Thalia Black, a 16-year-old trans woman, says she was physically assaulted by a man in Hobart over her identity and perceived support of the Yes campaign in yet another instance of anti-LGBTI violence brought on by the postal survey debate.
The attack occurred in Elizabeth St Mall in Hobart on Friday, only a day after Tony Abbott alleged he was headbutted in the same area of the CBD.
“He came up and started to say really horrible things,” she said. “I just tried to laugh it off because I’ve dealt with this all my life.
“The next thing I know he has his hands around my throat and started squeezing. I was really scared, I don’t feel as safe as I used to,” she said.
Black says the assault has made her fear being trans in public where she had been very open before.
“I’m wondering if I’m going to get be attacked again.”
According to her friend Samuel Mazur, who witnessed the attack, the man said something along the lines of “if you are part of the yes campaign and don’t want to get hurt then fuck off”.
“He just threw both hands around Thalia’s throat and started squeezing and pushing her back,” Mazur said.
“Me and another person rushed up and pushed her away. I was certainly expecting him to start swinging.”
Unlike Abbott, Black reported her assault to police before contacting the media.
Tasmania Police are investigating the incident but have yet to comment on the matter.
Tasmanians United for Marriage Equality spokesperson, Robin Banks, has condemned the attack.
“This alleged act of violence is appalling. Whether you are a former Prime Minister or a teenager, all Australians must be able to feel safe on the streets of our cities.”
“Both sides of the marriage equality debate and our political leaders must speak strongly and clearly in condemning this act of violence.”
“If leaders fail to condemn this alleged attack, which was reportedly motivated by Thalia’s presumed support for the ‘yes’ campaign, they increase the chances of similar attacks on LGBTI people in the future,” Banks said.
EO of Working It Out, Susan Ditter, also spoke out against the alleged assault.
“Violence on the basis of someone’s assumed sexual orientation or transgender or intersex status is an horrific reality and harms every one of us.”
“It has no place anywhere. Abuse and assaults are a common experience for transgender, lesbian and gay people and their families, and it has to stop.”
“The Yes campaign has always held deep concerns that this process would be divisive and inflammatory, and those fears have come to pass,” Banks and Ditter said.
“The Yes campaign renews calls for people to show respect during the debate.”