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Topics In the News
 
New York Times Op-Doc Focuses on Gaybashing
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 08/07/13
Last updated on: 08/07/13
 
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A New York Times Op-Doc Video by Alison Klayman, released on August 6, 2013, focuses powerfully on gaybashing by telling the story of Nick Porto and Kevin Atkins, young gay men who were attacked on May 5, 2013 outside Madison Square Garden during a Knicks game. The aspiring fashion designers tell the story of how they were assaulted in broad daylight and how the attack has affected their lives. Their story is placed in the context of the alarming rise of anti-gay hate crimes in a city perceived as conspicuously gay-friendly.

As Klayman says in an accompanying article in the Times, "New York is regarded as a gay-friendly city in a state that has legalized gay marriage, but this Op-Doc video shows that it can still be dangerous for a same-sex couple to walk down the street holding hands."

She points out that the attack on Porto and Atkins is hardly unique. "According to the New York Police Department, there were already 29 reported antigay hate crimes in New York City by late May, an increase of 70 percent compared with the same period in 2012 (even as hate crimes over all went down nearly 30 percent). The real number may be higher, as many attacks are not reported."

She reports that "During the production of this video, our whole team witnessed the very intolerance that this story comments on. On a sweltering summer afternoon, when we filmed Mr. Porto and Mr. Atkins kissing outside Madison Square Garden, several passers-by gave the couple obvious looks of disgust. One man, sitting on steps behind the couple, called them 'faggots,' adding an expletive, as he took cellphone photos of our shoot. Yet there were also many others who walked by without a second glance, and one who even told us he appreciated what we were doing."

The filmmaker concludes, "This story is a potent reminder not to take for granted New York's reputation as a safe haven of tolerance and acceptance. Despite notable national progress on issues like gay marriage, true equality for many is a long way off."

 
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