For 8 years now I've been living in a unit in a small public housing estate near Melbourne. There are only 23 units allocated to residents over 55, some of whom have experienced homelessness & mental health problems. It is mostly occupied by older women in their late 60s/70s.
3.5 months ago, a new resident was placed who was welcomed by neighbours, at first sight a man in his late 40s. It became clear this person presented as a butch looking man by day, but dressed up as a woman by night. Neighbours were willing to accept this, and gave this person items like a mattress to sleep on, and garden produce to get started.
From day 3, a light show appeared around this person's unit: floodlights, fairy lights, spotlights that stayed on all night, as well as visitors arriving who made loud noise till dawn. It soon dawned on us that a sex worker had set up, thinking it OK to start a prostitution business, with next door neighbours only living meters away and one adjacent unit sharing an inner wall. Visitors also had to walk past neighbours' bedroom windows to get to that house.
My unit is a bit further removed from this unit but I could still hear the noise at night, always after midnight or just before dawn. When close neighbours started asking for peace and quiet, the abuse started. This person started screaming abuse each and every night.
The older women around this person started having nightmares, if they could sleep at all. I have recorded 16 nights of waking up at all night hours to a man's voice screaming rape and death threats, the c...word, and 'I'll kill the lot of you' words, at all of us residents.
It became clear this person was also a drug addict - heroin & ice - which became clear in the acting out, paranoia, and the smashing of windows. Residents started calling the police on numerous occasions, and the public housing office, to make complaints about why they had placed this person here, in what is mostly a lovely and peaceful little oasis where we've been feeling very safe and secure and are supported by a small semi-rural suburb populated by community-minded people. Well, peace no more.
Two housing officers made one visit to assess the situation. They arrived with police protection. They spoke to upset residents, older women, who by then had all hit rock bottom and were in mental crisis. They admitted 'a mistake' had been made, and that this person should not have been placed here. They made a promise to move this resident.
But every night the abuse continued, until further-away neighbours started asking questions. I was stopped in the street frequently by people asking what all the commotion was about. The whole neighbourhood was effected. People reported seeing this person on the train station platform kicking the doors and windows, and throwing rocks at a bus. When saying something about it he would reply, 'I can do what I like'. The police kept coming out 'to talk him down'. One of my neighbours, she's friend of mine in her 70s, lost the plot one day. She hadn't slept for 5 nights by then, and screamed at the police, that if they didn't arrest him and take him away, she was going to kill him. Instead they took her and delivered her to a mental health ward in hospital!
Meanwhile, all calls to the public housing office went unanswered, with housing officers saying they could not act or weren't 'dealing' with it anymore. That the contract of the unit was signed, and it now was a matter between this violent trans-identifying male and us. Police stopped responding too. I was livid and also sleep deprived. We could not even flee because it was the last 2 weeks of severe lockdown! I decided to stand at a distance of his unit to witness what was going on there, and to protect his direct neighbour if necessary. I stood in the dark witnessing this person in a dress with a wig on, throwing metal rods in full force at the neighbour's bedroom window while yelling to rape her!
Then he noticed me standing there in silence. I did not respond to his yelling, just stood there. He cowered inside but kept the door open and pretended to call the police on saying a 'group of males' was threatening him. I knew it wasn't for real. Then I rang the police myself once back in my unit and reported what I'd just witnessed and demanded them to come and arrest him before someone got killed. The woman next door had rang them too. They did not arrive. The next day I rang the housing office and was told that they could not intervene because this person was 'protected by trans advocacy groups'. What? I asked, who is protecting us? We're all older women being abused for 3 months now.
Silence. Then 'keep calling the police'. In short, everyone abandoned us, we were on our own. I held off writing this thread but I can't stay silent any longer. We have now started a campaign of contacting local MP's but even they are hard to get through to. Ombudsman next, but this weekend, now Covid restrictions have lifted, I'm getting out! 3 residents have moved elsewhere until it's safe to return. We will continue to seek a resolution, but no one dares to act. The fear of department workers to evict a trans person runs deep it seems. But who will protect elderly women living in ground floor units with bedroom windows at the front and exposed? And the surrounding neighbourhood? No one! Who is protecting our rights? No One!
I never thought in all my gender critical activism, I would experience this in my personal living space. So I'm reporting it here, publicly, for the record. I don't care who will use it against me. Being trans is no excuse for abuse. I'm living it, with all the people in charge cowering away. This is not okay. I am angry as hell.
[*Moderator's note: I have edited this post to remove some comments which - in my opinion - conflate the behaviour of this particular trans person with trans people in general. I regret that this means I am 'tone policing' a woman's absolutely justified rage about the situation she and other women are in].
#australia #victoria #melbourne #housingestate #housing #communities #violence #prostitution #sexworker #threats #verbalabuse #police #housingofficers #trans #advocacygroups #protectedminorities