A trans teenager in Melbourne has reportedly been assaulted on a train by an older man wearing a ‘vote no’ badge.
Sebastian Taylor, 13, was travelling home from school on the Lilydale line when the alleged attack occurred on Wednesday afternoon.
“I was just minding my own business.”
Sebastian said the man yelled and threw a water bottle at him.
“I ignored him, and when I got off the train… he looked me straight in the eye and went ‘oink oink’ at me,” he said.
“I felt like he was trying to rile me up and belittle me. I didn’t feel afraid but I did feel uncomfortable.”
Sebastian said he thought the incident may have been because he is trans.
“I feel like I don’t ‘pass’ well… I don’t look particularly like a male,” he said.
He managed to use his phone to snap a photo of the alleged assailant.
Sebastian’s mother Anna helped him report the incident to railway staff and police.
“My older daughter called me and said Seb had rung, very upset, and needed to be picked up from the railway station,” she said.
“When I got there he was in tears.”
She said Camberwell train station staff were “absolutely lovely” and police very supportive when Sebastian reported the incident.
The alleged assault is the only violence Sebastian has experienced as a young trans person, with Anna describing his school as “great and so supportive” and their inner-east neighbourhood as “safe and boring”.
Anna blames the campaign against marriage equality for recent violence against LGBTI people, especially young trans people.
“The no campaign has been played out over the bodies of trans children,” she said.
“They’ve chosen a particular vulnerable population and targeted it.”
Anna said she was particularly upset that a grown man had attacked a child, while other commuters didn’t intervene.
“He’s someone who’s very obviously a school kid,” she said.
“He had his school sports shirt on. There’s no way this person did not know that this was a child.”
Police have confirmed they are investigating the incident.
“Investigators have been told the incident occurred between 3:30 and 4 pm on the Lilydale line,” said a police spokesperson.
“The teenager, a 13-year-old from Camberwell, was not injured.”
Police are asking anyone who witnessed the incident to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online.