On Friday, LGBT communities around the world got together to commemorate the 9th annual International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia (IDAHO). Established with the goal of improving the life quality of LGBT individuals around the world, IDAHO has attracted growing supports from a different stakeholders: local organizations, celebrities, government officials and international agencies like the United Nations. While the LGBT community is witnessing positive consequences in the battle for same-sex marriage, hate crime against LGBT individuals is still common. The world still doesn’t seem completely safe for most of the LGBT individuals.
Just one day after the commemoration of IDAHO, a 32-year-old man, Mark Carson was found dead in Greenwich Village, just a few blocks away from the Stonewall Inn. According to the New York Times, Carson was first confronted by a man, identified as Elliot Morales, chanting antigay slurs at him and later pulling out a silver revolver to shoot several times at Carson.
“This fully looks to be a hate crime; a bias crime,” said Raymond Kelly in an interview with CBS. “There were no words that would aggravate the situation that were spoken by the [victim.] [He] did not know the confronter.”
This incident follows series of what seem to be a citywide assaults against gay men in New York City. Another gay man was assaulted when he walked out of Pieces, a popular gay bar in West Village. Another gay couple was knocked down to the ground at Madison Square Garden after the New York Knicks playoff game against the Indiana Pacers. They were first confronted by four men shouting anti-gay slurs at them in broad daylight before assaulting them.
“I’ve never had a feeling like this before in the city,” said Nick Porto in an interview with the Huffington Post. “I didn’t know that it’s not over, that this sort of stuff still happens.”
Although the suspects in the shooting are all arrested, these recent hate crimes against gay men in New York City suggest potential danger that LGBT individuals could encounter everyday. While events like IDAHO are drawing more attention to the importance of guaranteeing LGBT individuals a safe environment, it isn’t enough to promise the actual safety that they deserve. The situation is imaginably worse for transgender individuals in society, who often have to endure questions like “are you a boy or a girl?” Even though individuals like Lucas Silveira are trying hard to speak up and defend themselves, it is still not enough to universalize the safety that LGBT individuals ought to enjoy as their natural rights.
While the organizers of IDAHO believe the messages they sent out on May 17 could substantially turn situations around for LGBT individuals, it seems to have minimal influence to stop hate crimes against LGBT individuals in the next few years. In addition to actively defending themselves like Silveira, perhaps legislators and government officials can do more than just waiting for the public opinion to push the issue forward.