I have to admit I love an opening, and by the sea of faces at the launch of the Oxford St Safe Place last Friday night, so do many others in the gay and lesbian community.
After many hours/ weeks/ months of work by the City of Sydney, Anti-Violence Project and ACON, finally the Safe Place at 60 Oxford St was open for business last Friday night. With a mix of political representatives, local residents, ACON workers, volunteers, Lord Mayor Clover Moore and police, there was a positive buzz that filled the room.
Though I have to agree with ACON president Adrian Lovney, this is just a Band Aid and in a perfect world this Safe Place wouldn’t be there. But we all have to face it, it’s not a perfect world, and this service has been received with open arms.
But is this enough? With the launch fresh in everyone’s minds, I received a text message from a friend whose flatmate was beaten by two people as they walked up Albion St. He was thrown to the ground, all possessions stolen and left to stagger to the hospital bruised and bleeding.
Are these baby steps enough? A little birdie whispered in my ear that Surry Hills police station has guaranteed five more beat police for Friday and Saturday nights on Oxford St. I have to admit there has been an increase in police presence on and around Oxford St. They don’t smile, but they are there.
So, the police are there – why then are there still reports of people being bashed?
With these wheels in motion it is important that we also come to the party and be proactive in our actions.
If you are a witness to any violence or gay/ lesbian hate crime you are now able to SMS the details to 0416 905 105, the Anti-Violence Project, and follow up on all reports. While you have your phones out, this suggestion was made in a letter to the editor recently, which I thought was fabulous.
Most of us have a video on our phones. If you see anything, hit record – after calling 000 of course. Bringing out the Steven Spielberg may benefit someone in need.
Protecting ourselves and being smarter will only help ensure that nothing happens, but if you are after a little more reassurance then the City of Sydney, ACON, the Anti-Violence Project and Fight Like a Girl have organised many self-defence classes in a suburb close to you.
You won’t come out the other end as a Bruce Lee fighting machine, but you may learn the skills to get away from a scary situation without getting hurt. For more information or to register, contact [email protected]
It would be crazy to expect results straight away, but with careful planning and the amazing constant community support I have witnessed, hopefully it will not be too long before we reach our goals.
I have to mention all the volunteers who are manning the Oxford St Safe Place. Thank you for your dedication to our community.

© Star Observer 2022 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.