Two gay men were punched and kicked in New York City’s historically gay neighborhood Chelsea.
Michael Felenchak and his partner, Peter Notman, were walking away from a movie theater early 14 August (Wednesday). They were arm and arm, when the suspects approached them.
‘What are you looking at, faggot,’ one of the suspects said, as reported by the website DNAInfo.
The couple were then kicked and punched, with approximately three to four others joining in.
Although Felenchak and Notman were able to escape, they sustained cuts and bruises to their faces. Felenchak did go to hospital for stitches to his chin.
Thee New York Police Department released sketches of the two suspects. The first is a black male, ‘wearing a white T-shirt.’ The second suspect, described as a black Hispanic male, was shirtless with tattoos on his arms and chest. Both are from 16 to 20 years old.
‘This kind of an anti-gay attack is unacceptable anywhere, but for it to happen in Chelsea which has such a large LGBT population is particularly shocking,’ City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement when the police sketches were released.
‘And what’s worse is that this is happening after a summer of repeated attacks on members of the LGBT attack just because of who they are,’ the council speaker continued.
Quinn, an out lesbian, is running for mayor.
In mid-May Mark Carson was gunned down a few blocks from the Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the modern gay equality moment.
These incidents are part of a troubling increase, in recent years, of anti-gay violence in the city.
‘Reports of hate violence increased 4% for LGBTQ and HIV affected New Yorkers in 2012, continuing a three year trend in increased violence locally,’ the Anti-Violence Project said in a press release about this week’s attack.
The AVP offers support to LGBT crime victims.