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Anti-Violence Project Works With LGBT Community in Wake of Recent NYC Attacks

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Wednesday May 15, 2013

UPDATE: According to a statement from the Anti-Violence Project, the organization is working with the victims in the attacks as well as the NYPD, gay rights groups, lawmakers and other authorities in order to capture the assaulters and to prevent future attacks.

On Thursday, May 16, AVP will join Queer Rising's Rally and March: Queers Take Back the Night, an event responding to the series of anti-gay attacks. AVP will speak about safety for the New York area LGBT community. The event will be held outside Madison Square Garden.

For more information, you can read the full release here.

New York City has experienced three possible anti-gay attacks in a single week, as CBS New York reports, two gay men were assaulted in midtown Manhattan.

According to police, the two men attempted to enter a billiards hall around 5 a.m. on May 10 but were not let in. They were then approached by a group of five people who hurled anti-gay slurs and attacked the two men.

The victims tried to escape but were beaten again when the suspects caught up to them at the entrance to a nearby PATH station. Port Authority Police Sgt. Michael Thomas, who witnessed the attack from a patrol car, broke it up with the help of other officers. Two of the five men allegedly involved with the beating were arrested; the others were able to escape the police.

Although the victims were not identified in the CBS report, Queerty notes a reader tipped them off that one of the victims is Edin Sol, a porn star for Lucas Entertainment.

"I'm still in recovery after this malevolent attack," Sol told Queerty. "I can't get over this situation and the fact it still happens. I feel in shock and unsafe going out anymore until someone does something about it."

CBS points out that the victims suffered severe facial injuries and were treated at a nearby hospital. One of the men had to undergo eye surgery as a result of the attack.

The alleged attackers were identified as Asllan Berisha, 21, and Brian Ramirez, 21, both of New York City. They have been charged with the hate crime of felony assault.

The beating comes on the heels of a similar though unrelated incident. ABC 7 reports that an unidentified gay man was also attacked outside a popular gay bar in Manhattan's West Village.

The victim was leaving Pieces, a gay bar, on May 8 when he was assaulted by two men who were spewing anti-gay slurs towards him. The victim, however, was not seriously injured.

Both beatings occurred just days after Nick Porto and his partner Kevin Atkins were attacked by four men who yelled anti-gay epithets at the couple in broad daylight as the Knicks played the Indiana Pacers nearby in Madison Square Garden on May 5.

On Monday, Porto, 27, and Atkins, 22, joined City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, State Senator Brad Hoylman and gay rights advocates to speak against hate crimes. Quinn, who is a lesbian, urged anyone who witnessed the couple's attack to contact police, DNAInfo New York reports.

"Not in our town," Quinn said of the attacks, which she called a hate crime. "If you do that, the good people of New York will come together with police and you will be apprehended." She also lauded the New York Police Department and Port Authority police for arresting the two men involved in the attack against Sol. Quinn saying the beatings were "an attack on every LGBT person in the City of New York."

"Hate crimes instill fear not just on the victim, but on the entire LGBT community," she added.


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