Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Homophobia Remains Alive in New York City

One can easily conclude New York City remains the most diverse city in the world. Diversity, as I have pointed out in previous blogs, remains a source of strength which binds the vast majority of New Yorkers together. Homophobic incidents to which I have witnessed in the more than three years I have lived in the city temporarily blemished this reality. My roommate's experience with a Brooklyn cabbie who directed anti-gay rhetoric towards him is an unfortunate addition to this list of incidents.

I have never experienced anti-gay sentiments in Bushwick despite the once maligned neighborhood's reputation. I did witness a man accost a man whom he thought touched him on a particularly crowded L-train morning commute a couple of years ago. I also routinely heard drunken 20-somethings call each other "fags" as they stumbled passed the Ocean Beach house in which I lived during the summer I reported on Fire Island. These two incidents are certainly juvenile but highlight homophobia's continued presence in even the most apparently progressive cities. Last October's murder of Brooklynite Michael Sandy, the anti-gay attack against performer Kevin Aviance and other high profile murders and assaults remain stark reminders of the manifestation of these attitudes. New York City remains a relatively safe -- and arguably fabulous -- place to be openly LGBT. Progress, on the other hand, needs to continue in even the most celebrated LGBT Meccas.

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