While the circumstances are tragic and horrible, GLBT people in Wellington should not feel unsafe following the attack and death of a gay man on Saturday.
Gay man Phillip Cottrell, 43, was tragically and savagely attacked early on Saturday morning. On Sunday his life support was turned off.
Some members of the GLBT community, perhaps understandably so, immediately interpreted the hideous event as evidence that Wellington is not safe for GLBT people. This is simply not the case.
One GLBT group is hosting a special meeting to pay tribute to the victim of Saturday’s attack, and to “discuss queer safety in Wellington”. While a tribute is a moving gesture, I hope that the group remains realistic about the situation and doesn’t attempt to whip the community into a terrified fervor.
Wellington Police have moved quickly to dispel any notion that we’re unsafe, releasing a specific media statement to that effect. Detective Senior Sergeant Scott Miller says the attack was unprovoked, random, and vicious. But it was nothing to do with Phillip’s sexuality. “We do not believe Mr Cottrell’s sexual orientation was a factor in his death.”
Phillip Cottrell’s attack was a heinous, disgusting tragedy. Phillip was gay. But the two don’t appear to be related.
Go out, be yourself, and don’t for a minute think about changing who you are or how you act. Wellington is as safe for GLBT people as it was before Saturday’s attack.
- ANDY BOREHAM
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