'An Attack on Equality'

Published: August 7, 2013

 New York is regarded as a gay-friendly city in a state that has legalized gay marriage, but this Op-Doc video shows that it can still be dangerous for a same-sex couple to walk down the street holding hands.

 
On May 5, 2013, a young couple was attacked outside Madison Square Garden in broad daylight. Nick Porto and Kevin Atkins were walking hand in hand when a group of several men, clad in Knicks jerseys, called them “faggots” and pushed them to the ground, beating them to the point of a torn ligament and a broken nose. In this video, Mr. Porto and Mr. Atkins tell their story.
 
They illustrate a sad statistic. According to the New York Police Department, there were already 29 reported antigay hate crimes in New York City by late May, an increase of 70 percent compared with the same period in 2012 (even as hate crimes over all went down nearly 30 percent). The real number may be higher, as many attacks are not reported.
 
During the production of this video, our whole team witnessed the very intolerance that this story comments on. On a sweltering summer afternoon, when we filmed Mr. Porto and Mr. Atkins kissing outside Madison Square Garden, several passers-by gave the couple obvious looks of disgust. One man, sitting on steps behind the couple, called them “faggots,” adding an expletive, as he took cellphone photos of our shoot. Yet there were also many others who walked by without a second glance, and one who even told us he appreciated what we were doing.

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