Man arrested in relation to transgender teen assault in Hobart

A 32 year old Hobart man has been arrested and charged over the alleged assault of a 16 year old transgender teenager in Hobart.

The 32 year old from the Hobart suburb of Taroona was charged with common assault. Police said he and the victim Thalia Black were not known to each other.

“Any violence in our community is unacceptable. Tasmania is a safe place to live and Tasmania Police takes any incidents of violence seriously,” Tasmania Police said in a statement.

The man was bailed and will appear in Hobart Magistrate Court on 23 October.

Tasmanians United for Marriage Equality spokeswoman, Robin Banks, condemned the alleged violence.

“Both sides of the marriage equality debate and our political leaders must speak strongly and clearly in condemning this act of violence,” Tasmania’s former Anti-Discrimination Commissioner said.

“If leaders fail to condemn this alleged attack, which was reportedly motivated by Thalia’s presumed support for the ‘yes’ campaign, they increase the chances of similar attacks on LGBTI people in the future.”

Susan Ditter, EO of Working It Out, called on the wider community to assist in ensuring the safety of LGBTI people during the marriage debate.

“Violence on the basis of someone’s assumed sexual orientation or transgender or intersex status is an horrific reality and harms every one of us. It has no place anywhere. Abuse and assaults are a common experience for transgender, lesbian and gay people and their families, and it has to stop.”

“We call upon the broader community, regardless of their views on marriage equality, to stand side by side with us to provide LGBTI people with support and safe spaces during what is proving to be a difficult and stressful time,” Ditter and Banks said.

“The Yes campaign has always held deep concerns that this process would be divisive and inflammatory, and those fears have come to pass. The ‘yes’ campaign renews calls for people to show respect during the debate.”

Earlier Report

The teenager told Hobart’s Mercury newspaper that she was assaulted by a man spouting hate speech in the city’s centre.

Sixteen year old Thalia Black told the newspaper that she was was quietly talking to friend in the Elizabeth Street Mall when a man approached her and began making unsavory comments.

“He came up and started to say really horrible things,” the 16-year-old told the Mercury.

“I just tried to laugh it off because I’ve dealt with this all my life.

“The next thing I know he has his hands around my throat and started squeezing.”

The man allegedly told the teenager and her friends that if they were part of the YES campaign for marriage equality they should “f*** off”.

The incident was reportedly witnessed by several people.

Hobart police are investigating the assault, which occurred just 24 hours after former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was allegedly assaulted just a short distance away.

The former Prime Minister was approached by a man who asked to shake his hand, the man then attempted to headbutt Abbott, giving his a “very very slightly swollen lip.”

Following the incident Abbott undertook a series of interviews and media calls highlighting that the man who attacked him was wearing a sticker for the YES campaign for marriage equality.

On Friday afternoon Hobart based DJ Astro ‘Funknukl’ Labe was charged over the incident. Labe has told the media that he has nothing to do with the YES campaign, and a friend a put the campaign sticker on his jacket earlier in the day.

OIP Staff

25-09-17 Update: The content and title of this article we updated to include information about a man being arrested in relation to the alleged assault. 

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