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Transgender teen in Melbourne attacked by ‘No’ campaigner

Steph Kyriacou October 20, 2017

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A 13-year-old transgender boy was reportedly targeted and harassed on a train by an older man who was wearing a ‘Vote No’ badge.

The student, Sebastian Taylor, was travelling home from school when the alleged attack took place on Wednesday afternoon.

“I noticed [the man] straight away because he had this huge ‘Vote No’ badge,” Sebastian told the Star Observer.

“I was just minding my own business.”

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The man began yelling and threw a water bottle at him, Sebastian said.

“I ignored him, and when I got off the train… he looked me straight in the eye and went ‘oink oink’ at me,” he said.

“I felt like he was trying to rile me up and belittle me. I didn’t feel afraid but I did feel uncomfortable.”

Related: What the hell is going on with same-sex marriage in Australia?

Sebastian said he thought the incident may have been because he is trans.

“I feel like I don’t ‘pass’ well… I don’t look particularly like a male,” he said.

He managed to use his phone to snap a photo of the alleged assailant.

Sebastian’s mother, Anna, helped him report the incident to railway staff and police.

“My older daughter called me and said Seb had rung, very upset, and needed to be picked up from the railway station,” she said.

“When I got there he was in tears.”

She said Camberwell train station staff were “absolutely lovely”, and police were very supportive when Sebastian reported the incident.

The alleged assault is the only violence Sebastian has experienced as a young trans person, with Anna describing his school as “great and so supportive” and their inner-east neighbourhood as “safe and boring”.

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Anna blames the campaign against marriage equality for recent violence against LGBTI people, especially young trans people.

“The No campaign has been played out over the bodies of trans children,” she said.

“They’ve chosen a particular vulnerable population and targeted it.”

Anna said she was particularly upset that a grown man had attacked a child, while other commuters didn’t intervene.

Police have confirmed they are investigating the incident, which took place between 3:30 and 4pm on the Lilydale line

Police are asking anyone who witnessed the incident to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online.

More: anti-trans, anti-trans harassment, Assault, Australia, Australia postal vote, Melbourne, Trans, transphobia

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