Gay Hate Crime in Newtown

A young man who was bashed in Sydney’s inner-west suburbs last Saturday night (9th april) says he was targeted because he was leaving a party wearing a dress and make-up.

Isaac Keatinge shared a photo of what happened to him on his Facebook page yesterday, shocking hundreds of his friends and contacts who left supportive messages wishing him a speedy recovery.

Keatinge says he was walking alone from a party in Redfern, aiming to reach King Street where he’d get transport home.

“I was confronted by some straight men who didn’t appreciate the gorgeous gown or make up I was wearing,” he says wryly.

“After cruel words, things escalated physically. I was pushed and punched rather severely. At some point I stumbled back towards the party and some people outside saw me when I rounded the corner.

“The whole group was of course upset, but took me immediately to the ED at RPA. The doctors and nurses were amazing and stitched me up, despite the fact my forehead was broken open to my skull. Almost went into Plastic for nerve care but thankfully around my eye area is just some bruising.”

Keatinge tells Same Same there’s been an outpouring of support for him, which has all been “rather overwhelming, but so nice to feel.”

“I made a statement with the police last night, stating that I didn’t think the situation would have occurred if I wasn’t wearing a dress,” he adds.

“They already had a report from coming to the hospital soon after I arrived, and had started looking into it that night.

“It was my first interaction with the police and it was a really positive one. Unfortunately they said there was a lot of these incidents that evening and lately in general.”

What happened to Keatinge is a gentle reminder of how lucky we are to live in a country where gay bashing is rare, he reflects.

“I feel solidarity more then ever with our sisters around the globe who have been much more severely injured, bashed, tortured and killed, due to their gender expression or sexuality. Our people have been prosecuted for the longest time.”

“Please stay safe, even around Newtown,” he advises. “While I don’t ever want people to feel like they can’t express themselves, do stay with others. Safety in numbers.”

NSW Police offer the following safety tips for people out walking at night:

> Stick to major routes and roads. Don’t take short cuts.
> Use footpaths that are well lit and not closed in by bushes or obstacles.
> Stay in groups of people.
> Change direction if you think you are being followed and seek a safe place.

If you are involved in, or witness violence in your local area, you can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page. Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence.