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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Another Hate Crime in NYC (of all places)

It took me a moment, to decide whether or not I should post this here (a food blog), but given that I hold a platform not held by everyone else, I figured I should put the privilege to good use. I recently noticed, on my Facebook news feed, a post about yet another gay-bashing, right here, in New York City (and in the West Village, no less). I instantly reposted the item to which a friend commented: "so sad... where is the outrage? this is happening in the heart of the west village!!!" I tried to think about ways I could help; I figured this is the least I could do.

Twenty six year old Damian Furtch was on his way home from work at a restaurant late Saturday night, when he stopped off at a McDonald's in NYC’s West Village (a predominantly gay area) to get some food. It was approximately 4:30 a. m. While inside the restaurant Damian noticed two men staring at him – giving him “looks” – we have all been there, we know what this feels like. It was late, Damian was tired, he felt uncomfortable and he didn’t want any trouble so he left. He was across the street, walking away while on the phone to a friend when the two men from McDonald's approached him and asked him “if he had a problem.” Before he knew it he was punched in the face by one man, then instantly felt another punch by the second perpetrator, and then he heard it – “You Fucking Faggot,” the words as hurtful as the punches.

Damian managed to get away – but not before suffering a severe beating to his face – and head to the nearest hospital where the police were called. He filed a police report and the cops appropriately asked him if [the attackers] used any slurs. Damian said, "Yes, they called me a faggot." Now these two [men] are wanted in connection to a hate crime. Damian got four stitches and they [had] to break and re-set his nose.

One of the perpetrators has a huge tattoo of a gothic cross under his left eye... it was approximately two inches. Damian will be going to the precinct to go through mug shots and the police have subpoenaed the video surveillance tape from McDonald's.

Thank God, Damian is alive.

Take a stand for Damian against the epidemic of hate in this country. It doesn’t stop here… this is where it starts.

I commend Damian on his bravery for coming forward, for not being ashamed as to what happened. When I spoke to him on the phone he kept trying to blame himself, "I was dressed a certain way" (the restaurant Damian works at requires the staff to wear a certain attire that could be perceived by some to be flamboyant) – not that it should matter, it’s NYC in 2011 right??… Yeah. Damian then continued, “It was late…” I told him it was NOT his fault for being who he is or where he was. I am working on getting the video from McDonald's and will post it here once it is released.

I am committed to seeking justice for Damian. Please stand with me on this issue and add Damian as a friend on Facebook – let him know his is not alone in this fight…

Additionally, click comments to read Barie Shortell's speech at his recent Gay Bash benefit.
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