COMMUNITY concerns over LGBTI safety in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley has once again heightened following incidents involving alleged homophobic violence in recent weeks.

The inner-Brisbane district is home to four LGBTI-friendly venues and there have been two reported cases within three weeks of alleged physical abuse spurred by homophobia in the area, with the most recent victim filing a statement to police last week after an attack on McLachlan St.

A popular Brisbane drag performer was punched in the face during an incident in front of the Brunswick Street Mall McDonalds last year that left the performer with injuries to his lip and mouth.

The most recent report involving scene identity DJ Fradge left him with hearing difficulties, lacerated elbows, and a bruised jaw and face after receiving kicks to his head.

The blows also shattered a tooth and Fradge required MRIs to ensure no further damage was done after suffering a concussion from the alleged attack.

The Star Observer understands there are unofficial confirmations of an increase in homophobic incidents in the Valley that were going unreported despite the presence of LGBTI liaison officers within Queensland Police.

Prevalent community concerns — such as the issue of reporting anti-gay abuse being prevented by shame felt by victims, embarrassment of police involvement or concerns over being ‘outed’ if police reports list attacks as being related to sexuality — almost prevented Fradge from initially going to police following the alleged attack and filing a police report later.

“I felt so embarrassed and ashamed. I felt like a dirty little boy at school with a secret,” Fradge told the Star Observer.

“Apparently this is a typical reaction… there is a portion of community that feels like they’ve done the wrong thing when they’re attacked.”

Fradge spoke of his desire to get the Brisbane LGBTI community talking about the issue.

“I want to be out and proud about it. If we want to see any real change, more people should be talking about it. We can’t be silent about it anymore.”

Executive Director of the Queensland AIDS Council John Mikelsons agreed: “Violence, in the home or on the street, impacts on our physical and mental health and is never acceptable.

“Unfortunately, too often this violence goes unreported, making it difficult to appreciate the true extent of the problem. I encourage anyone who has experienced violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity to report it to police.”

Brisbane Central state Liberal MP Robert Cavallucci echoed concerns over recent homophobic incidents and indicated he was interested in looking into harm and violence-reduction strategies.

“I would be keen to engage in a dialogue with the LGBTI community about these issues… and urge those involved in attacks to speak to police to better equip them knowledge about attacks.” he told the Star Observer.

The police declined to comment.



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