LGBT Activist Attacked in Weekend NYC Hate Crime
New York City’s LGBT community suffered another anti-gay attack this weekend as an East Harlem teen has been charged in an alleged assault against a local gay rights activist, NY1 reports.
Manuel Riquelme, 19, allegedly assaulted Eugene Lovendusky, 28, the co-founder of Queer Rising, early Saturday morning after leaving a popular gay club near Times Square, according to officials.
According to NY1’s sources, the activist was leaving the gay nightclub XL in the largely gay Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of midtown Manhattan with his boyfriend and another friend, when a group of nine teenagers passed the men. The group of teens soon started hurling anti-gay epithets towards them before Riquelme allegedly attacked the activist.
"My first response is to turn around and say, ’You can’t call me that!’" Lovendusky told NY1. "And that got me a punch in the face." Immediately after the attack, the activist called 911 on his cell phone to report the incident. The suspect, Manuel Riquelme fled but was soon spotted by police nearby and arrested for assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment as a hate crime. He was released without bail after his arraignment on Sunday.
Lovendusky was not seriously hurt and did not seek medical attention.
"Self-defense classes are the first thing all of us are thinking right now," Lovendusky says, adding "How do I hit? How do I protect? Am I allowed to carry pepper spray? Am I allowed to carry a gun?" He also said he hopes to see gay clubs and bars along with the New York City Police Department to increase security, especially during Pride Month.
Lovendusky’s assault follows a string of attacks that have plagued NYC over the past few weeks. One of the attacks, resulted in the murder of Mark Carson, 32, who was fatally wounded after Elliot Morales allegedly shot and killed him in the West Village last week. Morales has been charged with second degree murder as a hate crime. According to the Advocate, Lovendusky helped organize a vigil for Carson.