If I had known that writing a wee article a couple of weeks ago would have got me so much attention, I would have pulled my finger out ages ago.
I am referring to my high horse gallop re making Oxford Street gayer. Since being picked up by The Sydney Morning Herald (yes, DIVA committee, the community media do have an effect on everyone, including worldwide newspapers), I have been swamped by stories and well-wishers from almost everywhere.
The problem is them, darl. Thank you for standing up, I’m told.
Surely it shouldn’t take one screaming little showgirl for people to be made aware of the craziness that is at our doorsteps?
It’s not only members of the community but also organisations who hope to make where we live and party a safer place. Two such organisations are the Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project and the Darlinghurst Business Partnership.
Both have noticed the escalating problem with anti-social behaviour and violence in and around Oxford Street. Both are doing their best to bring back the shine on what was once considered the Golden Mile.
The Anti-Violence Project not only provides counselling for victims of crime but is doing its best to work with local police to try to make the strip a safer place. One thing they are trying to stress is the importance of reporting any incidents.
I was told that, without evidence, police are hesitant to act. If no one is saying what is happening, then why should there be a push for police presence in and around the strip?
The Darlinghurst Business Partnership is making itself heard on this subject as well. They ask, if there is such a shortage of police, why are clubs bombarded with cars full of police making numerous drug busts every night, yet gay boys can be mugged a street away and no one sees?
A few things that the Partnership has either got in the works or successfully put into place are: to get more police on the strip; to get a new car for the Surry Hills police station; to focus on local problems; and also get CCTV coverage of crime spots.
I guess my main concern is that my friends can’t feel safe in the one place where we should be able to feel safe. As the newly appointed DBP Oxford St safety ambassador, I hope to spread the message that we should look after one another, and try to reclaim the Oxford Street we once loved and got excited to visit.
Over Mardi Gras, problems seem to escalate so personal safety should be addressed. Not only do we celebrate a fabulous parade this year, but also major football matches will be held, making hot spots in and around Oxford Street.
I urge everyone to report any problems re safety and violence to the Anti-Violence Project on 9206 2116 -“ all reports will be forwarded to the police.
Once again, look after each other.