Phillip Island resident Mykey O’Halloran has experienced ‘a lot of homophobia’ in his life – throughout school and in public, but never expected that he would face homophobic abuse over the choice of colours for his new home.
“It was really shocking and traumatising and a total invasion of my personal space,” O’Halloran told Star Observer.
“Five men came onto my property around twenty to ten at night and were yelling homophobic slurs and telling me not to paint my house rainbow. One even threatened to come back and kill me if I did paint my house.
The alleged attack led police to later charge a 23-year-old man with making threats to kill and unlawful assault.
Community Rallies Against Homophobia
But from this shocking moment, something truly wonderful emerged. The local community rallied behind O’Halloran, to paint his bungalow on Phillip Island in rainbow colours.
“Yesterday, the Phillip island community came together at my house to show support against bullying and homophobia by painting my house rainbow- as I had already intended to do. People volunteered their time, painters, kids and families jumped on board, the even the police came and picked up a paintbrush.
“People were outraged by what had happened. The incident has bought a lot of awareness to the fact that we need to show more inclusivity and support for the LGBTQI communities, to make everyone feel safe and be themselves.”
O’Halloran, originally from Noosa, moved to Phillip Island on February 12 . The move was a chance for him to be close to the ocean once more. Working as a full-time hairdresser in Melbourne, O’Halloran describes it as his ‘haven away from city life’.
“This has really brought out the people in the community that are supportive and accepting, and it has shown me it’s a minority that holds those homophobic views and small mindedness.”
‘Place Was Filled With Good Vibes’
One local resident who came out to help O’Halloran is proud LGBTQI community and trans elder Sally Conning who lives in South Gippsland. Conning was alerted to what had happened via a post on social media.
“Mid last week, O’Halloran asked if I was coming on Sunday, and I said ‘yes, you bet yah’. I got there yesterday, and the place was filled with such a good vibe.”
“We are doing pretty good down here in South Gippsland, there is good acceptance, but as I said to Mykey yesterday- you are always going to get idiots. Someone said yesterday that Phillip Island is a great little village, but even villages have their local idiots,” said Conning.
“Half of the people there yesterday came down from Melbourne to support him, but a lot of locals showed up too.”
Taking On Bullies
“When something hits the fan, those who really care will be there, but others are just in it to show face but aren’t there for the real important bits.” Conning adds “Yesterday, I knew I had to go, because I wanted to show that there were people in the community down here that really do care.”
In conclusion, O’Halloran asked us to pass on this simple message to those that might read this story, saying that “It’s so important to not allow bullies to manipulate how you live your lives.”
“If anyone can take anything out of this it is to have the courage to be themselves, and not let anyone’s opinion take away from what they want to do with their lives.”