LGBT Community Responds to Anti-Gay Attacks in New York City


It has certainly been a week of mixed emotions. I felt overjoyed to see Delaware become the 11th state to legalize same-sex marriage and to see the Minnesota House pass a marriage equality bill with a clear majority. But that joy has been countered by the dismay I have felt in relation to two anti-gay attacks in NYC in the past week.

I was so disturbed by these anti-gay assaults that I felt compelled to do something in response. I quickly penned an article discussing some of the key issues and submitted it to a couple of major blogging sites in the hope they would publish the story. They didn’t.

Unperturbed, and feeling a sense of urgency to act, I started my own blog and published my initial article. I subsequently shared it through GMUSA and the intense reaction both there (and in the comments section of the original article) has been the catalyst for this second follow-up piece.

FACEBOOK DISCUSSIONS ABOUT ANTI-GAY ATTACKS

(see original discussions here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

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Sifting through the hundreds of comments posted on Facebook (and under the original article), a number of key themes emerged:

(1) People have a lot of intense feelings and strong opinions about this issue. Many people – both LGBT and allies alike – are shocked and disturbed that these types of incidents are still occurring. While some don’t think it’s fair to call into question the ‘gay friendly’ status of NYC after incidents like this, others argued that these events are a reflection of a broader problem with homophobia in the city that has gone unaddressed in recent times. A quick news search confirms various other homophobic-attacks in NYC in the past 6 months (April 2013, February 2013, September 2012).

(2) Many people shared their opinions about how victims should best to respond to such attacks both in the moment and afterward. Some stated they would “fight back” with force in the event of being assaulted. Others high-lighted the reality that not all of us have the physical strength or mental resolve to retaliate in such situations, nor is it always safe to do so. There were calls for people to strongly consider enrolling in self-defense courses and various references were made to the potential utility of a revived neighborhood patrol in Manhattan similar to the Pink Panthers Patrol that operated in the 1970s.

(3) There were numerous calls for a community-led response to these attacks and the need to engage in a public display of unity and strength.  A community-based rally would help send a strong message of warning to any potential, would-be attackers. It would also help gain media attention and maintain a dialog about the ongoing need to address homophobic-related abuse in NYC. Online activism has its place but eventually in order for real change and impact to occur we must move from the computer to the streets!

ARREST UPDATES

In relation to the first incident which occurred Sunday May 5th, I am not aware that any arrests have been made. This is particularly disturbing given the nature of the attack and given that the images of those involved were widely circulated across local news stations across social media (heck, even George Takei got involved!). How is possible that in a city of 8 million people, no-one has been able to come forward and identify those featured in this video footage captured by an onlooker? Must we conclude that there ARE people out there who know these alleged attackers and are colluding with them by remaining silent?

There have been two arrests (see photo below) made in the second incident which occurred Friday May 10th. Both of those men, aged in their 20s, reportedly live in Manhattan and according to the NY Daily News “were arraigned Friday night on charges of misdemeanor assault and harassment.” Of the two arrested one has already been bailed while three others alleged to have been involved in the attack have not been identified.

Image

 (Photo by Marcus Santos for NY Daily News)

COMMUNITY RESPONSES

The NYC Anti-Violence Project released a statement on May 10th indicating its intention to “raise awareness” about these incidents and to “provide people with information and safety tips.” The organization is partnering with various other entities in response to the attacks: “AVP is working with the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. We are also working with community partner GLAAD on these incidents as well.” Disturbingly, in its statement AVP alluded to the occurrence of a possible third anti-gay assault that is still being investigated.

For her part, Council Speaker and mayoral hopeful, Christine Quinn, appropriately expressed dismay over the recent attacks and vowed that everything would be done to prevent any return to a past in which such crimes were  prevalent: “There was a time when our city was plagued with hate crimes. We are never going back to that place. That is not what New York is about.’”

Local direct-action group, Queer Rising, is planning to conduct a rally in the coming week. Noted for its tenacity and willingness to go the extra step, Queer Rising will be meeting in NYC Sunday evening 5/12 at 6pm to discuss details of a possible rally. It is hoped that related community organizations and action groups will be able to partner with Queer Rising in putting together such an event.

UNITE AGAINST HATE

As unpleasant as it may be, we must continue to maintain attention on what happened in these two anti-gay attacks in NYC this past week. It’s not sufficient to overlook them as “isolated incidents” and explain them away as random criminal actions. Yes, in a city of 8 million there will always be crime. But that doesn’t mean we should sit back and do nothing when crime takes place. No, it is our responsibility as a community to fight back and say enough is enough, that we will not tolerate this type of abuse of LGBT people – or anyone else. The time for action is now. I will close with this inspirational and beautiful comment made by contributor, Laurie Davis, on Facebook:

laurie copyArticle authored by: Gay Marriage USA, May 12, 2013. This is a follow-up article to Anti-Gay Hate in NYC – It’s Time To Rally published May 11, 2013.

This entry was posted in Action, Activism, Community, Gay, LGBT, New York City and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to LGBT Community Responds to Anti-Gay Attacks in New York City

  1. … They-BOTH-look like LOSERS & have-ACTED-like-LOSERS!!!

  2. While I am outraged and disturbed by the recent events in NY. I am even More concerned about those in area’s outside of the NY region. While We celebrate each state embracing equal marriage the fever and fervor of our opponents becomes more severe and more desperate. I don’t mean to diminish the outrage in NY. But I suspect, there is even more than just these few cases in NY. I wouldn’t be surprised that there is an uptick across the country..

  3. Alan h says:

    I’m afraid that we will see more of these attacks as we make more progress with gay marriage. There are many out there that see us as a threat to their religion and way of life.here in new Orleans I usually don’t feel uneasy but yesterday a group of homophobes sitting by me in a cafe made quite a few derogatory comments towards me, I left the cafe I go to everyday to avoid conflict

    • GMUSA says:

      I am sorry you were subjected that. The example you provided of what happened to you is something that I am sure has sadly happened to many people – it’s unnacceptable. It’s something that doesn’t get aired and spoken about enough.

    • raven166 says:

      I hate that you had to deal with jerks like that! I am a woman and look feminine so I don’t get hassled unless I hold hands with or kiss my g/f which I never do because I live in Texas and people here scare me. One day I hope we will be accepted but I’m not holding my breath.

    • Richard Crooks says:

      And the owner of the cafe allows this to go on. Somebody should close it up.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What purpose will rallies serve? Homophobic bigots who have no qualms violently attacking gay men do not respond to rallies. They only understand brute force and physical pain. So that is what we should be ready to inflict on them, if provoked. That is the only effective deterrent! Some can continue to undertake education, sensitivity training etc etc as long term solutions. In the meantime, some of us in the community need to be ready to respond in kind – brute force for brute force.

    • GMUSA says:

      A rally is not just about sending a message to homophobes & haters. It’s also about providing a community with an avenune through which to connect & share their feelings about these types of incidents. Rallies can also help put a spotlight on issues which may otherwise get ignored by law inforcement and political leaders.

    • Lunacsue says:

      Rallies also help to galvanize a community that may have become complacent in the belief that everyone is now accepted. They serve to educate and to increase awareness and maybe to help those that might be on the fence about what they believe. Violence will only turn allies away who might have otherwise stood in solidarity.

    • Richard Crooks says:

      That is what it is going to take.

    • Anonymous says:

      they also understand escalation. your plan logically ends with a body count. i’m not saying i won’t resort to violence to defend myself, but if a physical confrontation can be avoided it should be.

  5. Dana says:

    People from all over the world is moving to the Big Apple. These people are bringing with them all of their prejudices and biases. Most of the world is homophobic. This is the end result.

    • GMUSA says:

      You raise an interesting point about the diverse ethnic mix of NYC. Yes, many who now call the city ‘home’ were born elsewhere. All the more reason why we must continue to engage in public and community education to make it clear to ALL who live in this city that homophobic conduct will not be tolerated.

  6. Jesse nava says:

    We need to make sure the haters & bullys out there know we will come togather as Americans,Family,as Humans to protect our less violent people. We need stiffer charges this man & teens need to be reghester as a danger to society what they are doing is not only wrong but it is killing people or scaring them for life. This Is Not Right …

  7. Jesus says:

    Trying using correct terms such as sexual orientation. There is NO such thing as “sexual preference” silly Laurie Davis!

  8. truthspew says:

    Ya know, in the case of these two guys I think we should find the biggest, toughest gay guys and have them beat the shit out of them. Let them see what it feels like. That to me would be a just sentence.

  9. Richard Higgins says:

    If we don’t stand up for our selves, who will? Together we must rise , face this head on!!!

  10. One word…STONEWALL!

  11. Billy walker says:

    These incidents are horrible and should not be excused for any reason, but we hear about incidents like this in larger cities that get the public eye. I live in rural America and it goes on here to but very little is heard about it and even less is done about it. If we want to do something about it we have to make it heard and make sure it stays in the spotlight and never fades away. We all have to stay on the front line in defensive mode and push our way foreword. So things like this will end where gay couples like my boyfriend and I can walk den there street and have a second glance taken or snide comment made. There is a small organization in my area Enid LGBT Coalition and they are doing a great job with awareness in our small area

  12. Richard Crooks says:

    Small groups of gays will have to travel together and when this type of thing happens take them down. Don’t call the police they won’t do anything. Arm yourself folks.

  13. Not that Wayne says:

    HEY – I’m so pissed about the recent bashing on the strip, that I’ve re-posted the story everywhere I can think of. THIS HAPPENED ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE OKC PRIDE OFFICE AND RIGHT ON THE PROPOSED PRIDE PARADE ROUTE. WE AIN’T PUTTIN’ UP WITH THIS !!

    Reactions have been slow, but I determined to get all the business owners to participate in a surveillance and patrol program. Other cities have them. (Pink Panthers, Q Patrol) One thing we learned from Boston is that the lens of the camera misses nothing. In Salt Lake City, patrols are “armed” with a cell phone camera and a small can of mace….patrons are escorted and thugs are turned over to the police.

    Face it, if we can’t be safe on the strip, that’s completely fucked up. You know we could put together a group of people to help out. With businesses being protected, their contribution would be a “tax deductible business expense”. And while we at it, a little paint, the right lighting and signage and we could accomplish what the rest of folks been hoping for for a long time. Whatta ya say? WE CAN DO THIS !

    • GMUSA says:

      I agree that overall the response thus far has bee slow and inadequate. That was definitely what motivated me to write these articles. Please continue to work on this and feel free to keep us posted with any developments that you note.

  14. Jenefer Les says:

    The following theory proves EVERYBODY IS GAY weather you know it or not.”Some species, such as some snails, practice sex change: adults start out male, then become female (See also sex reversal). In tropical clown fish, the dominant individual in a group becomes female while the other ones are male, and bluehead wrasses (Thalassoma bifasciatum) are the reverse. In the marine worm (Bonellia viridis), larvae become males if they make physical contact with a female, and females if they end up on the bare sea floor. This is triggered by the presence of a chemical produced by the females, bonellin. Some species, however, have no sex-determination system. Hermaphrodites include the common earthworm and certain species of snails. A few species of fish, reptiles, and insects reproduce by parthenogenesis and are female altogether. There are some reptiles, such as the boa constrictor and komodo dragon that can reproduce sexually and asexually, depending if a mate is available”(ref –man is the extension of woman)The main hypothesis discussed in this book is that, if a woman lives long enough she will be converted into a man physically. A similar thing can also be stated about man. It is wrong to categorize humankind into two genders as it implicates that they are extremely dissimilar and physically opposite to each other. Man and woman are just two different stages of one developmental process. And physically they are very similar. The ideas presented may sound unconventional but Dr. Fulzele implores readers to consider his point of view with an open mind. “Your world will not change if you do not agree with me. But if you agree with me, how does it change your world? If more people agree with you and me, how does it change our world? The possibilities are limitless.”

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