Like many of you, GAPIMNY is alarmed and saddened at the recent spike of violence against gay men in New York City. Before you go out this weekend, we would like to offer you some general safety tips from our friends at the NYC Anti-Violence Project:
- Trust your gut. If you feel threatened or unsafe, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible.
- Leave a trail. Let someone you trust know your fabulous plans, including if you hook up with someone, where you’re going and how long. If you decide to leave a note, make sure this trusted person knows where you’ve left it.
- Take a buddy when heading to and leaving your destination or waiting for transportation.
- Look alert. If you don’t have a travel buddy, stay alert, look alert, and stick near other people when walking or waiting for transportation.
- Watch your drink. Or buy your own, just make sure the only person mixing something into it is the bartender.
- Know your limits. If you’re going to use substances, including alcohol, decide how much and try to stick to it.
- Be aware of surroundings. Locate 24 hour establishments to seek help if you feel unsafe. Move towards a “safer place,” like a more public space if you feel unsafe.
The NYC Anti-Violence Project has a 24-hour hotline for anyone who experiences violence, knows someone who has experienced violence, or feels affected by this violence: 212-714-1141. We encourage you to use this number. Additionally, the Anti-Violence Project is organizing Community Safe Nights every Friday throughout Pride Month.
These attacks remind us that our community is not immune to violence. This is especially true for our transgender and gender non-conforming friends and family, who face the threat of violence on a daily basis.
To truly root out violence, we must address the culture of hate that pervades our country. This means that we must fight to tell our stories. We must demand to be seen as our full selves in all of our communities. We must challenge misrepresentation that dehumanizes our communities. And we must work to challenge hate wherever it is, whether intentional or not.
As Sharon Stapel, Executive Director of the NYC Anti-Violence Project writes, “…anti-LGBTQ violence is not just about homophobia and transphobia, but also about racism, classism and anti-immigrant sentiment.” To challenge violence at its root, we need to consider the full range of experience of the LGBTQ community and stand in solidarity with one another against those who deny us our full humanity.
We look forward to continuing the conversation with you all. Be safe and look out for one another.
GAPIMNY Steering Committee 2013-2014