The following is a statement from Nicolas Parkhill, CEO of NSW LGBTQ health organisation, ACON, on the violent incident in Belfield on 21 March:
“In the strongest possible terms, we condemn the violence that was directed at our communities in Belfield in Sydney’s southwest last night.
“These acts of hate and violence have caused significant harm not only to those participating in the demonstration but they also ripple through our communities and create ongoing fear and apprehension. What we saw was shocking, distressing and vile.
“Violence directed at our communities is nothing new – we have been here before. But now we are seeing this play out in more brazen and elevated ways for trans and gender diverse communities, not just here in Australia but also around the world.
“We cannot take for granted the hard-fought gains that have been made for LGBTQ Australians and these events are an example of why strong political leadership is crucial for our communities.
“Our lives are not to be politicised. Our communities deserve dignity, respect and a society free of hate and violence.
“Demand for our counselling and support services, particularly for those who have experienced violence, has increased over the past few weeks. ACON is here for support to those needing help.
“Anyone in our communities who needs assistance or experiencing distress