“Fucking fag…”, “It’s disgusting that crazy women walk around here,” “They should respect and do their dirty things in secret, fag… shit…”, “They’re going to rot in hell for fag…”.
These are just some of the offensive comments of a thick caliber that, in recent months, the Colombian Anthony Molina, 32, heard on different occasions while walking down Roosevelt Avenue from Queens on his way home from work before a man punched him in the face in early August.
“If you don’t get rid of the b***h, there will be more blows,“ was the warning that the unknown homophobic bully did to him, leaving him wounded on his face and back, which he preferred to keep to himself, as he says he is afraid to report the incident, because he does not trust the police and because he is scared to think that the attacker could retaliate.
Similar offenses and ridicule were heard two weeks ago in Queens the Mexican Jessica Mendoza, originally from Guerrero, who is undergoing his transition process to be a transgender woman. Three days ago, things got worse when he was walking home, and an alcoholic guy chased him several blocks throwing homophobic phrases, and then savagely attacked him.
“On Sunday at around 3:00 in the morning, I was walking down the street, in Brooklyn, along Eighth Avenue from 55th Avenue, and a man out of nowhere began to tell me things that I don’t even dare to repeat. And then he stole my money, and he pulled a knife on me and chased me several streets pulling me, hitting me on the floor and yelling at me that I was a damn homosexual,” says the young man, who mentioned that it hurt him more to see the lack of help from people because nobody did anything to help him or to call the police.
“He had hit me so many times while I was running that he had a lot of blood on his face and yelled at me that he was going to kill me. ‘People like you don’t deserve to live or be here.’ Then a person who was the only one who helped me managed to get him to leave and I called the police, they took the report, the ambulance came and cleaned the blood. Still, they did not take me to the hospital, “said the victim of the hate crime, who has already suffered three physical attacks for being a member of the LGBTQ community.
Weeks ago, while aboard the E train, he assures that a black man looked at him badly because of his appearance. After saying homophobic phrases in English, he released the pitbull dog he was wearing. When the young man ran to the 42nd Street station, he received a bite on his leg, without two police officers who saw the event “doing anything.”
“One feels humiliated, but at the same time, I think we have to keep raising our voice and stronger so that this type of thing does not continue to happen, because or else, the numbers of attacks and insults will continue to grow, “said the Mexican.
And it is that according to community leaders and activists, the hate attacks, physical and verbal, against New Yorkers of the LGBTQ community have skyrocketed so far in 2022, and there are more and more homophobic acts that are taking place, mainly in the county of Queens.
So he denounced Danny Drom, co-founder of Queens Pride and former New York City councilman, who stated that these types of attacks could not continue to escalate, and who also denounced that participants in the public programming of the “Open Streets” program have been repeatedly subjected to vulgar homophobic slurs by members of the Jackson Heights Coops Alliance.
“Jackson Heights is the home of Queens Pride, but also we have seen terrible violence against LGBT people in our community,” said the former politician. “Three white supremacists assassinated Julio Rivera in 1990. A white supremacist assassinated Edgar Garzón in 2001. We must denounce and condemn homophobia wherever and whenever we see it. Jackson Heights Coops Alliance is now on alert.”
David Kilmnick, president and founder of the New York LGBT Network, criticized registered hate crimes, which according to his data, have increased by 46% this year, and introduced the Queens Hate Crime Victims Advocacy Initiative, which aims to stop hate crimes and anti-LGBT discrimination in the borough.
“Our LGBTQ Community Center nearby has received an average of three anti-LGBTQ hate crime reports per week (…) we are launching a new Queens Hate Crime Victims Advocacy Initiative to support all victims of such hate throughout the county. We are also calling on the Jackson Heights Coops Alliance to condemn this behavior which is not acceptable anywhere, especially in the birthplace of the LGBTQ movement in Queens.”
Councilman for Jackson Heights, Shekar Krishnan, joined the complaints and, after citing the case of a gay man victim of offenses, made it clear that the county of Queens cannot be a space for hate crimes.
“There’s no place for hate in Jackson Heights, the birthplace of Queens Pride. I am heartbroken by the homophobic bullying that the 34th avenue volunteers like Jim Burke and many others who have had to put up with them by the “so-called” Jackson Heights Coops Alliance,” Krishnan said. “I stand with them, the LGBTNetwork and veteran LGBTQIA activist and former Councilmember Danny Dromm, in condemning such intolerance. No matter how its members feel about 34th Avenue, there is no excuse to engage in hate. The Jackson Heights Co-ops Alliance must condemn the actions of its members, now.”
Jim Burke, who denounced being the target of homophobic comments by members of the Jackson Heights Coops Alliance, explained that they had promoted an attack campaign against the LGBTQ community.
“The misinformation spread by this group has caused unnecessary conflict in the community and directed hatred towards our volunteers,” Burke said, co-founder of the 34th Avenue Open Streets Coalition. “Alleged members of this group have used homophobic, xenophobic, and racist slurs against our volunteers and program participants, sometimes in the presence of children and community members.”
Biane Garciaorganizer of the LGBTQ community of the organization Make the Road NY was concerned to learn that hate crimes against gay and trans people have been increasing in Queens and asked for more support from the police in matters such as accompaniment and translation services when a victim wants to report a case.
“Unfortunately, hate crimes this year are increasing quite a lot and specifically towards the LGBT community, but it should also be mentioned that many of these crimes are not reported to the police out of fear, due to immigration status, or because interpretation services are not provided, causing many cases to be forgotten,” said the activist from Make the Road NY.
“It is sad that for wanting to express our sexual orientation or our gender, we are attacked in the streets. It is very unfortunate to see that in Queens, there has been a large increase among members of the community, and knowing that many of these attacks have been from drunk people or people who use some type of drug or have psychological problems, we believe that the City needs to implement more services of support,” Garcia said. “I don’t think jail is the only solution, nor is it an increase in police officers, but rather more training and education with those already working.”
The NYPD showed through its figures that in the first six months of 2022, 338 cases of hate crimes were reported, including for reasons of sexual orientation, and there were 360 arrests and warned that the New York police “will never tolerate hate ” no way in the city.
“The New York Police Department has the largest Hate Crimes Task Force in the country, made up of investigators who work tirelessly with our patrol officers, detective squads, government agencies, and community leaders to investigate all hate crimes aggressively reported hate crimes,” an NYPD spokesman said.
The Jackson Heights Co-ops Alliance has not commented on the complaints reported by Queens leaders.