Ryan Lee, Associate Writer: News & Current Events
Since Matthew Shepard’s murder in 1998, anti-gay violence has largely been considered a rural problem – something that might be encountered on the back roads of Alabama, but not on Main Street in many metro areas.
However, gay bashing has returned to cities in 2012, with some of the country’s most gay-friendly urban areas plagued by anti-gay attacks in recent months.
- During the first week of January, three men drove alongside a gay pedestrian in San Francisco and started calling him homophobic slurs, then exited the car and beat and robbed the 20-year-old man.
- In February, Brandon White was viciously assaulted in Southwest Atlanta, with his assailants yelling anti-gay slurs as they videotaped the beating.
- In March, two young gay men in Dallas were beaten with baseball bat as five men attacked them while shouting anti-gay slurs.
- Also in March, there were three anti-gay hate crimes in Washington D.C. – a shooting in an IHOP that left a gay men wounded, and group beatings of a gay man and transgender woman on the streets of the nation’s capitol.
- Even New York has seen several gay bashings in 2012, including a couple of attacks that occurred within the proximity of gay bars.
Thomas Dolan, a New Yorker who witnessed a gay bashing in January, warned urban gays not to become complacent in maintaining safety.
“As a generation, we have witnessed an unprecedented deluge of LGBTQ images and rights, but we must remember that these victories have been accompanied by increasing conservative retrenchment and heartbreaking stories of bullying and violence,” Dolan said in a note to the gay site Queerty. “By all means, we should take advantage of the comfort in which we lead our lives (why else do I scrimp for this overpriced corner of Tenth Avenue?) but we should also acknowledge that our complacency is premature.”