As shocking as it sounds, 88 men may have been hunted down by gangs and killed. Police in New South Wales, Australia are investigating the deaths of these 88 men as anti-gay hate crimes that occurred between 1976 and 2000.
According to Western Sydney University criminologist, Stephen Tomsen, the police investigation may merely be “relabeling crimes rather than doing fresh detective work to solve them”.
In 1988, a promising young American mathematician, Scott Johnson was found dead at the bottom of a cliff. His cloths were found at the top of the cliff. At the time, police concluded that it was a suicide. Now 28 years later, a new inquest has been launched into Johnson’s death.
Australian authorizes now say that gangs of teenagers in Sydney hunted gay men for sport and sometimes forced them off cliffs to their deaths. Former officials and police officers said that hostility towards gays men often lead to perfunctory investigations that often overlooked the possibility of homicide.
Dark Chapter of Sydney History
According to Ted Pickering, New South Wales Police Minister in the late 80’s, “we can now see that predators were attacking gay men” and “they were doing it with almost certain knowledge that the police would not have gone after them”.
Police relations with the LGBT community in Sydney is much different today from what it was a few decades ago. Uniformed police now march in the annual Pride Parade, which last year drew a crowd of over 250 thousand people. The past however was very different.
Up until the 1990’s the police culture towards the LGBT community was hostile. LGBT people were considered antisocial and lowlife types who did disgusting things and should not be surprised if they got injured or even killed stated Justice Michael Kirby, retired High Court Justice. Justice Kirby, who is gay, said there was not the usual enthusiasm to track down the murderers and there was a attitude of complacency and indifference.
Back in Canada
How about all the unsolved murders of gay men and members of the LGBT community here in Canada. The untold stories of transgender people missing and murdered. LGBT lives may have improved over the past few years, but there is this dark gloomy past that may never be fully resolved or investigated.
Rick was one such unfortunate guy who was murdered in the 80’s in Winnipeg ( originally from Calgary). He was a friend of mine. He was hit on the back of the head with a blunt object, killing him instantly. No one has been charged in his murder. How about the straight guy who was walking his dog behind a curling club, in a city park with walking and cycling lanes. He was murdered because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is a long history of hate crimes not being fully investigated right here at home and we should never overlook that fact.