Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas had his home vandalised over the weekend following a major backlash over his transphobic comments made on radio last week.
The Zempilas’ home was graffitied and a report has been made by the family to Western Australia Police. It comes as Zempilas has been in his new job as Perth Lord Mayor for less than two weeks.
Zempilas came under scrutiny after making derogatory comments about transgender people on radio station 6PR last week, telling listeners it was “wrong” to identify as a gender other than that which they were assigned at birth.
The breakfast host said: “If you’ve got a penis mate, you’re a bloke. If you’ve got a vagina, you’re a woman. Game over,” to which his co-host Steve Mills begged to differ.
Zempilas then laughed off a suggestion by Mills that he would likely come into contact with transgender people in his role as Lord Mayor, and proceeded to call on “any women with a penis to ring the radio station for the chance to win a $100 store voucher”.
Retravision – the company that was providing contra prizes for the Zempilas/Mills show) – have since withdrawn their marketing co-operation with 6PR.
The derogatory comments infuriated Western Australia’s LGBTQIA+ community and the general public alike, with protesters taking to the streets in a stand against Zempilas as Mayor.
Some protestors were heard chanting the rhyme, “Basil fucking Zempilas doesn’t represent us!”
According to the Daily Mail, the Zempilas family home had been targeted by vandals on Sunday, with a report lodged with Western Australia Police shortly after the incident.
Since having made the comments, Zempilas has tried to apologise, insisting they did not reflect how he feels, yet the slack talk follows previous insults about homeless people in Perth, with one critic commenting on social media: “This is not how a Lord Mayor should be acting, this is not how any person in power – or not in power – should be portraying any other human being, regardless of sex, gender, sexuality, race. Who is next on Mr Zempalis’ list? Women, children, the disabled?”
TransFolk WA chair Hunter Gurevich said Zempilas’s comments were harmful to transgender people.
“These comments are repugnant, bigoted, narrow-minded, parochial, and fundamentally deny contemporary science,” said Gurevich.
A change.org petition has since been created, calling for Zempilas to step down from his role as Lord Mayor, with the petition already having received 11,000 signatures – four times the amount of votes that won Zempilas the title of Mayor in the first place.