Stories of discrimination and violence experienced by LGBTIQ people have been highlighted in a report on the experiences of the rainbow community in Paceville.
The survey, conducted by MGRM, highlighted a number of concerning trends and incidents of abuse harassment and violence and the hand of others while out and about in Paceville
Bouncer break ups
The majority of people surveyed found Paceville to be unsafe and of all incidents reported, around a fifth said that bouncers of bars and clubs were the culprits behind instances of discrimination or abuse, despite supposedly being present to protect patrons of the establishments.
“I was dancing with my boyfriend, we kissed. The bouncer specifically stopped us and threatened to kick us out if we continued,” one respondent wrote.
“Couples around us (heterosexual) were doing the exact same thing. Even when we held hands, he started shouting at us. I have never set foot in that club since.”
Another man said he was thrown out of an establishment for kissing a man, with the bouncer forbidding him from re-entering to retrieve his belongings.
There were several instances were bouncers and bartenders used homophobic slurs, acted aggressively and told LGBTIQ patrons that same-sex signs of affection such as kissing or holding hands “shouldn’t happen” and was “bothering” other patrons, despite ample heterosexual couples doing the same.
“I was roughly separated by bouncers who thought I was dancing too close to another guy (he was straight and we were friends) another time because I kissed a boy they ran to us and shoved us apart. A third time a friend who was leaving the country came to give me a hug and the same thing happened.”
Drugged and raped
One man who came forward with a particularly harrowing story described an experience in which his drink was spiked and woke up injured and with very little memory of what had happened to him the night before.
“I can't drink alcohol and I asked for a bottle of water. I drank a little bit and I left on the table I was. After 5 minutes, I drank a lot and I felt a weird taste. After some minutes, I started to feel weird and I thought someone might have put something in my bottle, but I thought I was paranoid.”
“The next thing I remember was me asking for a taxi, injured and high. When I arrived home, my ass was bleeding. I have intestinal problems, so I thought the drugs could have hurt me. I went to the hospital only because of the anxiety, so they cleaned my blood, they checked my heart and they gave me pills.”
“After some time, I remembered I was in a room with black walls and a man was pulling down my jeans. Without any doubt, I was raped.”
Groped and harassed
A number of lesbians and cisgender women with female partners recounted several occasions where they were sexually harassed and objectified by staff as well as patrons of entertainment establishments.
“Sexual comments were made to myself and my girlfriend as we were dancing. We did not instigate the man. He ridiculed us and sexualised what was meant to be a fun night out,” one woman said.
“My girlfriend at the time and I were severely sexually harassed while flirting with each other and making out at the back of the club,” another woman wrote in.
“Even the bouncers were calling more people and colleagues to come watch us and make a show out of us. I tried to ignore the crowd of men gathering around us to watch but could not anymore when they were starting to touch and grab at us and had to rush out of the club.”
Some trans and non-binary respondents described instances of being refused service and even denied access to some establishments simply because of their gender identity.
“Tried to get into this club, got out my ID card which was just changed to M at the time. I just had started hormones a few weeks back, so I still looked like a female,” one person said.
“The bouncer looked at the ID, then said that I thought he was stupid trying to get in with a fake ID of a man as clearly I am a woman. I then said that I am a man and he gave me back my ID card.
“When I mentioned that I was trans and just changed my ID because it was my friend’s birthday and I wanted to get in, but when I said that he grabbed me from my jaw and pushed me off the 3 stairs there are outside of the establishment. The other bouncers just stood there and people just watched.”