With the postal vote surveys appearing in mail boxes today, and the marriage equality debate still raging on, it is important to remember that the ramifications of this debate can have real-world and violent outcomes.
The LGBTQI community has a history of suffering violence, and it is something that is still a real and valid fear, because it still happens. I know personally it is in the back of my mind when judging things like if I should hold hands with someone in certain areas. And violence to the point of death is still a very real and ongoing thing, especially for the transgender community.
So when I say that the rhetoric espoused by anti-equality activists can lead to real and actual violence, I do not say it lightly. There are a lot of people out there who are filled with hate and fear, and who are being agitated and fired up from all the homophobic things they are reading and seeing.
Today, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd shared a photo that encapsulates what we have all been fearing. It features a man with a bloody gash on his forehead, with Rudd saying that the man is his godson Sean, allegedly punched for standing up for marriage equality. He also has a dig at Malcolm Turnbull for unleashing this sort of behaviour.
So many warnings to Turnbull about what the postal vote cld unleash. Now my godson Sean has been punched standing up for #MarriageEquality pic.twitter.com/6maLZkNmfC
— Office of Kevin Rudd, 26th PM of Australia (@MrKRudd) September 13, 2017
The incident matches one posted on the Bulimba 4 Marriage Equality social media page, which went into more detail about the alleged assault. The group claims that their rainbow flags were being pulled down from a roundabout by a man who was allegedly yelling homophobic slurs.
He looked at Sean, who was waiting at a bus stop and shouted “I hate fucking faggots!” to which Sean replied, “That’s ok, I don’t like you.” The alleged perpetrator then asked if Sean was calling him a homophobe, and when Sean replied in the affirmative, he was physically assaulted.
The Australian has confirmed that Queensland Police took a statement from a 19-year-old who was assaulted while trying to prevent someone from taking down rainbow flags in Bulimba.
Sean seems to have a good sense of humour about it, turning his cut into a ‘V’ for Vote Yes.
What a bloody (literally) legend. Let’s hope this is the only violence this unnecessary campaign will unleash.