A NSW Parliamentary inquiry into at least 88 murders of gay and transgender people over the period 1970 to 2010 will have a significant impact on the LGBTQI+ community for years to come, NSW Upper House MP for the Animal Justice Party Mark Pearson has said.
“The inquiry has not only allowed the family and friends of the victims of these horrific crimes to share their experience with Parliament, it’s given the broader LGBTQI+ community assurance that their history and future matters,” Mr Pearson, a participating member of the inquiry, said.
“In hearing each other’s stories and reflecting on our own, our collective remembering creates a powerful sense of community and understanding,” he added.
One of only a few Australian politicians elected to parliament while openly gay, Mr Pearson said the inquiry triggered memories of his own experiences of homophobic violence.
“I was physically assaulted in a bar in 1978 and while that may no longer be considered acceptable by society on the whole in 2021, we know these hate crimes still occur, and that’s why official proceedings like this inquiry are so important: to validate these experiences and condemn these crimes and injustices,” he said.
“Australian society’s treatment of the LGBTQI+ community has changed a lot in the half century since 1970, but our community is still marginalised, continues to fight for basic rights, and is disproportionately affected by violence, discrimination, mental illness, and unequal healthcare, among other things.”
Mr Pearson’s comments come two weeks after the committee tabled its final report and five recommendations.
The key recommendation has called on the NSW Government to establish a judicial inquiry or other form of expert review to inquire into unsolved cases of suspected gay and transgender hate crime deaths.
The inquiry was initially established in 2018 to inquire into the at least 88 murders of gay and transgender people over the period 1970 to 2010, of which 23 still remain unresolved.
The committee made three findings in the inquiry:
- That victims of gay and transgender hate crime often carry enduring physical, mental and emotional trauma as a result of their experiences.
- That historically the NSW Police Force failed in its responsibility to properly investigate cases of historical gay and transgender hate crime and this has undermined the confidence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGTBIQ) communities in the NSW Police Force and the criminal justice system more broadly.
- That for many victims of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) hate crime and their families, the acknowledgement of past wrongs by those who failed to protect and deliver justice for LGBTIQ people is a necessary and significant step towards healing.
The committee’s final report can be found here.
For other inquiry documents, visit the committee’s website.