Gaybashing Attack At Birthplace Of Gay Rights Movement
Late this past Saturday night two young men attacked a gay man on what those of us who grew up knowing history consider sacred ground- the bathroom of New York's Stonewall Inn.
The man who was attacked, Benjamin Carver, fought back and the assailants were captured with the help of his boyfriend, Stonewall bar staff, and NYPD officers.
Carver recounts the attack, clearly and with remarkable compassion for the men who assaulted him, on his blog.
He also says he's tired, sore from being beaten, and overwhelmed by the hounding of reporters who are jumping on the "Gay Hate Crime" news cycle. There's a "perfect storm" of media attention around Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" project about gaybashing/bullying and the recent suicide deaths of at least six young gay men. It's what they call a "teachable moment."
But is the brief spasm of outrage decent people feel at times like this enough to make real changes in the culture? The new Hate Crimes Prevention Act law, known popularly as the "Matthew Shepard Act" after the Wyoming man tortured and murdered in 1998, was signed into law by President Obama on October 28, 2009. Perhaps as more perpetrators are brought to trial the law will prove to be a true tool for justice and its implementation will lead to increased awareness of the prevalence of hate crime against LGBTQI kids.
But it is a deep tragedy that behind every step forward in awareness and desire for change there is a mother who's lost her child, a father who sits by a child in a hospital bed, a lover who who's lost their partner.