Three weeks since we reported on the shocking bashing of Aaron Warneke and Greg Harland, just one mainstream media outlet, the Blacktown Advocate, has picked up the story.
Fairfax, SBS and ABC are all still missing in action. Attacks on foreign students generate headlines and galvanise politicians to act, but apparently, anti-gay hate is a prejudice Australia can live with.
According to a 2007 University of Queensland study, five times as many Australians would not want a gay neighbour as would not one of another race.
And while three out of four Australians are not homophobes, we’re yet to see serious debate on the constant toll of hate crimes directed at this community every year.
Until that occurs, and it’s made unavoidably clear to homophobes they are not enforcing society’s standards (as they so often believe), we will have to keep ourselves safe.
So what can you do to increase your level of safety? Program the numbers for the police commands in which you live, work and play into your mobile — calling direct may get a quicker result than dialling 000.
As tempting as it is to fire back when homophobic slurs are thrown at you, don’t. It gives thugs an excuse to claim you started it.
If in a venue, move away and ask staff to tell security to remove them. If they refuse, finish your night elsewhere and make a complaint the following day. If it happens on the street, keep moving. Find a shop or restaurant and go inside until the person is out of sight.
When walking between venues, find sympathetic-looking people and walk close by them so you look like you’re part of the group. Monitor your surroundings but don’t stare — so many thugs think ‘lookin’ at’ them is provocation for a fight.
If attacked, never hesitate to run. If there’s a safe break in traffic, cross the road or to the centre island and run until you can make an escape. If you can’t do that, bang on doors and shout for someone to call the police.
Keep a whistle with you to attract attention. Carry a flashlight in your bag — if cornered, temporarily disorientate an attacker by shining it in their eyes. If there’s no other option it can also be used as a weapon — breaking an attacker’s wrist, jaw or collarbone may incapacitate them enough for you to get away.
Report any attack to police and write detailed descriptions of your attackers while they are still fresh in your mind. Take photographs of injuries, then do it again when the bruises come up.
If you have concerns, ask to speak to a Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer. If the response is still unsatisfactory, let this paper know.

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