The kind of thing we fear
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.