By Benedict Brook
A New Zealand man who was decked by a coward punch while on a night out in Sydney, and said he feared for his life, was rescued by a trio of unlikely saviours.
Ivan Flinn, 34, from Surry Hills, said that during the attack earlier this month he hoped someone would come to his rescue. Help did arrive but not in the form he expected.
"I am a bit religious and I really thought I was going to die, I was praying for a hero and I got three angels," he told news.com.au.
Those "angels" were three drag queens by the names of Coco Jumbo, Ivy League and Vybe. They stepped in after a night performing on the stages in Sydney's neighbourhood of Darlinghurst, known for its large gay population and venues.
Luke Karakia, who performs under the name Ivy League, ended up getting injured scuffling in the middle of the road with one of the alleged attackers. Nevertheless, his frocked-up alter ego didn't think twice before stepping in.
"Those boys s*** themselves, they weren't ready for some drag queens on top of them".
Flinn is grateful to the three for racing in to his rescue he's helped raise $1000 to help them pay for their wigs and high heels that were damaged in the fracas.
The IT project manager, originally from New Zealand, said he had left a local bar on the famous gay strip of Oxford Street after midnight on August 6 and had headed to a local kebab shop to get some sustenance for the trip home.
Almost immediately he noticed a group of rowdy people behind him. "There were heaps of homophobic slurs, 'you f****** f****t, you queer c***," all the slurs you can possibly imagine."
"I said 'dude, don't ever use the word f****t and specially not on Oxford Street of all places'"
The advice did not go down well. Flinn alleges one of the man then attacked him, ripped his shirt and punched him, dislocating his jaw.
"He was really abusive, he had intent to assault.
"After the punch I was stunned but the next thing I knew Ivy went in and was scrapping with the guy who punched me. They're in the middle of the road, cars swerving around them, tooting, and I saw the guy rip her wig off.
"They were bashing each other and she's still wearing her high heels."
Ivy told news.com.au she was with her fellow performers getting an after work kebab when she noticed "dick heads being dick heads" shouting homophobic slurs
One man turned to Ivy, she claims, and called her a freak. "I said, 'I am a freak, I'm one of the freaks of Oxford Street, now get out of this shop'.
"And then little Ivan walked into the middle of it."
Ivy said she saw Flinn get attacked and she wasn't having it. "I said, 'you want to pick on little guys, you'll need to fight the big freak. I'm a man underneath all of this, so let's go."
Luke Waqa, who performs as Coco Jumbo, also piled in.
"A guy pushed Ivy so I picked him up and threw him into the gutter.
"I don't think they knew what they were getting themselves into. I used to play rugby league. Plus I have an older brother," Coco said.
"He tried to run away and I chased him into the oncoming traffic. I'm surprised my wig didn't come off."
Ivy's wig certainly did come off in the scuffle - it was destroyed - while she said she sustained injuries on her leg as the two of them grappled on the road.
She thought the attackers came off worse though. "These big burly guys couldn't even throw a punch, all they could do was pull hair and run."
Flinn, the trio of performers and the alleged attackers all spoke to police at the scene.
A NSW Police spokeswoman confirmed to news.com.au officers broke up an attack in Darlinghurst earlier this month involving up to seven people.
"Police are continuing to investigate the incident, including a possible motivation of homophobic bias.
"NSW Police treats all matters of violence extremely seriously, including bias crimes motivated by sexuality or gender."
Ivy said she wasn't afraid of what she might be getting herself into.
"I don't have a problem defending myself. Growing up gay, I've been picked on and bullied and there comes a time when you fight back and you don't care if you'll get hurt or what happens to your wig.
"I may be gay but I'm a man and if you'll hit me I'll hit you back," she said.
Flinn said he was amazed by the three of them.
"I really thought I was going to die that night if he had kept punching me.
"Everyone was silent but they reacted so quickly. The drag queens fought my fight for me, they are my heroes."
He said he started the GoFundMe fundraising drive to try and replace some of the damaged clothes. He is due to hand over the proceeds this weekend.
"Drag queens are the strongest people in the LGBTI community. They stand there and say this is who I am and I'm proud.
"They saved my life, I wanted to thank them".
Ivy said it was "disgusting" some people came to Oxford St to cause trouble. However, she said there had been very few incidents in her seven years on the scene and the community looked after its own.
"There are idiots everywhere but don't come to our street and expect us to just take it."
Coco said she had a simple message for the homophobes: "Don't mess with gay people. Let alone two men dressed as women. Silly boys."
She said they weren't fazed by the damaged outfits and were touched by Mr Flinn's fundraising.
"It's all just materials at the end of the day, there's no use crying over split lace.
"We're just glad Ivan's OK".