An elderly gay couple will sell up and leave their Toowoomba home following homophobic abuse. Bruce Gardiner told the Toowoomba Chronicle that he and husband Derek suffered eight years of abuse, vile comments, rumour spreading and a serious assault.
He said the abuse began immediately following a nearby resident becoming aware of the couple’s sexuality.
Together for 35 years, the elderly gay couple will now sell up and move on.
Bruce Gardiner described the abuse as typical of the abuse and institutional failings inflicted on members of the gay community throughout history.
“I am 71 years of age. Growing up as gay man, for a start it was illegal, you have to pretend you were straight all the time.”
He said suspicion of homosexuality could lead to a bashing. During a career in the construction industry, he either hid his sexuality or risked job loss.
“They won’t sack you for being gay, they sack you for another reason.”
The incidents in Toowoomba culminated in a physical assault on Bruce Gardiner on 9 October 9, 2019.
He said it afterwards police took about two years to charge the man with a serious assault. However, the end result was a mere caution for the man over the incident.
Queensland Police Services’ Assistant Commissioner for the Southern Region, Mike Condon, told the Chronicle he reviewed the officers’ actions. He said although the matter took some time to finalise, “based on the evidence available to the police an adult caution was appropriate in the circumstances.
“The complaint was made more complex on the basis of differing versions of what took place.
“I have a strong view that everyone is equal, to be treated the same and with respect.”
Bruce Gardiner said as an elderly gay couple, he and Derek hoped for better for younger people.
“I am being vocal about this because I am doing it for the young people coming through who don’t have a voice but who will experience similar things – I hope that the next generation gives people a fair go in life.”
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.