Gay Rebellion

19 Jan

Oxford St is the centre of the gay nightlife in Sydney. In the last few years there has been an increase in the incidence of homophobic attacks.

In early December, a gay couple were attacked after leaving the nightclub Arq, which is on Taylor Square. This attack seems to have been the catalyst for a rebellion amongst the gay community in Sydney to “Reclaim the right… to be who you are”.

Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of straight bars and nightclubs on Oxford St. Personally, I have not seen or detected an increase in anti-gay sentiment, but then again, I rarely venture onto Oxford St. This is supposedly reflected in the assault statistics provided by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics, but there is no specific statistics on homophobic assaults.

A street protest is planned for Harmony Park on Australia Day. There has been some concern over the poster used to promote the protest, which some feel have been overtly racist – whereas the intent of the posters were to reflect the images from the Pet Shop Boy’s video “Go West”. These posters have now been removed.

A couple of years ago, there was a series of racially motivated disturbances around Sydney – also occurring close to Australia Day. These were centred around the beach suburb of Cronulla.

A Facebook group has been started, called “Taking Back Oxford St” whose description is:

In the wake of increased violence towards the gay and lesbian community on Oxford St, Sydney, it is time to act to make sure that all gays and lesbians are not only safe, but that hate crimes are not tolerated.

The organisers state:

… there is no discrimination being directed against anyone OTHER than violent thugs who gay-bash … this event must not and will not become a ‘Queer Cronulla’

As of the time of writing the group has 822 members.

I hope that the protest next weekend is peaceful. Violence and aggression of all forms is wrong.


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