A protest to keep Newtown “weird and safe” after a man was viciously bashed on the weekend is being organised for next Saturday.
Isaac Keatinge, 25, who identifies as queer, was set upon by a group of men as he walked towards King Street last Saturday night.
“I was confronted by some straight men who didn’t appreciate the gorgeous gown or make-up I was wearing,” said Keatinge on Facebook.
“They started insulting the way I was dressed. They asked why I was dressed like a woman, that I must be a faggot.”
He ended up in hospital with 15 stitches to his forehead, and police are investigating whether this was a biased-related attack.
It’s the latest in a string of violent attacks on LGBTI people in Newtown – including the bashing of transgender woman Stephanie McCarthy last year – that lead Reclaim The Streets to organise the protest, fittingly called ‘Keep Newtown Weird‘.
RTS spokesperson James Loch said Newtown locals had noticed the area “turn sour” over the past year.
“These are our friends, our adopted families who are being harassed, bullied, intimidated and beaten,” he said. “We all came to Newtown to avoid that kind of bullshit, but thanks to Casino Mike it has followed us here.”
He also took aim at the Turnbull government’s anti-LGBT stance in helping fuel this type of violence.
“The fact is the Liberal Party stirs up hatred of LGBTI people with policies like bans on same-sex marriage and attacks on anti-bullying programs, and by courting hate groups like the Australian Christian Lobby,” he said, referring to the absolute gutting of the Safe Schools program and Scott Morrison‘s scheduled attendance at the upcoming ACL conference.
“They do this because it gives them the electoral support that allows them to lower taxes on big business and sell public assets to their mates.
“This hate has real world consequences on people we know. We are literally hurting so they can profit.”
The circumstances are dire – LGBTI people already have higher rates of mental illness and suicide without a bunch of fuck knuckles bashing them for not fitting into a heteronormative world view – but the protest should be fucking riot.
“This is a giant fuck you to anyone who ever tried to make you fit in,” protest organisers said. “Bring something, wear something, or do something out of the ordinary,” a.k.a. wear whatever the fuck you want.
The ‘Keep Newtown Weird’ protest meets at 3pm in Victoria Park next Saturday 23rd, and heads down King Street shortly after.
Photo: Facebook / Isaaz Keatinge.