Rights & Issues
Many issues affect the members of the queer
community. Because we are
discriminated against, we have a strong affinity for other groups in society who
suffer similar discrimination, namely indigenous people (especially queer
indigenous people), old people in general and all minority groups who are
outside the main Anglo Celtic majority of our population.
We must also continue to fight for our hard won rights in
the Australian community and ensure that the conservative elements in society do
not try to erode these rights which have been won at such high cost.
Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
A guide to gay behavior in public places
and interaction with the NSW Police
by the Paddington Police Gay & Lesbian
Homosexuality in NSW is legal but any sort of sex in a
public place or behaviour that would cause
serious alarm is an offence. However, there is nothing illegal about
being in a public park, car park or other area to try to meet another
person. Please remember that even this
activity is frowned upon by mainstream society so perhaps you should consider
being a bit discreet!!! Police often
patrol such areas for a number of reasons from maintaining the peace, to
protecting you from bashers, to drug related searches.
If you are approached by a police officer you are required
to give your name and address. You may volunteer other information if requested
but are not obliged to do so. The police will not disclose this information.
You should be treated with respect by the police officer and, in turn, treat
the officer with respect (what's the point in causing a drama!). If questioned
as to "What are you doing here?" the truth (ie. "Hoping to meet someone") is
Police have no power to detain a person unless he/she has been
lawfully arrested. However, police do have the power to stop, search and detain
any person reasonably suspected of having anything in his/her
possession whichis stolen, unlawfully obtained or intended for use in
committing an indictable offence (and remember possessing drugs is an offence).
Going To The Police Station
Police can ask a person to go to a police station for
questioning provided it is made clear that they need go only if they so wish.
Police can require a person to accompany them to the police station if they are
You can be arrested without warrant if you are caught
committing an offence, you are caught immediately after committing an offence,
or you are suspected with reasonable cause of having committed an offence. The
police can use reasonable force to arrest and detain you, so it's best to
cooperate. If you are arrested, you should ask "Am I
under arrest?" and "What an I being charged with?".
To be lawfully arrested, you should be informed that you are
under arrest, may be touched/physically restrained by the police officer, may
indicate your submission to arrest by going with the police officer, may
indicate your submission to arrest by staying where you are told to by the
police. You should be informed of the reason for arrest if you do not know why
you are being arrested.
If arrested, do not
resist. It is best to cooperate with police where there is nothing to be lost
by cooperation. Failure to cooperate may result in further charges being laid.
If arrested, do not say or write anything about the offence (i.e. make any
admissions without the presence of a lawyer). Do not withhold your name or
address from the police if asked. You are not required to volunteer any other
Complaints About The Police
In order to create a better relationship between the police
and the gay community, a number of Police Gay and Lesbian Community Liaison
groups exist. These groups are there so that disputes between police and the
gay commnity can be handled without drama. Should you feel that a police
officer has acted unreasonably, then you should note the officer's name, badge
number, vehicle registration, time and place.