Report: Gay and Transgender Prejudice Killings in NSW in the Late 20th Century

ACON, May 2018

Australia has a long history of violence towards people from sexual and gender minorities, stretching from colonisation to the present day. This Report looks at what has been a tragic and shameful episode in Sydney’s history.

ACON, in conjunction with key partners, has undertaken a review of the initial list of 88
homicide cases that occurred during the period t from the 1970s through to the 1990s.

The key findings from this review include:

1. Homicides occurred in three main spaces, with majority of victims being killed in their own homes, followed by beats, and other locations which mostly include gay and other social spaces.

2. In general, there was little or no pre-existing relationship between assailants and their victims.

3. Where killings happened in the victim’s house, the victim was more likely to be known to the assailant, albeit in a minor way, whereas there was generally no existing relationship between the victim and assailant where the killing occurred at the beat or gay social spaces.

4. Generally, spaces where people were murdered were private, secluded or isolated, which meant the assailant was less likely to be interrupted, and this impacted the victim’s ability to call out for help.

5. The scenarios in all the spaces were commonly sexualised, or where people could be disinhibited by the consumption of alcohol and other drugs.

6. Assailants employed a variety of killing methods and, in general, inflicted several forms of violence upon their victims. The type of attack and the weapons used varied according to the location where the killings was carried out, whether in the victim’s home, at a beat or in gay social areas.

7. There is evidence of serial killings by gangs of young men as well as lone assailants.

8. From available information, it appears groups of assailants tended to kill their victims at beats or social spaces whereas individual assailants killed their victims in private residences.

9. There is information to indicate homophobia was likely involved in approximately 50% of listed cases; however the two cases involving transgender women do not appear to have been motivated by transphobia.

10. Of the initial 88 cases on the original list, approximately 30 remain unsolved.

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