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LGBT activists stage NYC ‘die-in’ protest to honor suicide victims, demand civil rights

Saturday, October 9, 2010
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More than 300 LGBT activists dropped to the floor in Grand Central Station in New York City Friday evening in a demonstration of death, aimed at calling attention to the rash of recent bullying, torture, suicides, and murders of LGBT Americans.

At around 6 p.m. in the main concourse of the nation’s busiest transit hub, demonstrators lowered themselves to the ground and assumed a dead position, arms folded across their chests.

Event organizers J. Todd Fernandez and Eugene Lovendusky read the names of LGBT victims of murder or suicide prompted by anti-gay bullying and violence, while another organizer, Alan Bounville, unfurled a large yellow banner reading: “End Homo / Transphobic apartheid in America.”

The demonstration, called “Flash Mob: Homophobia Kills Die-In,” was staged to honor those LGBTQ people who have been murdered or committed suicide due to anti-gay bullying and hate crimes, and to demand “sexual orientation and gender identity” are added to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The peaceful demonstration, lasting fewer than five minutes, created a blockade for thousands of commuters rushing to and from the subway and commuter trains. Following the “die-in,” protesters chanted “Civil Rights Now” for several more minutes.

At least two of the event organizers were arrested by Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and charged with misdemeanor obstruction of pedestrian traffic. They were cited and quickly released.

For 12 days leading up to the Grand Central action, the organizers — Queer SOS! and the AEB Project — have held vigils outside the Manhattan election campaign office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), demanding she introduce legislation to amend the 1964 Act.

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