LGBTI MEDIA RELEASE
5 August 2014
Gay and lesbian community welcomes 20 year on apology for ‘Tasty Raid’
VGLRL speaks out about today’s “positive partnership” with Victoria Police
The Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (VGLRL) welcomes Victoria Police’s apology for the events that occurred 20 years ago during the ‘Tasty Raid’. As a member of Victoria Police’s newly formed LGBTI Port-folio Reference group, the VGLRL recognises the strong partnership that has been developed between the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities and Victoria Police over the past 20 years.
In the early hours of 7 August 1994, dozens of police officers descended on the Tasty Nightclub at the then Commerce Club on Flinders Lane. Over a seven hour period 463 patrons, mostly members of the gay, lesbian and transgender communities, were detained and inappropriately strip searched. The incident spawned an investigation by the Ombudsman and a successful legal action against the police; it was a significant turning point in public awareness and scrutiny of police conduct.
VGLRL life member and gay rights advocate Jamie Gardiner has a long history of working with the police to overcome cultural issues exemplified by the Tasty raid.
“In the immediate aftermath of Tasty, responding to claims that police had conducted the operation by the book, my response in the media at the time was that if that was the case the book should be torn up and rewritten. In the last 10 or 15 years the police have made significant progress on rewriting that book, and the apology today is an appropriate and very welcome book end to this chapter of our history,” said Mr Gardiner.
VGLRL Co-Convener Anna Brown who spoke on the future of the Victoria Police relationship with the LGBTI community in response to the apology from Acting Chief Commissioner Lucinda Nolan on Monday night described the event as “sombre and cathartic”.
“What happened that night should never have happened, and became an unfortunate stain on Victoria’s Police’s reputation. We thank the Chief Commissioner for the apology, which demonstrates Victoria Police’s organisational maturity and builds a strong platform for partnership into the future,” said Ms Brown
The ‘Tasty Raid’ became a major catalyst in the evolution of the relationship between Victoria Police and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities. Over the past 20 years, Victoria Police have developed their gay & lesbian liaison officers (GLLO) program, supported diversity within the ranks of the police force and celebrated LGBTI community events walking in uniform at events such as Pride March.
VGLRL Co-Convenor Corey Irlam described today’s LGBTI community’s relationship with the police as a “positive partnership”.
“Tasty was a turning point. Today, every Victorian police cadet meets a gay person and a transgender person as part of their training and receives dedicated training on LGBTI issues. Non gay or lesbian officers are part of the GLLO program and all GLLOs receive additional training ensuring our community always knows there’s an officer they can trust and talk to,” said Mr Irlam
“Today’s police force understands and respects the LGBTI community in ways we couldn’t have dreamed of 20 years ago,” said Mr Irlam.
The VGLRL also thanked the Acting Chief Commissioner for acknowledging the underreporting of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic incidents and offences committed against the LGBTI community. The VGLRL encourages individuals to report any incident to police and/or anonymously online at http://antiviolence.info/report-violence/.
For more information contact:
Jamie Gardiner, VGLRL life member and gay rights advocate 0412 795 491
To view a copy of the apology presented by the Victorian Police Chief Commissioner go to: http://www.vicpolicenews.com.au/cops-and-bloggers.html
A copy of VGLRL Co-Convenor Anna Brown's speech on can be found here
A copy of Tasty Patron Shaun Millers response to the Victorian Police Commissioner can be found here
Additional comments by patrons of the Tasty Nightclub who were present at the apology, including Sally Gordon, former Deputy Lord Mayor Gary Singer and Tasty Nightclub photographer Mark Whearem can be found here.