Protest after transgender musician bashed at Sydney hotel

June 12, 2015
Stephanie McCarthy and supporters rally outside Newtown’s Town Hall Hotel on June 8.

About 300 people gathered outside Newtown’s Town Hall Hotel on June 8 to protest against the bashing of trans-woman Stephanie McCarthy as she was preparing to perform with her band at the hotel.

The crowd were there to stand by McCarthy, condemn the hotel’s actions in not calling police or offering McCarthy support and protest against violence against women and transphobia.

Speakers demanded that the community boycott the hotel until it apologises and offers McCarthy compensation.

McCarthy gave this speech at the protest.

* * *

I want everyone to spread the word about what happened. This is one of the most special places in the country. It is why we love it so much. Diversity in Newtown is what makes it one of the best places in Australia.

I’m one in a long line of people who’ve been assaulted of late. Everyone has been a target — transgender, gay, lesbian — people who look different. I’ve heard of punks getting assaulted, goths getting assaulted — it’s insane. This is not only a woman's issue or a transgender issue or a gay and lesbian issue. This has been happening to all kinds of people. I’ve heard of racist attacks.

There are people who are going out here on a Friday or Saturday night who would never, ever have come to Newtown previously. It’s the lockout laws in the CBD that have caused this and they have been given free rein by these venues to run riot in our area.

The most upsetting part [about the attack] was I knew it was coming. My band Love Maul were supposed to play at the Town Hall Hotel. I noticed there was a group of young men following me around yelling out “faggot”. One of them kept deliberately bumping into me. I warned the security guards but they did nothing.

I went upstairs to find our drummer and as I was walking through the smoking area, my pony tail got yanked really hard and they yelled “faggot” again. Long story short, one of the guys grabbed me by the shirt, pushed me and then I got king hit. The next thing I can remember, my head’s down low and I’m just getting repeatedly punched in the face.
But then they let the guy leave. People who were downstairs have told me he was ushered out by security on to the station concourse and told to leave.

They didn’t even call me an ambulance. I had blood coming out of my eye, my ear, my nose, my mouth. They didn’t care that a performer can be assaulted like that — someone who’s there to make the pub money. They just didn’t care.

Now I've been told that since the “lock outs” the revenues of these venues have gone up 300%. They don't care what happens as long as the money keeps rolling in. Police are doing the best that they can, but this is a government issue. The government needs to sort out these lockouts that are destroying this area.

I want everyone to go home tonight and spread the word that this has got to stop. We control where we spend our money.

[Thanks to Simon Judge for transcribing the speech.]

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