30 March 2011

Damien Furtch Speaks Up and Out

What happened to Damian Furtch is terrible.  He was leaving the McDonald's at Sixth Avenue and West Third Street in Manhattan on Saturday night when he was attacked.

Sometimes I think LGBT people are actually less safe in the "gay ghettos" than they are in other areas.  Damian Furtch was attacked in the heart of Greenwich Village, just doors away from stores and other establishments owned by, and that cater to, gay men as well as other non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming people.  

The particular stretch where Furtch ended up with two black eyes and bloody nose is the site of one of the biggest subway stations in the New York City system.  Seven different lines stop there, on two levels of track separated by a mezzanine.  Lots of young people from New Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut and other places outside the city get off the train there, especially on Saturday nights, as it is only one stop away from Penn Station and two away from the Port Authority Bus Terminal and Times Square.  I know because more times (and more years ago) than I'll admit, I was one of those young people.

Now, the majority of them go to the Village to hang out, and perhaps to catch a movie or go shopping.   But others are go there specifically to harass gay people.  After all, they're a lot more likely to find a target there than in Moonachie or Mahopac or Meriden.  

I'm glad that Damian Furtch is speaking up.   He is performing as valuable a role as all of those young LGBT people in the "It Gets Better" videos and commercials.  He and they are survivors and, hopefully, testaments that their love for whomever they love is greater than whatever hate someone else might have for them.

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