Police have arrested a 23-year-old man in relation to the bashing of transgender woman Stephanie McCarthy, bassist for Sydney band Love Maul, at Newtown’s The Town Hall Hotel on Friday night, 5th June.
He’s accused of assaulting the 43-year-old as she was waiting to perform with her band at the venue, before pulling her hair and punching her in the face.
The alleged offender has been charged with affray and granted conditional bail, to front Newtown Local Court on Thursday, 9th July.
Tweeting a picture of her bruises and injuries shortly after the attack, McCarthy claimed that the incident was an act of transphobia, committed by a group of men at the hotel who had been following her around all night, trying to intimidate her.
“There was four or five of them following me around, yelling ‘faggot’ at me. One of them kept deliberately bumping into me. I had my ponytail pulled a couple of times,” she reported.
Police investigations into the matter are continuing, with officers urging anyone who might have witnessed the incident, or have information about the incident to contact Crime Stoppers.
The incident has since sparked a massive outcry from the citizens of Newtown, who took to the streets shortly after the incident to voice their support for McCarthy and the trans community, and protest against violence and transphobia.
Many feel that former state premier Barry O’Farrell’s lockout laws are to blame for what locals have dubbed a rise in hate-related attacks in the inner-western Sydney suburb, which has long been celebrated for its welcoming, alternative culture.
Since the controversial legislation was introduced in February 2014, punters from across the CBD and Kings Cross have taken to migrating to Newtown and its surrounding suburbs in a bid to dodge the 1:30am lockouts and 3am last drink restrictions.
“There are people who are going out here on a Friday or Saturday night that would have never, ever come to Newtown previously,” McCarthy claims. “I’m one in a long line of people who’ve been assaulted of late. Everyone has been a target – transgender, gay, lesbian – people who look different. I’ve heard of punks getting assaulted, goths getting assaulted – it’s insane.”
However, speaking at the rally over the weekend, McCarthy also said that she’s been heartened by all of the support.
“From such a horrible incident and such horrible violence, to see this amount of people in our community come up and stand up and say ‘enough’, it’s really really special,” she told Music Feeds.
“This has been a really awful time for me, but to see this gives me strength to know that hopefully we can make this stop. The diversity in Newtown is what makes it so special and to see it slowly getting eroded by the violence which has been brought in here because of the lockouts — We’ve gotta stand up and stop it.”
McCarthy’s band, Love Maul, have also commented on the arrest. Read their statement below and check out our full coverage of the Newtown protest, here.
UPDATE 13/06/15: Police have also now charged a 22-year-old man in relation to the bashing.
Watch: Protest Against Violence And Transphobia Outside Town Hall Hotel, Newtown