Go west -¦
Growing up in western Sydney wasn’t so bad for me.
The thing that I can remember annoying me most was driving between Penrith and Oxford St. Quite often I would crash at a friend’s place and drive home the next day. You can imagine what I used to look like on a Sunday morning having been out all night (let me tell you it wasn’t pretty).
I remember, one Sunday, I thought I had better re-fuel my mum’s car before giving it back to her, so I stopped at a service station not far from home. There I was dressed in a pair of tight jeans and a skin-tight singlet in a service station on the main street of Penrith when I heard someone yell out “faggot” from their car window. I remember thinking to myself, it’s good to be home …
Times are changing, and over the past few years Western Sydney has become more accepting, with a lot of high-profile lesbian and gay events being supported by local Councils. There are currently more Western Sydney dance nights than ever before. But unfortunately there are still people out there who want to harass patrons while leaving dance nights or while standing out the front. It seems that some things haven’t changed for some people.
There are a few things that you can do to avoid street violence, while still having a good time.
1. Travel in groups while walking on the streets, public transport, even in taxis, if you can.
2. Make sure you or your friends are not completely out of it when it’s time to leave.
3. Plan your trip – know where you are going as you leave – or organise how you are getting home as the night begins.
The Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project runs a report line service, where you can call and report homophobic violence or harassment. They can also assist you with making a report to the police and with possible ways of dealing with what you have been through. It doesn’t matter where homophobic harassment takes place, you should report it.
At many police stations there are Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers (GLLO). If you would like to report something to the police that may be of a sensitive nature, ask to see a GLLO. If one is not available at the time, ask if they can contact you ASAP.
Homophobia doesn’t just happen on Oxford St. Seen it? Heard it? Report it! On 9206 2116 or http://avp.acon.org.au. Don’t let it go unreported.
If you want any information about groups, services, organisations or community events taking place in western Sydney, you can contact Matt Vaughan at ACON on 9206 2000. Matt Vaughan is the Community Development and Liaison Officer for the ACON Western Sydney Community Development Team.
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