Getting Gay Bashed on Australia’s East Coast
A few hours passed and I met my friends out the front of the club I had recently been kicked out of. I had no idea why I had been ousted, and was expressing as such when, suddenly, a sharp shove in my back caused me to turn around. My eyes fell upon an unfamiliar face: a tall, white male with sweeping black hair. Though not overly muscular, the guy who pushed me, as well as his two friends, were larger than me.
“It’s because you dance like a fucking faggot. Are you fucking gay?”
Being no stranger to this type of question, I couldn’t help but sigh and allow a smile to break onto my face.
“And what difference does it make if I am?”
A crowd began to form; the crew of people we didn’t know grew larger and larger, yelling, spitting, filled with rage. The situation was clearly getting out of hand, so my friends and I started to walk away. As we attempted to calm one another down, the illuminated street toward the train station echoed with a clap: undoubtedly the sound of a fist meeting someone’s face. We turned to see a friend of ours on the floor. All hell broke loose. One mate of mine ended up hospitalised, and a number more sustained injuries. It was a ridiculous response to an out-of-order question.
A few months later, I found myself walking home from my local pub with a bit of a stumble in my step. The streets were empty and quiet, save for the sounds of my inebriated waltz as my shoes scuffed the pavement. I was roughly 200 metres from my house when I noticed that my sorry attempt at walking in a straight line was no longer the only thing I could hear. Tyres crept along the road ominously, so I looked to see what was ghosting me.
A fairly old, red Toyota Corolla was slowly but surely following me home. I turned around and stopped walking to see what would happen. Was it a bunch of kids attempting to spook me, or could things turn ugly? After a few seconds, a window began to wind down. Maybe people looking for directions? I thought. Maybe a friend who can’t quite tell if it’s me?
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but sure enough came the serenade of homophobia. “Do you like sucking dick, you fag?” came a bellow from inside. Throwing my head back in disbelief, I turned and kept walking. I was really not in the mood for this tonight.
As my steps commenced, so did the accelerator in the car.
“Oi – I’m talking to you, you gay cunt!”
Ignoring the heckles, I figured I could make it home where my housemates and I could tell whoever it was to keep moving. Nonetheless, this wasn’t enough for the young man in the car. The vehicle stopped and he stepped out and repeated his initial question. “I said do you like sucking dick you faggot?” With a drawn-out sigh, I replied to the bigoted fool standing before me, “Maybe I do, man, maybe I do.” I was more or less out the front of my house, so put my back to him and walked away.
This must have truly offended the boy. Within seconds, I could hear him racing towards me. I turned just in time for his shoulder to meet my stomach as opposed to my spine. Winded and disorientated, I did my best to avoid the punches of the guy who was so ironically sitting on top of me. I’ve never been much of a fighter.
I’m not gay, but I’ve never said I’m not, unless in response to a genuinely curious person. I’m not entirely sure what gives these strangers I keep encountering an immediate perception of my sexuality, but whatever it is, I’m not changing it. I display indifference, a lack of interest and, most importantly, no reaction to being asked stupid questions by angry, homophobic degenerates.
Whether I’m being maliciously attacked with insults and curse words, or merely asked by a patron in a club, I believe it’s important not to react in a manner that allows warped perceptions of homosexuality to be further stigmatised. Saying, “What? Me?! No fucking way man – I’m not gay,” reinforces the idea that it’s not okay to be. Though the way I handle these situations is stupid, I think it sheds a light onto how terrifying it must be for some people to simply be themselves. Homophobia is constantly rearing its ugly head, and with the $122 million plebiscite still looming over our heads, it’s clearly not going away anytime soon.
Violence is never the answer to any sort of confrontation, and my actions have never been conducted in desire to seek it. This is simply my way of combating stigmatisation. These personal attacks I’ve experienced are an insult to me, friends of mine and my wider community. Stand up for not only what you believe in, but for those who need you to be their ally – without doing so, you too are part of the problem. There’s a long road ahead before true equality is achieved for LGBTIQ+ community, and there will no doubt be shitty red Toyota Corollas ghosting people down it. The haunting clap of fists meeting faces may echo on every corner, but it starts with the actions of every individual to help rid our society of such ridiculous bigotry.
Cover by Jamie Street