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Gay couple bashed at a NYC movie theater

February 27, 2009
From The Advocate

From The Advocate

A young gay male couple claims they were gay-bashed at a New York City movie theater the day after Valentine’s Day, according to The Advocate.

The couple allege that four male teenagers spewing antigay slurs attacked them with glass bottles and a box cutter on February 15, following harassment that management failed to address during a screening of Friday the 13th at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14.

Gay couples are such a common sight in the city that it just doesn’t seem like a likely place for gay harrassment, I admit. I can literally see more men holding hands in a night there than I have in all my time in New Jersey. But it certainly happens, as boyfriend and I actually experienced on New Year’s Eve in 2007.

We spent the evening at a small party my friend had at his apartment in the Village, but once it got late enough we opted to head back to my brother’s, where we were staying for the night. At the time, he lived right near Columbus Circle, which was too far to walk in such cold weather.

We had spent New Year’s Eve 2006 with my friends at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and it was an amazing experience. We actually heard some shouts of pédé (fag) during the evening, but I only gave my boyfriend a selective translation of the night’s events, so I don’t think he noticed. (He did notice the time a man who was clearly mentally ill stalked us most of the long train ride to the airport, but that’s a post for another day.)

Unfortunately, mon amour speaks English rather well, having been born raised here, so it was hard for either of us to ignore the group of teenage boys pointing at us and whispering on the crowded subway platform that night in New York, a story I may have mentioned before. We managed to get rid of them when I approached them and said directly that I just didn’t have the patience for them.

But apparently the couple in this recent incident, one of whom is a few years younger than us (20) and the other of whom is my age (24), had much worse luck than we’ve had so far. (Parenthetical comments are my additions.)

“They were saying ‘faggot’ and kicking the chair,” said Agbontaen (the 20-year-old), who turned and asked the rambunctious quartet to stop, to no avail. “It continued over and over and over.” …

“I was gesturing (the manager) to come,” he said. “I was telling him where they were. He just looked and walked out.”

Unsatisfied, McGillvery-Dummett left the auditorium to notify the manager again. He says he explained clearly that he and his boyfriend were being threatened with antigay remarks.

“He looked at me and said there was nothing he could do,” McGillvery-Dummett recalls. “He rolled his eyes, and he fanned me down. He walked away while I was talking.”

After the movie, the group of boys harassed the two men a bit more before meeting them outside and attacking them.

I’m sure some will say the two men should have just left the theater when they started to be harrassed. Better safe than sorry, right? But if gay couples just left every time we were harrassed, we’d never stay anywhere long. It’s an unrealistic modus operandi. And just like in most other conflicts, they don’t usually lead to being stalked by a gang in an alleyway.

But unfortunately for these two men, that’s how things did turn out for them. It’s something they’re not likely to get over any time soon; hate crimes are considered such for the way they can make a group’s members feel incredibly vulnerable for being who they are.

“To tell you the truth,” (McGillver-Dummett) says, “my sexuality was not something I was totally comfortable with before this. It kind of makes me retreat a little.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Meg permalink
    February 27, 2009 8:14 am

    I am so deeply ashamed that anyone like this could live in my city. It makes me angry and hurt on behalf of that couple. I feel so terrible for them. This sort of thing just shouldn’t happen in 21st century New York City. Or 21st century ANYWHERE.

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