A gay couple who was attacked on April 8 in Times Square says they were targeted due to their sexual orientation.
Choosing to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation, the couple told Fox 5 News multiple attackers approached them while they were holding hands. They told them to move and then began to push and beat them while shouting anti-gay slurs.
One member of the couple said “at least four” different perpetrators were involved in the attack and that, even though Times Square was filled with people, nobody stopped to help.
The couple also confirmed to Fox that the attackers verbalized they were beating the couple due to their sexuality.
After the attack, both men sustained injuries and were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where one of them had to have a metal plate inserted into his fractured jaw.
The NYPD is currently investigating the incident and said in a statement, “The subject fled the location to parts unknown. The victims were transported to Mount Sinai Hospital in stable condition. There are no arrests and the investigation remains ongoing.”
The couple believes the attack should be investigated as a hate crime, and the NYPD said they will determine whether to do so as the investigation goes on.
New York City is experiencing a recent rise in anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes. The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force reported that hate crimes in the city increased by 76 percent between the first quarters of 2021 and 2022, with anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes increasing by 12 percent during the same period.
Earlier this month, a 44-year-old man was beaten and stabbed in the leg by a group of young men reportedly “making anti-gay comments” in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.
Last June, police arrested 52-year-old Runadieo Jordan for a homophobic attack in which he stabbed 31-year-old gay man Tavon Silver while calling the victim a homophobic slur.
In November, police arrested 34-year-old Sean Kuilan for allegedly hurling bricks at a Hell’s Kitchen gay bar on four separate occasions.
In February, a woman was arrested for setting a Pride flag on fire outside a SoHo restaurant.
And the deaths of two gay men who were drugged and robbed after leaving Hell’s Kitchen gay bars last year have had the community on edge, though police say the men arrested in connection with the crimes did not appear to be motivated by anti-LGBTQ+ bias.
In a recent statement, Out New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D) declared, “This surge in anti-LGBTQ violence should be surprising to no one as it’s occurred alongside the dramatic increase in inflammatory rhetoric and hate speech directed at the LGBTQ community by right-wing officials and media personalities.”