June 6, 2018 By Tara Law
LGBT activists and their allies will gather in Jackson Heights tonight to protest an assault on a LGBT man hours after the Queens Pride Parade and Festival on Sunday.
The protest, which will convene outside of the Jackson Heights Post Office at 78-02 37th Ave. at 6 p.m., will include representatives from at least 12 organizations, including pro-immigrant group Make the Road New York, Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, and pride parade organizing group Queens Pride.
A 25-year-old LGBT man was repeatedly punched in the face on Sunday by two men who spewed homophobic insults at him. The Queens Pride Parade had marched past the location a few hours before, celebrating LGBT openness, unity and self-expression.
Daniel Puerto, a 26-year-old LGBT activist who grew up in Jackson Heights and currently lives in East Elmhurst, decided to organize the protest shortly after learning about the attack.
“Although this month is about ‘pride,’ it’s also about standing up for what’s right,” said Puerto, referring to the annual celebration of LGBT rights in June. “We want to make sure that people know that this community will not tolerate hate.”
Puerto said that as a gay child growing up in Jackson Heights in the 90s, it was powerful for him to live in a neighborhood where many adults were openly LGBT.
“Our neighborhood is so vibrant and diverse,” said Puerto, adding that the assault does not fit into his image of the neighborhood. “To me, that’s not what Jackson Heights is.”
Puerto said that the event tonight will also express opposition to Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court Decision, which ruled that a Colorado baker can refuse to make gay couples wedding cakes.
Puerto said that the event will also merge with the New York branch of the “National Day of Action: Justice for Roxsana” protest.
The national protest is mobilizing in response to the death of Roxsana Hernandez, a transgender woman who died in ICE custody in New Mexico. The protest was originally going to take place outside ICE headquarters at 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan, but will now join the Jackson Heights protest.