As the nation awaits Supreme Court rulings in two historic marriage equality cases, the LGBT community has a lot to look forward to this June, during gay pride month. But in New York City, a rash of anti-gay violence–and the enhanced police presence required to stop it–casts a shadow on the celebration.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is hoping to become New York’s first openly gay mayor, said she will not allow the city go back to a time when the threat of violence and harassment plagued the gay community. She responded to the recent spate in alleged hate crimes by offering a series of free self-defense classes, the first of which to take place on Saturday.
While this self-defense training won’t cut to the heart of anti-gay hate crimes–which have spiked 70% this year, according to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly–Quinn is hoping the classes will stem the effect of violence, if not the root cause.
“Unfortunately, there’s no one thing you can do,” said Quinn on msnbc Friday. “So you need to do many different things.”
In addition, the speaker is organizing an interfaith conference against hate later in the month, while also upping police presence throughout Greenwich Village–where 32-year-old Mark Carson was shot and killed last month in an alleged hate crime.
Thousands of LGBT advocates, including Quinn, marched in a May 20 protest to express outrage.
Carson’s killing followed an assault of a gay couple outside Madison Square Garden, and another attack of a gay man outside a bar in the West Village. Since Carson’s death, a second gay couple was beaten outside of Madison Square Garden–bringing the toll in bias-related crimes this year to 24, according to the New York Police Department. The count was at just 14 during the same period last year, said the NYPD.
Watch host Thomas Roberts discuss the latest on anti-gay hate crimes with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn on msnbc Friday.