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In the last 30 days, there have been a total of seven violent assaults against members of the gay community in New York City, including the murder of 32-year-old Mark Carson last Saturday evening in Greenwich Village, a notoriously gay-friendly neighborhood. Carson was walking with another man through the neighborhood when three men began taunting them with anti-gay slurs. The assaults came to an end when 33-year-old Elliot Morales shot Carson in the face. The police took Morales into custody almost immediately. Carson died later that evening in Beth Israel Hospital.
Two nights later, the attacks continued. Dan Contarino, a gay nightlife promoter, was brutally beaten in the East Village. The injuries were severe enough that Contarino needed surgery. In support of Contarino, witnesses have reported that the assaulter was yelling antigay slurs during the attack. The suspect, Gornell Roman, was arrested and convicted of assault and harassment on Wednesday.
And around the same time that night, it was also reported that two other gay men of Hispanic decent were attacked in SoHo. Sources say the attackers were shouting antigay remarks in both English and Spanish, and that one of the victims suffered an eye injury.
Both of these events occurred just hours after thousands of people gathered in Manhattan to protest the murder of Mark Carson and antigay violence in general. Police have agreed to increase their presence in the affected areas throughout the month of June, Gay Pride Month.
On a lighter note, over the past couple of weeks, thousands of students across America have been graduating from high school, college, and graduate school. Ted Chalfen, a graduating high school senior from Farview High School in Colorado made this compelling speech at his ceremony. Chalfen, who was openly gay from the start of his freshman year, told his classmates the following:
“The kindness and understanding that you all have shown me over the past four years speaks volumes about each and every one of you as human beings.”
Since President Obama’s inauguration in January, the inaugural poet Richard Blanco, who identifies as both gay and Latino, has been working to blend his art with politics, to use poetry as a way to speak about the issues that are important to him, namely immigration reform and gay rights. Blanco said that becoming the inaugural poet
“…opened up opportunities for me to speak about all these issues. It’s an opportunity to tell our story, as the son of immigrants, a living example of these things. I’ve been speaking to groups, reading poetry in front of these groups, LGBT groups.”
On Monday, Blanco returned to the White House for a thirty-minute conversation with the president, during which he was asked to write and recite a poem for Boston Strong benefit concert on May 30, in honor of the Boston bombings.
Lastly, on Wednesday, the Bi Writers Association announced the finalists for the Bisexual Book Award, which encompasses seven categories: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, erotic fiction/erotica, speculative fiction (science fiction/fantasy/horror), the Bi Writer Award, and the Bi Book Publisher of the Year. The winners will be announced at the Bisexual Book Awards ceremony on June 2nd in New York City.