Two men, who are believed to be a gay couple, were reportedly assaulted by four individuals in New York City’s Times Square, during which “anti-gay slurs” were used.
The New York Police Department has stated that the incident, which resulted in the hospitalization of the two victims, may be investigated as a hate crime pending further information. Fox News reported that the attack occurred on April 8th at approximately 10:30 pm while the couple was walking around Times Square.
The victims have asked to remain anonymous but shared that the group made derogatory comments towards them before assaulting them physically. The couple was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where one of the victims reportedly underwent surgery. No arrests have been made thus far, and the investigation remains ongoing.
New York is relatively safe for LGBTQ+ travellers. However, like many cities, New York City has experienced incidents of violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community in the past. However, it’s difficult to say how frequently such incidents occur, as not all cases are reported to the police or media outlets. According to a report by the New York City Anti-Violence Project, in 2019, hate violence against LGBTQ+ people in New York City increased by 20% compared to the previous year.
The report also found that transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals were more likely to experience violence and harassment than cisgender individuals.
It’s worth noting that hate crimes and discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals are not unique to New York City and occur in many places around the world.
According to a report from December 2020, 68% of LGBTQ+ individuals in England and Wales reported experiencing hate crimes based on their sexual orientation or gender identity within the past year, with 27% reporting physical injuries resulting from the attacks.
Most of these incidents went unreported due to a lack of trust in the police’s ability to take the reports seriously. Marta Lima, who helped create an app for those affected by hate crime, emphasized that every individual in the LGBTQ+ community has a story, but many are unaware of their rights and do not believe reporting incidents will make a difference.
Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is encouraged to report it to the police or visit the True Vision website. In case of an emergency, dial 999.