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Gay Men Targeted in Homophobic NYC Attack Speak Out

Harmony Vuitton, 22, says he was the victim of a homophobic attack
Harmony Vuitton

"It makes me feel motivated to raise awareness and to get the message out that we are here and we aren't going anywhere," one victim said.

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Two men were subjected to an antigay attack in New York City Friday night, and now they're speaking to the media to show they won't be intimidated.

Harmony Vuitton, a 22-year-old gay man, and his friend Eric Ortiz were standing near a smoke shop on Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn when two men started harassing them with what Vuitton called "homophobic slurs," New York TV station WABC reports. The station bleeped out the specific slurs.

"The men were just infuriated with my existence," Vuitton said. One of them, he said, picked up a long stick and began swinging it at them. Ortiz blocked it once but was then hit and bruised. Vuitton was struck too, leaving him with a cut that required four stitches.

The assault was "more mentally traumatizing than anything," Vuitton told the station.

The attackers are still at large. Vuitton said he's seen them in the neighborhood previously, but this was the first time they became violent.

He said he will continue to stand up for the LGBTQ+ community. "It makes me feel motivated to raise awareness and to get the message out that we are here and we aren't going anywhere," he explained.

Reported hate crimes have been on the rise in the U.S. 2020 saw the highest number of hate crimes overall since 2008, according to the FBI, which provides statistics on crimes motivated by sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, sex, and more. Hate crimes based on sexual orientation decreased from 2019, but hate crimes based on gender identity continued to rise. And since the FBI stats reflect only those crimes reported to the agency, the full number is likely higher. Statistics for 2021 aren't out yet.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.