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Yetta Kurland Headshot

Standing Against Hatred and Violence

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In the last few months we have seen a shocking increase in violence against LGBTQ New Yorkers -- many of them right here on the Lower West Side. Our community rightfully prides ourselves on being one of the most tolerant in the world, and these attacks have shaken us. The recent murder of Marc Carson exposes just how vulnerable we remain even in 2013 and even in the West Village in Manhattan.

It is heartening to see that our community is united to end the rash of anti-gay hate crimes and the bigotry that fuels it. The energy and enthusiasm of our brothers and sisters at rallies held by groups such as Queer Rising and the Anti-Violence Project spoke loudly that our community will not stand for these attacks. Yet, unfortunately it had to be followed by yet another vigil following the death of Mr. Carson.

Our community has made incredible progress in my 45 years. I was born a year before Stonewall, and today I watch with pride as state after state recognizes our families as equal before the law. But despite all the advancements we have made, all the awareness and work we have done, a man is shot down and killed for being gay. It is a humbling moment that forces us to reflect on what we need to do to stop the violence.

We still have a long way to go to create a world where the LGBTQ community does not live in fear. This fear extends to fair treatment in the work place (it is still legal in New York State to discriminate against our transgendered neighbors, for example), to safety when we walk down our streets, fair representation in the halls of power, access to public resources, and an idea that we should simply not exist.

Enough is enough. We cannot stand for this violence anymore. We cannot stand for this hatred. Our elected officials must not only stand with us when we rally for change, they must change the laws to protect us and support legislation such as ENDA and GENDA. Enough is enough. For Marc Carlson and Sylvia Lugo and Matthew Shephard and for countless others.

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