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The kind of thing we fear

September 26, 2009

Fair warning: Every time I hear about the following type of incident, my heart sinks, and yours should too.

New York radio/TV/etc. personality Blake Hayes posted a blog entry this morning describing a hate crime he says happened to some of his friends on 9th Avenue in New York City after a man flicked a cigarette at them, and then told them, “Keep moving, faggot.” He continues (emphases his):

We exchanged words, more and more heated, until he started to approach us, threatening violence.  Before we knew it, he had thrown one friend against a car, denting it.  The other took two punches to the face, cutting his lip before the bouncer at McCoy’s came out and stopped him.

We called the police.  They arrived — 5 cops or so, from at least 2 cars.  They talked to the guy who assaulted us.  They asked us what happened.  We recounted the story.

The cops — the NYPD — did NOTHING.  They wouldn’t even take the guy’s information so we could file a claim later, or even run the plates of the car whose body was dented from him throwing my friend into it.  “They’re NJ plates, we can’t do anything.”

This is exactly the kind of thing I worry about every time I’m out with my boyfriend. Being able to walk in peace is about as basic a right as you get, but the level of protection people in the LGBT community often actually receive is absolutely appalling, even in a state that has hate crime laws. The alleged location here makes it all the more shocking; my brother lives right off 9th Avenue and I’m always pleasantly surprised when I visit him by the number of gay couples I see. I’m afraid they may be a bit more cautious and hard to spot now, but I certainly hope not.

If Hayes’ story is true—and I have no information one way or the other, but no particular reason to doubt him—it’s just another example of the kind of shabby treatment we receive as a matter of course, but no the less horrible for it. I think the straight community largely has no idea the kind of psychological impact this has on gays, particularly the victims. It’s just another layer of the fear we feel whenever we’re out, knowing we may be attacked and find ourselves without any recourse because our rights are ignored or denied us. Can you imagine a man being attacked for holding his wife’s hand, and how they might be afraid to go out together again? Now picture numerous such attacks, and the police refusing to help.

Hayes has put a call to action on his blog asking people to call the police and complain about the lack of assistance they received. Click through for the info.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 26, 2009 11:10 pm

    Blake’s one of my dearest friends and I was with him about an hour before this occurred. What he said did indeed actually happen. Fortunately, no one was seriously physically injured, but everytime something like this happens, it makes me realize how important hate crimes legislation is. When you are hurting someone only because of who they are as a person, you are indeed assaulting the entire community. What better reason than to make sure we get down to DC for the Nat’l March for Equality.

  2. September 26, 2009 11:10 pm

    Thank you for posting this. People need to get fired up. I hope this can help destroy some of the apathy that has strangled this movement. You do a great thing.

    • September 26, 2009 11:21 pm

      Blake, I’m sorry this happened to you guys! I definitely feel it’s my duty to spread the word.

      I’m afraid my journalist’s soul prevents me from reporting anything like this as 100% true without corroboration from multiple sources, but it appears we’re only a few degrees of separation apart and I totally believe your story. Indeed, in the short time since I’ve posted I’ve heard from a few people who’ve confirmed it. I’ll be making those calls ASAP, and I really hope they have an effect, because what happened is just totally unacceptable!

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