Nightlife » Bars

Australian Gay Club Vandalized With Homophobic Slurs

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Friday Sep 13, 2013

A popular gay nightclub in Sydney, Australia, was vandalized with anti-gay graffiti in broad daylight today, Sydney's Star Observer reports.

After being opened for three decades, Sydney's Midnight Shift club was vandalized with anti-gay slurs. Footage of the attack was caught on camera and shows the vandal, an unknown man, slowly tagging the hateful graffiti on the front of the nightclub as people walked by the venue.

The licensee of Midnight Shift, Michael D. Bourke, told the Observer he was actually impressed by the vandal's "artistry" but said the incident shows the area the club is located in (Oxford Street) is no longer safe for LGBT people. The newspaper writes that Oxford Street and Midnight Shift "is well-loved for its extravagant drag shows and hosting of LGBTI community functions."

The vandal struck at 11:06 a.m. on Sept. 13 and the footage shows the man using a marker to write and draw several anti-gay phrases and images. Police are currently investigating the incident.

"Men should not engage in homosexual sex with one another!" one graffiti reads. Another phrase the vandal wrote was, "Pussy is delicious!! A gift from God," next to a picture of a penis with the words, "An ugly, ugly dick."

Bourke told the Observer that staff and customers of the club have been victims of anti-gay verbal abuse in the past but this was the first attack against Midnight Shift.

"It's the one venue on Oxford Street that has such a solid history on the strip, and if people want to go down the religious track I think it's a bit sacrilegious to do this to The Midnight Shift," Bourke told the paper. "I think at the end of the day it just proves that we are not on a safe strip as everyone sometimes thinks we are. There are still people like this out there and homophobia still exists. Perhaps people don't expect to see it in the heart of Sydney."

Still, Bourke is able to find some humor in the incident.

"I've looked at the footage and he was just calmly going about his business. For people walking past it may have looked like something the bar was paying for," he told the Observer. "It was actually quite creative. It only took him about six minutes to do it. It wasn't just scrawl, there was a kind of artistic merit to it. He didn't use a permanent marker, so it was quite easy to remove."

Bourke added that he has no idea who may have plastered the club with the anti-gay graffiti.

"It didn't make a whole lot of sense. There was a reference to God and how men sleeping with men was not a good option ... Sometimes I tend to agree," Bourke said. "It's not going to change the rest of my day. Looking at the footage, he didn't look unkempt or obviously homeless. From the style of his work, I'd say he is an artist of some sort. I suspect you will see it again, and I suspect you may see it again on our window."

The graffiti has been removed and the club will continue to hold events as scheduled.


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