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Anti-Gay Hate Crimes Are Up 70% in New York

Just a few short hours after a rally against LGBT hate crimes gathered in New York City, three gay men were attacked in lower Manhattan. Near Avenue D and Fourth Street. A night out as new friends soon turned into an attack on Dan Contarino by Roman Gornell once Contarino's sexuality came into the light. At first Gornell responded slightly apathetically, seeming unbothered by his companion's sexuality because he "had gay family members." However moments later, Gornell had a sudden change of attitude and struck Contarino, knocking him unconscious.

Not too far away, in Broadway, couple Steven Dixon and Michael Coleman were recipients of homophobic slurs by two men who proceeded to attack the couple. The two attackers, Fabian Ortiz and Pedro Jimenez, were arrested shortly thereafter and charged with assault as a hate crime. Mayor Bloomberg responded to the latest anti-gay hate crimes by hosting a press conference, stating "It's not a good day for New York … No person, regardless of what they look like or who they love should ever walk down the street in fear."

Despite the rally to support victims of anti-gay hate crimes, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly stated that while crimes in NYC are down this year by 30%, anti-gay hate crimes have gone up 70%. Mayor Bloomberg also vowed, in response to the recent statistic on hate crimes in New York, that "hate crimes like these are an offense against all we stand for as a city, and we will do everything possible to stop them, whether that hatred is based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or ethnicity."

So far this year, New York City has already experienced 29 anti-gay attacks, compared to 14 at this time last year. Kelly and Bloomberg have urged that the public come forward with any information about hate crimes, stating that bias-motivated attacks like the ones recently are more than often under reported. While it is disturbing that two separate anti-gay hate crimes were committed within hours of New Yorkers showing up to show support for family and friends of a gay man who was shot and killed in Greenwich Village in an anti-gay hate crime, it seems New Yorkers are ready to stand firm against these crimes and work together, with the local government and police officials, to make sure that these crimes begin to stop.

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