I grew up in a progressive town in the suburbs of New York. In towns like these, the law of the politically correct is passed from the sky on large stone tablets. This community ethic sheltered me from a world where prejudice could be seen with the naked eye. However, it also created in me the false belief that hate was over and equality had been achieved. It was this upbringing which prevented me from fully understanding the severity of the situation when I personaly expirienced homophobic harassment.
It was a few years ago and I had come from downstate to visit friends in Rochester. I had never been to Equal=Grounds but it seemed like a great place to read a book and drink some coffee. Soon enough a boy walking by pulled up a chair and started a conversation. We were talking about whatever I was reading. He was a English major.
A car drove up Carolina Street. As it turned on South they slowed down to call out faggot. I thought they were being ridiculous. I laughed. Called them foolish. They drove off. Came running on foot back to the table. One of them motioned to a gun in his pocket. I didn’t believe him. I laughed a little more. Said he was being ridiculous. He tried to take my money. I had none. Stole my cigarettes from my pocket. Called us faggots again. The kid next to me sat silent. I could feel his eyes on me; begging me to stop laughing. They pulled his glasses off his face. He stood up. They pushed him. He pushed back. They threw him onto the ground. He pulled off one of their bandanas. His head hit a car door. They kicked him. And kicked him. I stood there. And watched. I wasn’t laughing. I said, "What the fuck are you doing." As if they were unaware of how crazy this was. The female barista came out from café. Phone in hand. Chasing them down the sidewalk. They ran like hell. I looked around and left before the cops came.
Have you ever been gay bashed? What’s your story?