Last week a Queensland couple’s battle against their homophobic neighbours ended after six years. This was a landmark victory with the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Tribunal awarding Tim and Shane costs and compensation.

A minor dispute with a n

eighbour had escalated into homophobic slurs, false complaints, vilification and harassment. This resulted in charges of common assault and wilful damage against the couple which were later
thrown out in court.

“Good people helped us — just by listening to our story and putting the message out there that you can’t be a bully and you can’t target someone because they’re different …”

Hate, ignorance, prejudice or fear can motivate incidents which can include intimidation, verbal abuse, assault, property damage, bullying, taunts, threats or vilification. The abuse might be one-off or be constant over many years as many of these examples show.

“The neighbour kicked a panel of my fence in, threatened me and my dog and threw rocks at the house.”

“[He] threatened me, stating that I was a filthy [%#@*] poofter who’s going down — your car will be burnt, you’re [%#@*] dead.”

“For two years we were verbally abused, harassed and intimidated. They shout things like ‘smelly dykes’ and ‘fat old barrels’. At night they bang on the wall behind our bedroom wall. They also target our son.”

“I’ve not left the flat for days. I’m afraid of what will happen when we cross paths. I don’t know who can help. The Housing mob say there’s nothing they can do.”

“We live in constant fear. It is emotionally hard and my family don’t care. The good news is, he was arrested and issued a temporary Apprehended Violence Order.”

“Its transphobia. I feel threatened, intimidated and unsafe in my home. Sometimes I sleep with a knife. I kept a harassment diary. My confidence has gone. I’ve taken weeks off work. Counselling helps but it only goes so far. I’m learning to call the police.”

ACON’s Anti-Violence Project is here to provide information and support. If you or someone you know needs help, call 02 9206 2116 or 1800 063 060, email [email protected] or send us a report of what happened: http://www.acon.org.au/anti-violence/report-to-AVP

We document anti-LGBT incidents and use this information to help change policy and responses to homophobic violence. We also work to change public attitudes that encourage or condone hate-motivated violence: www.thisisoz.com.au

By ROBERT KNAPMAN, Anti-Violence Project

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