: ‘I’d rather look at that dog s*** there.’
Deves with her partner David Morgan and family in an election publicity photo
Friends said Jonathan Deves was a supporter of the queer and trans community
Mr Deves was a central figure among a group of gay friends in Sydney around a decade ago, and now lives in the US where he works at a New York advertising agency.
Friends in Australia remember him as a strong supporter of gay and trans rights in the LGBTQI community.
‘He does not share her views,’ one close mate from the time told Daily Mail Australia.
‘He is not transphobic. Jonathan is a very kind person across the trans and queer community.
‘Transphobia doesn’t have a place in the politics or values of any country.’
Gender warrior Liberal Katherine Deves said half of all trans men are sex offenders and the transvestite men were commonly sexual predators and even serial killers
Mr Deves refused to comment when approached by the Daily Mail outside his townhouse in Chelsea, New York.
Dressed in jogging shorts and wearing a black mask, he ran off when a reporter approached, ignoring questions about his sister’s controversial comments and his own background.
A male friend in the building told Daily Mail Australia that he and Mr Deves were both aware of his sister’s comments on transgender people, and ‘disapproved’ of them.
Mr Deves and his sister lived together in a home on Sydney’s lower north shore – owned by their wealthy Central Coast-based parents – when he returned to Australia from overseas in 2008.
Jonathan Deves now lives in the US where he works at a New York ad agency
The former private schoolboy at Sydney’s St Ignatius College Riverview had previously enjoyed stints living in Paris, Berlin and Shanghai.
He was part of a large group of friends who made no secret of their sexuality and embraced Sydney’s gay scene, with Ms Deves occasionally seen out with them.
She has recently spoken about attending the Mardi Gras, but insisted that was when it ‘was still a grassroots street parade with a killer party celebrating the progress of gay and lesbian rights.’
In a podcast ‘Calmversations’, Deves revealed she started taking an interest in gender identity and women’s sports in 2015, but didn’t reveal why.
Jonathan Deves and sister Katherine lived together in a lower north shore home owned by their wealthy Central Coast-based parents when he returned to Australia from overseas in 2008
Her brother’s long-term relationship ended in January 2015 and eventually leading him to move to New York in 2017.
‘I guess you could call me a restless person.’ he revealed in an online article in 2019. ‘I’ve moved around a lot in my life.
‘Then in 2008, I went back to Australia and fell in love. It was a very happy time but the relationship ended, leading to a lot of heartbreak and confusion.
‘I remember calling my sister and asking ‘Where do I go?’ I started crying and that was the first time I had cried in front of anyone after the break-up.’
Katherine Deves faced calls to quit the election race for Warringah after a series of deleted tweets resurfaced with outspoken views, which compared activists to Nazi sympathisers
Katherine Deves has now accepted an offer to visit the Sydney Jewish Museum following the comments she made comparing her anti-transgender lobbying to opponents of the Holocaust
Ms Deves insisted to 2GB’s Ben Fordham on April 29 that she was not transphobic or anti-trans, but has apologised for her comments and the way she phrased them.
‘I believe this is very much an issue of equality and fairness and I have received messages of support from all over Australia,’ she told him.
‘Australians are very much on side with my position. All I ever wanted was for this debate to be held in the public domain.
‘This argument is about women and girls.’
Ms Deves did not respond to requests for comment from Daily Mail Australia, and used a bodyguard to dodge questions at her three-bedroom home on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
She has said her partner and children had been forced to leave the city after she received threats, although they were all at the family home on Tuesday.
Ms Deves faces an uphill battle to reclaim Warringah for the Liberals, with the former blue-ribbon seat held by Ms Steggall with a margin of more than seven per cent.
Ms Steggall is $1.05 favourite to retain the seat while Ms Deves is at $8.50, according to the most recent Sportsbet odds.
Ms Deves’ campaign is marked by an almost total lack of signs, posters, billboards or corflutes in support of the candidate in the constituency, amid claims local Liberal activists had refused to back her.
The electoral seat stretches from Dee Why and Manly on the coast to Cremorne and Neutral Bay on the lower north shore, but the only support seen was two posters in an abandoned pizza shop in Mosman.
Ms Deves last week accepted an offer to visit the Sydney Jewish Museum following the comments she made likening support for transgender movement to acquiescence of the German public to the Holocaust.
Ms Deves accepted an invitation from NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark and Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Peter Wertheim to visit the museum.
‘I appreciate your kind offer to visit the Sydney Jewish Museum, to learn more about the tragedy of Holocaust and its aftermath,’ she said in an email.
Ms Deves will meet a survivor and tour the exhibits before the May 21 election.
Mr Bark and Mr Wertheim said they were pleased Ms Deves listened to their concerns and had agreed to visit the museum to learn more about the ‘uniquely abhorrent’ actions of the Nazis during World War II.
‘We hope the visit will be a turning point for Ms Deves, that she will realise how insensitive and inappropriate her analogies were, and that she refrains from making such hurtful comparisons in the future.’
The visit comes after Ms Deves’ campaign team lodged a police complaint about a death threat against her, which was later revealed to be made in August 2021.
Katherine Deves’s campaign team lodged a complaint about death threats made against her
A police task force has been set up to ensure politicians’ and candidates’ safety and freedom from harassment which has received and assessed a total of 35 complaints.
Operation Wilmot was launched at the start of the election campaign, which is in its third week, involving a team of Australian Federal Police officers and specialists.
An AFP spokesman said there were 15 ongoing investigations from the 35 complaints received
So far, one charge has been laid, relating to a man who allegedly threatened to assault an officer in Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s security detail.
Pedro De Pakas, 52, of Ebor, appeared in Tamworth Local Court on Tuesday charged with threatening serious harm to a commonwealth law officer.
He has been remanded in custody and did not enter a plea.
What are the comments Katherine Deves has made that have created so much controversy?
Ms Deves co-founded the group Save Women’s Sport which aims to stop transgender women competing alongside biological women.
Since her endorsement by Mr Morrison in the seat of Warringah, a series of tweets she made have been unearthed in which she criticised the transgender movement.
In those tweets she described transgender children who had sex reassignment operations as ‘surgically mutilated and sterilised’, and likened her stance on the issue as being akin to the French Resistance fighters who resisted German occupation during World War II.
The tweets included statements like:
- ‘Surrogacy is reproductive prostitution. It is egregious exploitation of women, both the woman from egg is ‘harvested’ and the pregnant woman who gives birth to the baby.’
- ‘I really can’t find any similarity between vulnerable pre-Lesbian teenage girls seeking refuge from strict sex stereotypes and middle-aged straight men publicly performing a fetish because they’ve watched too much porn.’
Ms Deves condemned surrogacy as a ‘human rights violation’ while blasting a gay politician following the birth of his twins.
Ms Deves, who is a candidate for the key seat of Warringah in the upcoming election, made the comment last year in repsonse to a picture of US politician Pete Buttigieg and his partner Chasten holding their newborns.
Buttigieg is the first openly gay Democratic presidential candidate in the US and is also the first openly gay person to be confirmed to a Cabinet post when he nominated to President Joe Biden’s cabinet as the secretary of transportation.
He shared a photo on September 5, 2021 celebrating the birth of his twin children Penelope Rose and Joseph August.
Ms Deves responded to the post saying: ‘Surrogacy is human rights violation. Women’s bodies are not vehicles for a vanity project.’
Last December, she labelled the process as ‘reproductive prostitution’.
‘It is egregious exploitation of women, both the woman from egg is ‘harvested’ and the pregnant woman who gives birth to the baby,’ she wrote.
In the wake of the controversy, Prime Minister Scott Morrison doubled down in support of his besieged captains pick.
‘She is standing up for women and girls and their access to fair sport in this country,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘I think she will make a great member of Parliament, she has learned in her advocacy in her private life there are better ways to do things to take things forward as a member of Parliament.
‘I believe that is how she will approach the task if she is elected as the member for Warringah, and I don’t think she should be silenced,’ he said.
Ms Deves revealed she has been bombarded with death threats by left-wing activists on social media.
High-profile Liberal moderates Trent Zimmerman and Matt Kean have publicly called on Mr Morrison to disendorse her over fears her views will haemorrhage support in inner-city seats.
‘I don’t think having candidates that want to spruik the politics of division is in the interests of the party or in the interests of those people,’ NSW Treasurer Mr Kean said.