After Brutal Assault, Queer Man Poses For Stunning Photo Series

"There is true strength in expressing your best self unashamedly. WHATEVER that means to you."

After being brutally attacked last month, a queer Australian man was invited to appear in a photoshoot by the LGBT site Heaps Gay.

Isaac Keatinge was wearing a dress and makeup when he left a house party in Newtown, a suburb of Sydney , on April 9. He was attacked by three men, who started out shouting homophobic and transphobic slurs and then became physical.

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“I wasn’t afraid of going up to them to talk and try to diffuse the situation,” he tells Buzzfeed. “But the punches came as soon as I went up to them. It was so rapid.”

Hearing about the incident, Heaps Gay decided to “give the story a much needed positive twist,” by shooting Keatinge and several friends for a stunning campaign.

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Brad Tennant/heapsgay.com

The site says the spread by photographer Bradley Tennant proves “once and for all that not only are gender binaries of clothing completely outdated and fucked up, but there is true strength in expressing your best self unashamedly. WHATEVER that means to you.”

Keatinge suffered a black eye and a laceration to his head, which required about 15 stitches. Scars from the attack are still visible in the shoot.

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Brad Tennant/heapsgay.com
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Brad Tennant/heapsgay.com

Since the assault, Keatinge has moved to Sydney, where he works as a design assistant and has found “newfound expressive and creative freedom.” But he’s also encountered “a greater sense of hostility than he’d experienced elsewhere.”

“I spent the first 19 years of my life deep in the mountains, whereas I’ve only been around Newton and the inner city for less than four years,” he tells HeapsGay. “One can imagine how isolating and anonymous the city feels, with its built environments and lack of accountability.”

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Brad Tennant/heapsgay.com
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Bradley Tennant/heapsgay.com

But Keatinge and his friends say they’re not budging in their choice to express their gender fluidity.

“The rules of gender are so heavily enforced, and I think certain groups of people have an institutionalized idea of reinforcing those norms,” he adds. “But the future is so bright… I’m feeling finally settled in Sydney town, I’m ready to live for awhile in Asia, maybe Europe, and continue to deepen connections across the globe.”

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