#NewYorkCity

A New York City Cabbie Told His Gay Passenger That He Didn't Want To Drive Him Anywhere

We have another instance of a driver denying service to a gay rider.

Last month, an Indiana Lyft driver kicked out his two passengers after they shared a quick kiss while in transit.

Now, two men in New York City were denied service after being directly asked if one was gay.

New Yorker Ryan Smith spoke to WNBC to recount the night. He says that he and a friend were on their way to Brooklyn from Manhattan when their taxi driver stopped their conversation.

The driver asked Smith. “Are you gay?”

Smith then recalls being perplexed by the question.

“We were like: ‘Uh?’” he told WNBC

“But before we could ask again, he was like, ‘Are you a gay man?'”

 “‘Yes, I am.'”

"He was like: ‘I don’t drive gays.’ So I was shocked.”

While Smith was shocked at this point, the two asked the driver to let them off at the lower East Side and took a picture of his medallion number.

Smith shared that his “head was spinning at this point, I just wanted to get us out of the back seat of this bigot’s cab.”

While they haven’t been able to reach the taxi driver yet, a spokesperson for the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission said:

“This driver’s behavior, as described, was totally egregious and unacceptable, and we encourage you to report it to the TLC via 311 or NYC.GOV Online so that we may hold him fully accountable for his actions.”

Again, the taxi driver hasn’t been found yet, but the TLC plans to revoke his license when they are able to find and reach him.

As for Smith, he wants justice and to move past this moment.

“This is not alright… not here in New York City, and not anywhere.”

h/t: NBCNewYork

Hate Speech-Ranting Manhattan Lawyer Just Lost His Office, Maybe His Job

As members of the LGBTQ+ community, we’ve all had hate speech directed at us, and we know just how violent it is. It is dehumanizing, and it can make us feel fundamentally unsafe.

So it’s hard not to find some satisfaction in how quickly things are crashing down around attorney Aaron Schlossberg, 44, who was seen shouting deplorable, racist remarks at the employees of a Midtown Manhattan Fresh Kitchen in a video that went viral on Wednesday.

“If you are running a place in Midtown Manhattan, your staff should be speaking English, not Spanish!” he yells in the vid. And that’s pretty much the nicest thing he said.

As the store’s young, overburdened manager attempted to quietly escort Schlossberg from the establishment, the ranting just got worse. In a loud voice that certainly was overheard by anyone in the Fresh Kitchen, Schlossberg threatened to call ICE to have each of the restaurant’s employees “kicked out of my country.”

It’s no wonder the upsetting video rapidly caught fire. What is somewhat surprising is how rapidly the fallout followed behind. For starters, Schlossberg has been kicked out of his Manhattan workspace. He had a Midtown office on Madison Avenue (right across the street from the Fresh Kitchen) for his private law firm, but has been banned from the premises.

Hayim Grant, president of Corporate Suites which operates the building, told The New York Post: “We have terminated his service agreements with us. His actions are just not consistent with our community and rules and regulations … It’s totally contrary to everything we believe in as a company and personally.”

Furthermore, Schlossberg might lose his job. Congressman Adriano Espaillat and Bronx Borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. served a formal complaint against Schlossberg to the New York State Unified Court System’s Departmental Disciplinary Committee. If the complaint is supported by the committee, Schlossberg’s law license could be revoked.

In one of the more gratifying and undeniably funny videos you’ll see this week, Schlossberg sprinted away from NBC News reporters on Thursday. Enjoy:

https://twitter.com/NBCNewYork/status/997214014378856450

Right now, it looks like this lawyer really needs to find a lawyer. The positive takeaway from this whole lamentable ordeal is that it suggests this kind of behavior is now more unacceptable than ever. It’s hard not to be curious about where Schlossberg’s saga will go from here.

For more about the Schlossberg fallout: https://nypost.com/2018/05/17/racist-lawyer-kicked-out-of-his-office-space/

Former NY Firefighter "Coerced" Into Proving Manhood With Stripper

A former FDNY firefighter in Queens, New York, has filed a lawsuit alleging mental and emotional stress during his probationary period that included “hazing rituals” and homophobic slurs.

Michael Troina is seeking unspecified damages for being “singled out time and time again on account of his race and national origin as a Hispanic American male as well as perceived homosexuality . . . and was further threatened with physical violence if he dared to report any incident of battery, harassment or discrimination to the FDNY’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office,” according to the New York Post.

Troina says during his probation period he was called a “closet homo;” was told being Hispanic made him bad at his job; and was forced to eat orange juice with a fork from 12 different plates.

He claims co-workers “coerced” him into going to a strip club where he was encouraged to have sex with a stripper to prove his manhood. When he refused, he says he was called “faggot” and “loser.”

Troina also says he was excluded from a firehouse volleyball outing where he was later informed he was rundown with homophobic insults.

Last year, the New York Post reported on the aspiring firefighter’s story saying, “firefighters covered his car in peanut butter, toilet paper and nails; challenged him to fight; shoved him; called him a ‘bitch,’ ‘loser’ and ‘fa—t’; put up mocking photos of him, and stomped on his bunker gear.”

Troina says when he reported incidents to his superiors he was told to “not take it too hard.”

 

His lawsuit names New York City, the New York City Fire Department, 14 firefighters and FDNY fire commissioner Daniel Nigro as defendants.

Troina was fired one week before the end of his probation period. The FDNY says he was dismissed after a “failed evaluation.”

(images via Facebook/Flickr)

NYC Theatre Goers Are Excited For A New Interactive Play About HIV In the Black Gay Community

Theatre lovers are getting excited for a new play focusing on HIV awareness in the gay community and specifically in black gay men.

As Billboard reports, a new play by the name of As Much As I Can is getting ready to debut in New York City. The play hopes to start a dialogue about how HIV affects gay men of color and it’s being put up with the help of HIV/AIDS awareness group ACCELERATE! and its father company ViiV Healthcare.

“It's a reflection of the resilience, faith, love and hope black gay men need to carry on against the odds and stigma,” Marc Meachem, ViiV Healthcare's head of external affairs, said.

As ViiV Healthcare’s website states:

"’As Much as I Can’ invites audiences into the lives of four Black gay men, exploring the complex relationships they have to faith, family, community, friends and themselves. Audiences are also invited to experience the disruptions, dreams, disappointments and resiliencies of these men’s lives.”

The stories in As Much As I Can are based on real experiences shared by Black gay men from Baltimore and Jackson.

On top of that, the play is also an interactive one where the audience can participate in the storytelling.

As Meachem stated to Billboard:

“Theater people describe immersive theater as removing the 'fourth wall,' a barrier between the performance and the audience,” he said. “Removing this barrier creates the opportunity to bring about a deeper connection with the subject. The audience engages at a different level, and we believe this can help people look at their own biases, as well as those of society, more objectively.”

With men of color, and specifically gay and bisexual black men, being the most at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, it’s great that stories like As Much As I Can are shining a light on the problem and sharing stories about it.

As Much As I Can will be playing at Harlem Parish in New York City from May 8 to May 24. You can get tickets for free at amaicny.com.

A New York City Math Teacher Was Arrested For Having Sex With A Middle School Boy

A Brooklyn middle school teacher was arrested for having sex with a male student.

Just a few weeks ago, Andre Braddy, 34, was a popular and well-respected math and advanced algebra teacher at Lenox Academy, PS 235.

Then, a student told his mother he’d had sex with the teacher, which led to the mother contacting the police. That led to the police setting up a monitored call between the teacher and student, which led to Braddy’s arrest.

Police say that Braddy had oral and anal sex with the student three times between March 19 and April 20. All of these encounters happened on the school premises in either a classroom or in a bathroom.

Plus, police found sexually charged texts and pictures shared between the two. In one text, Braddy apologized for taking the boy’s virginity and asked if he liked the photos Braddy sent.

“He was really important to us,” 14-year-old Lenox Academy student Amari Aaron, told The New York Times. “It’s devastating to hear he’d do something like this. Nobody thought he’d be capable.”

Other people have also noted how Braddy seemed like a remarkable man before the news came out. For instance, his lawyer said he was a “remarkable success story.”

“His father's been in and out of jail. He attended CUNY where he received a full scholarship,” Stoll told the New York Daily News. “He works seven days a week. On Sundays he teaches math and calculus at Medgar Evers College.”

Stoll said Braddy lives with his mom and his “severely disabled, autistic sister, who he takes care of.”

Unfortunately, all of that good has been overturned by the revelation that Braddy was having sexual relations with one of his students.

Braddy is now being charged with three counts each of engaging in criminal sexual acts and sexual misconduct, four counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and a count of second-degree criminal sexual acts.

The former teacher was held on $75,000 bond or $25,000 case bail, placed in protective custody and on suicide watch.

If convicted, Braddy could be facing up to 7 years in prison. He’s expected to be back in court on May 1.