Over the past few weeks, Manhattan has been overwhelmed with gay bashings, culminating to murder near the Grey’s Papaya on West 8th street and Sixth Ave in the West Village. It’s shocking to hear that these hate crimes are being committed in our gayest neighborhoods. These casual criminals were as bad as the knock-offs on Canal street, getting caught within minutes of committing their crimes. In a status quo that set us back two decades, will it be safe for gays to don there most daring fashion choices?
Marc Carson, who was murdered in the West Village, was identified as being gay because he wore shorts and boots. He was targeted based on what he wore. This news was disturbing, since I liked to strut in the shortest shorts of the season. Such violence was expected in the Himalayas of Brooklyn. There are parts of Brooklyn like East New York or Flatbush where one wouldn’t dare wear pom pom shorts past happy hour for fear of being attacked. Yet this was happening in the movie making, celebrity filled Manhattan. Why the sudden change in a post Sandy world?
Religion and fashion went together like strangers giving out candy. I came to the city that never sleeps to practice my fashion choices in peace. What we wore, shaped and defined our lives. It was as essential as breakfast in the morning. I had no intentions to revert back to the political stylings of the nation’s conservatively dressed Capitol–where I was born and raised. A gay man’s right to shoes should be protected as well as skirts, kilts, and dresses–oh my!
It’s neither always sunny on Independence Day nor is it always snowing on Christmas. However, that didn’t deter me from wanting to see the fireworks while remaining completely dry. It also did not keep me from wishing for a White Christmas ever winter. We don’t live in a perfect world. The shenanigans of these shady thugs can’t force us back into the closet. Besides our wardrobes didn’t fit in the narrow cages that imprisoned their minds.
Is there is a way for us all to co-exist in an environment as diverse as the concrete jungle? There is no such thing as a life without conflict. However, we do have our gay-borhoods. So if one isn’t pro gay then stay out our neighborhoods and take that homophobia elsewhere. We have to try as people to be better than we were the day before. I embraced my freedom to wear black as often as possible. Skirts and dresses were my preference to layer over leather pants and skinny jeans, not my sexual orientation. I have the right to define my humanity, through the way I choose to dress in any city, borough or district.