New York City is experiencing a rash of violent crimes against members of the LGBT community. Five incidents have occurred in the last two weeks as the Big Apple preps for the 2013 Gay Pride.
The shooting death of Mark Carson, 32, in Greenwich Village is the latest incident highlighting the issue of violence against openly-gay men. The New York Daily News reports the alleged gunman, Elliot Morales, was following Carson and a friend. Morales asked Carson and his acquaintance if they were “gay wrestlers” because they were dressed in tank tops and shorts. Morales then shot Carson in the head with a .38 revolver.
No motive has been uncovered, but New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is classifying Carson’s death as a hate crime.
“This fully looks to be a hate crime; a bias crime,” he told CBS New York. “There were no words that would aggravate the situation that were spoken by the victims. They did not know the confronter.”
The New York Post pieced together a timeline of Morales’ Friday night. The newspaper discovered a similar confrontation about 20 minutes before Morales killed Carson. A bartender approached Morales when he saw him urinating on the side of a building. Morales threatened the bartender saying, “Do you know about the shooting in Sandy Hook?”
Carson’s death is a microcosm of a larger issue. The New York City Anti-Violence Project compiled a timeline of anti-LGBT hate crimes, showing how quickly the violence is escalating.
May 5: Nick Porto and Kevin Atkins were attacked by four men at Madison Square Garden. The group hurled anti-gay slurs at the men while punching and kicking them. Their attack was motivated by Porto and Atkins walks arm-in-arm.
May 7: A man attacks a gay man in Union Square while shouting anti-gay slurs.
May 8: A 35-year-old gay man is attacked by three men while leaving Pieces bar on Christopher Street. He was hit several times as the men yelled anti-gay slurs at him.
May 9: Two gay men are beaten outside a PATH station near 33rd Street. The attackers were arrested and the victims were treated for serious injuries. The victims claim they were attacked because they are homosexuals.
This recent spike in violence is cause for concern. Christine Quinn, a New York City Council speaker, hopes New York can be a safe-haven for the LGBT community. Quinn is currently campaigning to be New York City’s first gay mayor.
“This kind of shocking and senseless violence, so deeply rooted in hate, has no place in a city whose greatest strength will always be its diversity,” she said.
LGBT advocates and community leaders are also taking a stand. The New York City Anti-Violence Project, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, GLAAD and several other organizations have partnered with Quinn to host a march. The march against LGBT hate crimes is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. tonight. Participants are meeting at the LGBT Community Center at 208 West 13th Street in Manhattan and will march to West 8th Street and 6th Avenue.