By Michael Traill
“It made me feel unwelcome, unsafe in my own city, honestly just disgusted and scared to think who this has happened to in Perth before”
A 23-year old Perth student, who wished to be identified only as ‘Joseph’, was attacked by a man while walking to Perth underground with his partner in the early hours of Friday morning. Joseph claims he was attacked simply because he is in a same-sex relationship.
“We were walking, holding hands, going down Pier Street when this big guy on the other side of the road started yelling abuse at us, we ignored it,” said Joseph.
“But then he crossed the street and approached us still yelling about the (SSM) vote, then he grabbed me and started pushing me towards the road trying to get me (in to) oncoming traffic.”
The assailant was described by Joseph as much larger than both him and his partner, visibly drunk and very agitated. They did not intend to report the incident to police.
The couple managed to escape physically unharmed, but now fears that the debate raised by the SSM postal vote has stirred up division in the city and allowed more vocal opposition towards Perth’s gay community.
When the government announced the postal vote in August, it was opposed by those worried about the potential negative effects it may have on the LGBT community.
Addressing Parliament in Canberra in August, Opposition leader Bill Shorten attacked Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saying: “I hold you responsible for every hurtful bit of filth that this debate will unleash”.
While holding a press conference on the issue in August, Malcolm Turnbull said: “There are arguments against it but the weakest argument of all, which I think has no basis, is that the Australian people are not capable of having a respectful discussion on this issue.”
Joseph echoed the concerns voiced by Shorten: “I didn’t consider how the vote might affect us. I’m not particularly active in the (LGBT) community, but after this I completely agree with why people didn’t want it in the first place.
“People think because there is a discussion going on and they have a say, that they can come out in public and have a go at anyone they disagree with. Who I choose to marry and be in love with doesn’t affect anyone but me.”
The Bounce asked WA Police if they were aware of violence related to the equal marriage survey. Police refused to respond.