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NYC Gay Man Says He Was Attacked, Robbed after Refusing Sex on the Street

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday October 16, 2019

Rising rates of anti-LGBTQ violence are an unfortunate side effect of life in a nation headed by a president who has openly boasted about groping women, but even so the story one NYC man relates about having been propositioned on the street - and then brutally attacked when he said no - is a shocking one.

The victim of the alleged attack, identified only as "Carlos," told Gay City News that he had been walking through Jackson Heights on his way home at around 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 13 when a man he did not know approached him and made sexual overtures. As Carlos tried to walk away, the man followed him, repeating his request for oral sex and reportedly grabbing his own genitals.

Reported GCN:

"When I looked back, he grabbed his penis and said, 'You want this?' I didn't pay attention to it," Carlos recalled. "When I turned around a second time, he said, 'Do you want to suck my dick?' I said, 'No.' "

But the man reportedly did not want to take no for an answer and launched an attack on Carlos, beating him and then stealing Carlos' cell phone and backpack.

The man demanded the phone's passcode, Carlos related, and as he tried to work the phone Carlos attempted to run away. The stranger caught up to him, however, and began to beat him again. When a passerby in a car stopped, Carlos told GCN, the attacker told the driver of the vehicle that he was defending himself against an attempted robbery.

Said Carlos:

"The guy in the car rolled his window and said something to him, but the man said I was trying to rob him — like he was the victim."

The attack continued with the assailant dragging Carlos and ordering him to surrender money. Finally, another passerby, seeing the attack in progress, phoned 911.

At that point, Carlos made his way to a police vehicle he saw on the street. He recalled that the police officers who helped him used an app that allows users to find lost or stolen cell phones, and were able to locate and arrest the alleged perpetrator.

Reported GCN:

The NYPD confirmed to Gay City News that 26-year-old Jelani Stewart of the Bronx was arrested on charges of robbery and public lewdness in connection to the incident.

Carlos got his phone back, but his backpack was lost, the article said.

Bias crimes against religious and racial minorities have spiked since the 2016 elections, as have hate crimes targeting LGBTQ Americans. A USA Today article from last summer reported:

....the number of crimes based on sexual orientation rose each year from 2014 to 2017, when 1,130 incidents were reported. Of those crimes, a majority targeted gay men.

But trans women of color have been another community hard hit by prejudicial violence. As of this writing, the Human Rights Campaign, which tracks lethal violence targeting transgender Americans, reports that 19 transgender people have been killed so far in 2019, almost all of them trans women of color.

The tragic tally for all of 2018 was, the HRC reports, "at least 26" trans-Americans killed.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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