Bondi, Gay Hate Crime

Bondi, Gay Hate Crime

Many of Garry's friends disappeared or were killed during dark chapter of Sydney's history

Many of Garry's friends disappeared or were killed during dark chapter of Sydney's history

22/10/2021 9:20:00 AM

Many of Garry's friends disappeared or were killed during dark chapter of Sydney's history

If you were a gay man in Sydney during the 1970s to 1990s, there was a chance you could get beaten up or killed, Garry Wotherspoon says. A memorial to the victims now stands on the eastern suburbs site where many of these acts of violence took place.

Many of Garry Wotherspoon's friends had disappeared, and were presumed dead, during what he called Sydney's most "terrible decades"."It was part of life being a gay man in Sydney at the time, you were aware of the hate crimes … it could've been me, rather than the people I know," Mr Wotherspoon said.

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He lived through the 70s to 90s, a dark chapter of the Harbour City's history where dozens of males were slain in brutal fashion.Mr Wotherspoon, left, says the 70s to 90s were Sydney's most "terrible decades".(ABC News: Harriet Tatham

)Gay men, or people suspected of being gay, were beaten in parks, hurled from cliffs or had vanished from city's streets in cases barely probed by law enforcement."What one might call lust sometimes overcomes common sense, so I did certainly come here but you keep your eyes open," he said.

A memorial called Rise at Marks Park in Tamarama in Sydney's eastern suburbs has been unveiled that acknowledges and honours these victims.The six-level stone terrace, designed by Urban Arts Projects, represents the six bands in the pride flag and reflects the project's guiding principles of remembrance, diversity, inclusion, justice and acceptance, according to Waverley Council.

Among the names engraved on small plaques is popular newsreader Ross Warren who disappeared in 1989 after driving along Oxford Street after a night out with friends.The Rise memorial honours those that were targeted in transphobic or homophobic attacks.

(ABC News: Harriet Tatham)His car keys were found below a cliff in Tamarama, just south of where the memorial stands today. It was a well-known gay beat— a place men met for casual sex — which Warren frequented.Police floated the idea that Warren had staged his own disappearance. It would take over 10 years before authorities linked his suspected murder with many other gay killings.

"The gay newspapers were reporting hate crimes but the wider authorities didn't pay any attention … it was just brushed under the carpet," Mr Wotherspoon said.Ross Warren, a news presenter from Wollongong, was last seen at Darlinghurst in 1989.

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I don't care what anyones sexual preferences it's their business. But do you guys ever do any stories that don't include non heto sex, indigenous, women's, global warming & other left of central issues, yes they are important but so are many many other issues. Your podcast series is devastating listening. Thank you for shining a blazing light on these tragic deaths:

Live near a well known park, remember ofton my mum and family help gay men who been bashed ,still goes on , grew up in 60s to 90s helping them, we kept a kit ready and it was used a lot ,even recently It was needed , no judgement, Sydney’s dirty secret hated exists Those murderers are still walking among us.

😪 Just heart breaking. Porsha4real rickysmiley96 tavissmiley DiamondandSilk icecube RealCandaceO DavidJHarrisJr WhoopiGoldberg w_terrence kerrywashington TMZ sunny brownsugaradio TheSun SnoopDogg Ludacris drdre DonaldTrumpJrA1 tarajiphenson violadavis tylerperry HarveyLevinTMZ Let’s hope justice is served.

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