Security concerns following Sydney’s recent anti-LGBTQ attack

“Assaults and serious injuries aren’t happening like they used to, and the reports are mostly about homophobic, transphobic and dragphobic abuse incidents,” he said.

Greenwich said police have agreed to increase their presence on Oxford Street on Friday and Saturday nights to give the community a safer feel.

Anthony Cooke, corporate sponsor of the NSW Police Force for communities, confirmed reports of “an increase in crime, threats of violence or intimidation against members of the community, particularly in the Oxford Street area”.

“However, actual reports do not necessarily support this view [that threats are increasing]”I recognize that perception is a concern and there may be underreporting,” he said.

Reports of anti-LGBTQ attacks in Newtown have also sparked a strong response from local authorities.

Inner West Council will vote this month on a motion calling for Pride events to be held year-round at council facilities such as public libraries, swimming pools and community centers – after a similar vote was passed by the City of Sydney last month.

Inner West Greens Councilwoman Liz Atkins also wants the safety of LGBTQ events at community facilities to be discussed at this year’s local government conference.

Atkins said right-wing and “so-called Christian” groups have convened in Newtown several times since Sydney World Pride, while anti-trans materials have been sent to homes in Newtown and Enmore.

“Anecdotally, there has been an increase in transphobic and homophobic behavior on our streets,” Atkins said.

Sydney Greens Deputy Mayor Sylvie Ellsmore said local councils should not close drag story times and other events where disruption is at risk.

“Turning off devices appears to be the number one police response when there is a threat or risk,” she said. “But that’s the outcome that the organized, angry minority wants. The solution is to keep the events going proudly and loudly, and to follow the example of the affected communities on how they want to go about things.”

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Ellsmore said community activities to combat homophobia included LGBTQ-friendly security at events, training for security staff in pubs on how to deal with homophobia and transphobia, and signs and rainbows in public places to show areas are pride-friendly.

Concerns about anti-LGBTQ threats and protests surfaced when Greenwich introduced a bill to the New South Wales Parliament that would ban NSW private schools from discriminating against LGBTQ teachers and students and ban gay conversion practices.

Still, a nationwide summit to improve safety and tackle threats to LGBTQ+ community events has been abandoned in favor of online seminars.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore proposed in June that the summit be held in response to anti-LGBTQ+ protests and violent threats from far-right groups against community events in NSW and Victoria.

The summit was to be held jointly with the AIDS Council of NSW and aimed to raise awareness of the “escalating threats of violence and intimidation against LGBTIQA+ community events,” according to Moore’s proposal, which was accepted by the City of Sydney.

However, the summit was canceled after ACON decided it would not help council staff develop skills to host safe events.

“Online seminars, if funded, will be accessible to all relevant staff and provide more practical application,” said an ACON spokesman.

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Justin Scaccy

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