Photo of the day: GAY HATE CRIMES IN GREENWICH VILLAGE UP 70% IN 2013: What used to be a ‘village’ of all people of all colors and all persuasions is being lost by the rapid gentrification due to real estate greed. Still, if you are gay, the Village is your traditional home, where you are supposed to walk hand in hand with your lover and feel proud and safe about it. The rainbow flags are everywhere in preparation for Gay Pride day.
But – it is also a place to go ‘fag hunting’. Recently 29 fatal or near fatal hate crimes have been reported in the area. That is a 70% spike from last year. Some attribute it to a fluke, others to the gaining rights and the mainstreaming of gays that makes a small scared ignorant minority seek out their homophobic rage.
Those two factions met Sunday might as Mark Carson (32) was walking with his friend and was approached by Elliot Morales (33) taunting him, asking if he was a “gay wrestler.” Mark at first avoided the confrontation and kept walking, but the killer raced ahead and hunted Mark down. Confronted a second time, Mark was shot in the face and died almost instantly. As Elliot Morales was being restrained on a sidewalk, he laughed and boasted: ‘I shot him in the face.’
A memorial march was held, and a memorial continues to grow on the spot of the incident. The location happens to be the main intersection of Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street, site of the former Barnes & Noble. This happens to be a main stop (to wait for traffic) as the miles long gay pride day parade waits to jubilantly enter the narrow winding and historic Christopher Street and pass by the Stonewall Inn, the site of the start of the gay rights movement. All of this is in frighteningly too close a proximity. Rather than hooting and hollering this year, I hope there will be silence on the part of the marchers as the parade passes by Mark Carson’s site.
As of Wednesday, May 22, today, five more gay hate crimes have been reported.