This is absolutely disgusting!
Two Staten Island men, 21-year-old Matthew Francis, and 17-year-old Christopher Orlando attacked 34-year old Benjamin Carver in the restroom of NYC's Stonewall Inn, which is known as the birthplace of the gay rights movement.
The men demanded that Carver tell them if they were in a gay bar, and then they insulted him and attacked him. Fortunately, he was able to defend himself.
Here's what Carver had to say about it:
"To so many of these bullies, they think that gay people are an easy target, and that we're just going to give in. Those two guys found out that night that's not the case."
Good for you for fighting back, Benjamin! You're an inspiration.
The attackers now face assault, hate crime, and robbery charges by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.'s Hate Crimes Unit.
Here's Carver's advice for anyone who is attacked:
"If you've ever been bullied or attacked, then fight back with all you have. Don't let them win."
We would certainly recommend avoiding violence whenever possible, but it's certainly important to defend yourself, and we think Carver is amazing for not allowing himself to be quietly victimized!
Here's what City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is a lesbian herself, had to say about the incident which took place around the corner near her home:
"Obviously anytime a hate crime happens it's incredibly upsetting but to have two anti-gay incidents happen so close together both time and geography in neighborhoods that have large gay populations it's extremely upsetting and outrageous. It is hard to imagine what someone could be possibly be thinking being in the Stonewall bar and committing an anti-gay crime. It really shows a depth of confidence in one's hatred that is deeply upsetting. These two [incidents] are particular upsetting because they occurred both this weekend in two neighboring communities. They were both violent not just verbal attacks.
To anyone who thinks they are going to walk around the city and attack gay people and get away with it you have another thing coming. The police department and the government of New York take these crimes very seriously and they will apprehend you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law."
We're glad to see so much support out there, but it's just awful that these incidents have to take place at all!
Truly, very upsetting.
[Image via Getty Images.]
Tags: attack, benjamin carver, bullies, christine quinn, christopher orlando, cyrus vance jr, gay rights, hate crimes unit, matthew francis, nyc, police, staten island, stonewall inn