Three men yelling kill the fucking poof beat and robbed a 29-year-old gay man on his way home from work in Newtown in the latest of a series of gay hate crimes in the area.
TJ, a 29-year-old Newtown man, told Sydney Star Observer he was walking home from work on Tuesday night last week when he was set upon by three young men.
In a statement to police TJ said he was crossing Erskineville Rd at Wilson St at about 9:45pm on Tuesday 17 September when the incident happened.
I was on my way home to meet my boyfriend and I was bashed, assaulted and robbed by three guys who didn’t like homosexuals, he said later.
The three men yelled, Poofter, come and suck my dick, and kicked and punched him while he was lying injured in Wilson St.
He said he did not speak to the men before the incident, and had not given them any reason to think he was gay.
I think they just made the assumption [that I was gay] because it was in Newtown, he said.
TJ lost $200, a pair of sunglasses and a mobile phone battery in the attack, and was left with cuts, bruises and shock.
He said he had never heard of incidents around Erskineville Rd before the incident -“ if he had, he would not have left King St. He told the Star he had since heard of several similar attacks on people, particularly in the Erskineville Rd stretch between King St and the Imperial Hotel.
Everyone knows when people leave the Newtown Hotel on a Friday or Saturday night you’re heading down to the Imperial. The whole point of why I’m doing this is I think the gay and lesbian community needs to know, he said.
This is very much a gay issue -“ they were so full of hate. I can still hear what they were saying, -˜Let’s kill all of the poofters in Newtown,’ you know.
TJ was treated in hospital later that night for his injuries, and reported the crime the following week.
While he was nervous about reporting the crime, he said the Newtown Police were amazing -“ a senior officer sat with him while he was waiting and he was offered a lift home.
Brad Gray from the Anti-Violence Project said the walk along Erskineville Rd from the Imperial Hotel to King St was well known as a dangerous stretch.
It’s quite dark and fairly isolated, he said.
Most of the reports that we have got are people coming out of the Imperial. We really want people to be aware of this and walk in groups up to King St if possible, even if it means waiting for someone else that is walking up there. It’s also really important that people report these sorts of crimes.
Gray said he was gathering information and would discuss the situation with Newtown Police.
Senior Constable Nic Twentyman, one of Newtown Police’s gay and lesbian liaison officers, said the police were aware of recent gay hate incidents in the area.
Constable Twentyman told the Star that police were looking at TJ’s assault as part of an ongoing investigation.
She reinforced Gray’s comments about walking alone from venues, especially when under the effect of alcohol.
People really need to walk in groups. They’re always going to say, -˜Well, I’m going home now,’ but they should wait for someone else or get a cab, Constable Twentyman said.
Newtown Police planned to increase patrols in the area, she said.
South Sydney deputy mayor Peter Furness, an openly gay councillor whose ward takes in Erskineville Rd, said he had been aware of problems in the area for years.
When I was 19 and started going to the Newtown people were saying be careful walking down to the Imperial. It’s been a constant concern for people, he said.
But I don’t know if it’s happening now more than it has been in the past.
The area was included in a community safety audit earlier this year and several trees were pruned to increase visibility.
Anyone who has witnessed or been a victim of a gay-hate-related crime in Newtown should contact the police on 9550 8199.