I know you are all probably sick of hearing me say I am trying to make Oxford St more gay, but I am like a dog with a bone. Yes, I know you older queens are saying, We have been trying for years, and you’re doing a bloody great job, so now it is we younger members of the community who need to pull our fingers out and start making changes.
Since being appointed the safety ambassador for Oxford St, I have been saddened by the number of boys who come over and tell me they have been subjected to physical violence.
Just a couple of Saturday nights ago, two young gay boys were punched to the ground at Taylor Square by a group of men who screamed you’re a faggot and left one of them lying unconscious.
Out celebrating their 21st birthday, these boys should have been having a happy time but what is most upsetting is that security guards were watching from nearby and two on-duty policemen were metres away. Why is this happening? Granted the boys were boozy, but hey, who out there can actually remember their 21st birthday? I can’t. I remember waking up two days later at a friend’s house with a shaved head and only one eyebrow
So when these boys are told by police you’re drunk, I feel this is a bit of a cop-out. Whether I am drunk or not, if I have been punched to the ground because I am gay then I need help and would hope the police would help me.
This is just one story. I am not romancing my readers when I say I hear at least three or four a week -“ boys and their boyfriends being beaten at the bottom of Forbes St by a group of guys, gay boys accosted at ATMs for money, it’s just getting too crazy.
So what are we going to do about it? I honestly have no idea, except the same things I have been saying since the start of the year.
We have to report all violence to police and the Anti-Violence Project (9206 2116) and let them know that it was a gay or lesbian-driven attack. This is the most important point -“ if the authorities don’t know this is happening, how can they act on it?
I have been saying I want more holding hands and kissing on Oxford St, which I admit is working fabulously. I’m grabbing any gay boy’s hand I can get, and even a few butch lesbians have walked me from club to club. It’s crazy that a place where we felt so comfortable is forcing us once again to fall into the shadows.
However, if it is a choice between dropping your hands or putting yourself in an unsafe situation, my advice is to drop your hands and get out of there. Your safety is the most important thing. One day our rights will come, but being beaten to the ground will scar you for life.