Citywide Self-Defense Classes Offered for LGBT New Yorkers; Hate Crimes Forum Planned

City and state officials are reacting to the recent spate of anti-LGBT hate crimes in New York City by offering citywide self-defense classes and taking up the issue in a public forum.

March_quinnCity Council Speaker Christine Quinn's office announced the self-defense classes, via press release over the weekend:

The trainings will empower New Yorkers by teaching violence prevention strategies and safety tips to the LGBT community.  The kick-off class, led by the Center for Anti-Violence Prevention, will be held on Saturday, June 8th in Room 101 of the LGBT Center at 4:00 PM. An additional evening class has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 12th at the Hudson Guild Elliot Center at 7:00 PM.

Participants should reserve their space by calling (212) 788-5613 or by e-mailing

“No one should be made to feel unsafe because who they are or who they love,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “The spate of bias attacks against LGBT New Yorkers in recent weeks is unacceptable and must end now.  Our free self-defense classes will teach violence prevention strategies to New Yorkers and will provide the community with the tools they need to stay safe.”

“These classes will empower men and women who might otherwise feel helpless at time when our City is experiencing an increase in attacks against our LGBT brothers and sisters,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “No one should be persecuted or attacked for who they are or who they perceive to be. By giving New York City’s LGBT community self-defense training we are providing the necessary tools to help every New Yorker feel safe within their own neighborhood. Together as a community – unified as one – we will continue to take a stand against hate crimes in a City that is known for equality, acceptance and diversity.”

Additional self-defense classes in Brooklyn and Queens will be announced in coming weeks.

And New York State Senator Brad Hoylman announced there would be a public forum on June 14 at the Senate Hearing Room "to assess the efficacy of New York State’s Hate Crimes Law, how state and local government agencies are implementing and enforcing the Law, and whether amendments should be considered to expand the data collection, statistical reporting, law enforcement training requirements and/or otherwise further the Law’s goals."

Those who wish to attend the forum must complete a form HERE.


  1. Rowan says

    Haha Alan you left the same message on Queerty under a diff alias! Really?

    No. 1 · balehead
    Apparently Straight people never get mugged or shot in New York….imagine that….
    Jun 3, 2013 at 10:05 am · @Reply ·

  2. MateoM says

    Wow. Alan Brickman trolls just as pathetically on Queerty as he does on here. I guess Rick is a problem for all queer blogs, and not just Towleroad.

  3. Kev C says

    I can’t believe politicians are this stupid.

    Yes, in just 2 easy lessons, you too can single-handedly defeat a dozen violent men at a time. No longer do you need perfume as a self-defense weapon.

  4. MichaelJ says

    @Kev C: This is far from a stupid idea. I took several self-defense classes in NYC about 30 years ago and learned a lot of practical things — such as how to block a punch and where to kick — that enabled me to go where and when I wanted to with a lot more confidence. The classes were open to all but designed specifically for gay men and lesbians. It was a great experience.

    While it is true that basic self-defense skills are not going to help you if you are attacked ten on one, or if someone is pointing a gun in your face. But they will give you more confidence when in public (and not false confidence) enabling you react to more common confrontations and attacks less from fear and more from confidence in what you can do to protect yourself. It is surprising how many bullies will backdown when confronted with someone who fights back.

  5. Kev C says

    @MichaelJ; but it can’t be taught in 2 classes. If anything, these are just free introductary classes for commercial promotion. Ms. Quinn is huckstering for martial arts businesses.

  6. says

    I do really wonder how many of these beatings would have happened anyway, without the gay factor. Muggings just happen here, and I bet 100% of them include the F word. Which makes them all hate crimes.

    This however, is a freaking AMAZING response! Now do it for everyone NYC!

  7. Jeton Ademaj says

    hopefully these classes prove useful. it is correct that many bullies back down when it looks like ANY resistance is going to be offered by the victim…but it’s also worth remembering that hate crimes are different than simple bullying.

    often, the attacker feels that they’re simply actively enforcing a form of social order that no one else wants to do…and a chosen victim fighting back in that case is not just an annoyance, it’s an actual insult to the perceived social order. whether it’s white attacking black, black attacking white, or straight attacking gay…when one attacker gets punched in the face by a victim, he faces extreme shaming pressure from his friends to avenge the “insult”. what then?

    those are situations where a gun is the BEST force equalizer. running from a group tends to succeed only if they don’t give chase…because even the act of turning to run costs time.

    being aware of ur surroundings and putting out the vibe “dont mess with me” can be useful, but its time to have realistic options for bashing back when running, deflecting and being sassy can’t save you.

    weapons are just tools, fools.

  8. Jeton Ademaj says

    btw “KIWI”, my name is Jeton Ademaj, n i voted Clinton in 92, Nader 96-08, n Obama in 2012.

    btw, to that other fool: the 2nd Amendment is for INDIVIDUALS, and ALL writings from the Founders’ era make that clear. “well-regulated” meant “well-skilled”, NOT “government controlled”.

    when 2 recent SCOTUS cases on gun rights were decided, not a single one of the dissenting judges in either case remotely validated the pathetic gun control fantasy that the 2nd Amendment was in any way “collective”.

    let the enemies of my freedom as an American suck on that. 😉

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