I was shocked and deeply saddened yesterday to learn of the gay bashing of friend and fellow writer Ramone Johnson. Ramone was attacked outside of Splash Bar in NYC last Friday night by an individual who approached him as he accompanied a friend during a smoke break in a breezeway near the club. The attacker yelled anti-gay slurs and spit in Ramone's face before landing a punch to his face and repeatedly kicking him in the stomach. To add insult to injury, when Ramone ran back inside the club in an attempt to seek refuge he was told by the bouncers and management that he had to leave despite the possibility of the attacker still waiting for him outside.
Ramone released this statement on this tragic event in a post on his site:
As I write this I don't know what hurts worse: My stomach or my eye or the fact that a gay bar kicked me out and refused to help me. I've spent the past five years trying to empower gay men, hoping with all my heart that we can one day roam the streets without being afraid, and here I sit at my computer, hurting physically and psychologically. If we can't protect ourselves who will? In five years I've managed to post nothing but positive comments about any establishment or gay product. During this time my mindset was that there is enough negativity out there for me not to join in and down other gays. Yet I sit here wondering why I even bother when a gay bar (albeit a tragic one called Splash Bar NYC) threw me out to the wolves.
Thank my higher power that I, nor anyone else, was seriously hurt, but the pain is piercing. I feel for other victims of hate crimes. I feel for those who've been hurt or accosted just because of who they are. I feel for an establishment that loves to take our gay dollars, but could care less about us once the doors are closed. I feel for the people out there that think violence and hatred is the answer. I feel alone working in vain for a cause that seems so far beyond my reach. And yet I sit here writing to you instead of tending to my wounds, because for some reason I can't stop caring. I can't stop writing and hoping that one day I can gossip with my friends outside a club without being kicked in the stomach.
My prayers go out to Ramone and any person that has been subjected to violence based on their sexual orientation. It's emphatically wrong and it makes me sick to my stomach to know that we live in a country where legislation is not on the books to protect LGBT people from sick individuals like Ramone's attacker. And this happened in New York City of all places. This just proves that ignorance and bigotry is not limited to the red states.