Crime | LGBT Rights | LGBT Stories | New York

Fear Lives On, Even In 'Gay-Friendly' Cities

Attack Victim 1
Russia, Uganda, Jamaica, Pakistan...all countries that have made headlines with anti-gay violence and hatred just this month alone. Yet, with all of the blatant and often-institutionalized homophobia taking place around the globe, it can sometimes be easy to forget that some of the same hatred is still happening on our own soil...even in cities and neighborhoods that are traditionally considered "gay friendly". 

That's the argument made by Frank Bruni in his New York Times opinion column "Gay and Fearful". In it, he describes the sensation of holding his partner's hand in public while walking down the streets of New York City:

"Your heart rate goes up a nervous notch or two. It’s not shame that does this. It’s not embarrassment. It’s the awareness that even in Manhattan and even in 2013, you might easily encounter someone who will cast a disgusted look your way. Or say something nasty. Or, worse, throw a punch."

Attack Victim 2
Of couse, Bruni's apprehension is not without reason. Just this Tuesday, two gay men were assaulted in Chelsea by a group of attackers, just because they were holding hands. Anyone familiar at all with NYC can tell you that Chelsea is traditonally seen as a gay-friendly neighborhood. Let's also not forget the fatal shooting that took place earlier this year in another traditionally-gay-friendly neighborhood in New York City. That attack was one of several that took place within the span of just a few weeks. 

"As best I can tell, police responded with concern and energy. Exactly as I’d expect, most New Yorkers whose attention was drawn to this rash of violence reacted with sorrow and outrage. We live in a city—and, I hope, a country—where the vast majority of people do not believe that being gay warrants victimization. This isn’t Russia. This isn’t Uganda."

Yet, despite the fact that same-sex couples now reap the benefits of marriage equality in the state, and despite the fact that most seem to support the basic human rights of LGBT people, gay New-Yorkers such as Bruni are still forced to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings. Such a reality is one that continues to haunt many a minority group even after legislation is passed, and illustrates how obtaining legal recognition and protection is only part of the battle for full equality. 

You can read Bruni's full column HERE.

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  1. Liberals are the worst homophobes because they believe in anything goes. Anything goes gives liberals permission to use violence against us.

    Posted by: Brian | Aug 18, 2013 9:05:38 AM

  2. I just returned from Manhattan. I was there when the attack occurred, although I did not hear about it. The one thing that crosses my mind is that NYC--and especially Manhattan--is full of visitors: tourists like me. So, it might turn out that some of these anti-gay events are really caused by outsiders who want to bash some NYC fag while they're on vacation. Just a thought.

    Posted by: Ernst Rhoem's Ghost | Aug 18, 2013 9:34:19 AM

  3. Brian, can you make that comment make sense, please? K thanks.

    Posted by: D.R.H. | Aug 18, 2013 9:57:15 AM

  4. @Mr. Herr Rhoem's ghost,

    Nah....unlikely. Probably local ghetto thugs, or at most 'outsiders' from Jersey or another borough. There are also plenty of projects in Manhattan itself, all over it, even in so-called nice neighborhoods, so take your pick.

    Let me say first: I totally believe this assault really occurred, but I'm a little fascinated by how relatively minor these men's physical injuries are. I've been in real fights, and in a fight where someone really is out to hurt you, you generally end up with at minimum a broken nose sand black eyes. I can see the younger man was obviously punched in the mouth, but the rest of his face appears unscratched. The older gentleman was obviously punched from the side of his head, but his injuries also appear relatively minor. I'M NOT SAYING ANYTHING NEGATIVE OR IMPLYING ANYTHING NEGATIVE ON THE VICTIMS PART...just making the observation that their injuries appear minor for being jumped and assaulted by a group of men. They're lucky in this respect.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 18, 2013 11:40:56 AM

  5. Ernst - Ah yes, Law And Order doctrine. This is the Hollywood belief that Mariska and Chris will find out that it wasn't actually the black criminal who killed Marie St Clair, it was a white supremacist who just happened to be visiting from West Virginia or a white Wall Street broker.

    Posted by: Hagatha | Aug 18, 2013 11:43:34 AM

  6. Amazing. Three of the comments here are from people who don't even live in NYC.

    Ratbastard, have you EVER been punched in the face? Have you EVER been punched in the side of the head? Have you ever been kicked in the groin or the side or the back or the face as you lay prone on the ground? "Minor injuries"? Man! What I wouldn't give to be able to give you a sampling of what you call "minor injuries"!

    As for the effluvial Ghost, his "analysis" emphasizes the "anal" in his logic but nothing more. Ghost, honey, it doesn't matter WHERE the bashers come from. What matters is that the bashing took place at all. Darling, the point Mr. Bruni and others are making is that even in this age of equality, there are some people who feel it is still incumbent upon themselves, and righteous, too, to bash a gay couple who are enjoying their lives, doing nothing more innocuous that holding hands. This is called reaction. I can guarantee you it doesn't matter if bashers are from Manhattan or the Bronx or Secaucus, or Oklahoma. The fact that it is happening AT ALL anywhere in the USA is disgusting. Stop trying to provide some kind of equivalency to these acts of violence.

    As for Brian, well, the less said the better. It is sufficient, though, for anyone to note that Brian is always up past his bedtime and someone really needs to make sure the iron chain that binds him to his sty is more securely fastened.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Aug 18, 2013 12:46:19 PM

  7. Yes Jamal, I've had broken noses [twice], fractures, knocked out teeth, black eyes, you name it. Oh, and numerous concussions, multiple cat scans, a pet scan, etc. Some people will say that explains a lot, but I'm fine,healthy as a horse.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 18, 2013 1:31:58 PM

  8. Although my injuries were inflicted by my dad.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 18, 2013 1:35:11 PM

  9. But Ratbastard, you are not a homosexual because you do not have a video on YouTube. Please register like all the rest of us. We will also accept XTube videos.

    Posted by: Frank | Aug 18, 2013 2:07:26 PM

  10. thumbs up to jamal49

    Posted by: yin-yang | Aug 18, 2013 3:26:43 PM

  11. I think that we all know that as difficult as it is to change laws to favor Equality, it is far more difficult to change the human heart. Long long after the laws have changed to favor equality people often still experience the horrors of bigotry and hatred.

    Posted by: andrew | Aug 18, 2013 6:48:08 PM

  12. "Yet, with all of the blatant and often-institutionalized homophobia taking place around the globe, it can sometimes be easy to forget that some of the same hatred is still happening on our own soil"

    Actually, @RJ, it's not easy to forget that. Why would you think that? Who exactly has forgotten? And why would you insult your readers by accusing them of being so thoughtless? Just because there's an intense focus on Russia for a few weeks, that isn't a slight against other problems or a sign that people have suddenly forgotten everything else. It means the situation there is very fluid and there are a lot of facts that a (largely) U.S. audience needs to learn to understand the situation there and respond.

    Please think before you insult, and please write in facts, not platitudes.

    Posted by: JJ | Aug 18, 2013 8:19:22 PM

  13. OK, here is the comment that lets you know that "Caliban" has some issues....

    In the wake of DOMA decision and other gay rights advances I believe we are experiencing a backlash. The number and severity of attacks in allegedly "progressive" cities is a reflection of that. (Either that or such attacks are being reported by the media, when they were not reported before, which give the illusion they are something new.)

    Though I go about my business with the same openness I did before, in fact even more so due to feeling less psychological pressure due to the political advances gay people have made, and being in a new relationship, I carry a slim razor-knife with me just in case. I tend to wear cargo pants/shorts so most of the time I forget it's there. I don't even think about it. But in the unlikely event something were to happen, I refuse to be a patsy for some POS having a "macho moment," the only one bleeding after it's all over.

    Think. Protect yourself. Be joyous, but be aware.

    Posted by: Caliban | Aug 18, 2013 11:11:16 PM

  14. Although my injuries were inflicted by my dad.

    POSTED BY: RATBASTARD | AUG 18, 2013 1:35:11 PM


    Good morning Mr. Miller.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 19, 2013 9:53:42 AM

  15. The NYPD should conduct a sting operation wherein two undercover cops hang out holding hands with other undercovers nearby and when a beatdown attempt occurs they arrest the gang on the spot.

    Posted by: leprechaunvict | Aug 19, 2013 11:09:42 AM

  16. Well done, RJ, encapsulating and summarizing Frank Bruni's wonderful opinion piece. I'm nearly convinced NYC suffers more homophobic attacks of late BECAUSE of human rights successes in New York state AND BECAUSE of the real likelihood that NYC's next mayor could be a lesbian, Christine Quinn.

    Posted by: Koskalaka Maricón | Aug 19, 2013 11:13:08 AM

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