Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ramone Jackson with About.Com Gay Bashed In NYC in October

Ramone Johnson is the gay lifestyle columnist for About.com, a New York Times Company and top 10 Web-based information and resource site. Gay Life on About.com is a practical guide to better gay living.

I briefly met Ramone while in Atlanta 2006 during the first Click Magazine Elite 25 Awards.

Below is his account of what happened taken from his myspace blog.
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I Was Gay Bashed.

I thought I knew, but until Friday, October 6, 2007 I had no idea what it was like to be gay bashed. A few friends invited me out to a club I don't usually frequent. All was well—for hours—until it came time for a late night cigarette break.
New York has a no-smoking law, so that stupid activity happens outdoors. I accompanied my friend. It was a great time for us to share one of those rare bonding moments. A few puffs equaled months worth of gossip. Two guys stood in front of us hugging.

The usual New York traffic passed without dismay until the white Mercedes C-class appeared. The tall bald guy leaned out of the window yelling and screaming obscenities that no one would be proud of—the usual clich├ęs spit towards gay men. It seemed like an incident that could easily be brushed off until he got out of the car. He came toward us, still yelling. He was angry, as if we had personally offended his entire being.

All I saw was a tall muscular man coming toward my friend and these other unsuspecting guys in the path of what seemed to be a disaster. He continued to yell, the couple broke their hug. My instinct told me that I was the most beefy of all of the guys standing in the breezeway—a silly notion seeming I only stand 5 foot 6.

He come within inches. I tried to ward him off by telling him that no one is trying to mess with him. I pleaded for him just to go away. He spit in my face and I knew that I was no match for him. I immediately ran toward the bouncers of the gay club. I got behind the huge door man. The guy was quickly in pursuit behind me fired up. Out of nowhere a punch landed on the right side of my face. It was the bashers friend from the passenger seat. I swung, at which point the basher kicked me in the stomach.

The bouncers quickly yelled at me to get in the club. I tried to keep my composure, but ended up in the bathroom stall, crying, ashamed that I wasn't able to protect myself, my friend or my fellow gay brothers. And then the worst happened... To my dismay, one of the bouncers found me and told me I had to leave. Leave, I said. I've been gay bashed by a stranger. I was protecting my friends and in turn was socked and kicked in the stomach. He stayed firm to his orders.

As I walked up the stairs of Splash Bar NYC, I saw one of the managers. I pleaded with him not to kick me out because I was afraid the guy and his friend were still out there. His response: "I don't know anything about that!" Before I knew it I was outside and I started to tremble at the sight of a white Mercedes parked down the street. And then a hand grabbed my back and pushed me toward a cab. "Get in, I'm taking you home," my friend said. I hurried inside trying not to cry before the driver pulled off. As I write this I don't know what hurt worst: 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.
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Stay strong Ramone and I hope that your story will help our community to realize how at risk for violent attacks we are.

Click here for other stories about violence against black LGBT people.


Joe

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