NYC Gay Man Harassed By Enraged Homophobe

(screen capture via Twitter/AdamEli)

On Sunday afternoon, as Adam Eli, a community organizer in New York City, made his way out of the 28th Street subway station, he was followed and verbally harassed for being gay.

Eli, who is openly gay and Jewish, told local news station PIX 11, “I’m sort of assuming they read that I was gay cause of the purse and also I have a patch on my butt,” referring to a pink handbag he was carrying and a gay pride patch on his jeans.

Eli immediately began recording the encounter on his phone which quickly went viral.

As the man followed him, he pointed directly at Eli and demanded he remove his pink yarmulke (kippah).

On the video, you can hear Eli ask, “Because I’m gay and wearing a kippah…is that why?”

“You’re desecrating the name of God,” said the homophobe as he began quoting verses from Leviticus. “You will be murdered! Take the kippah off.”

Continuing down the sidewalk, Eli told the man, “No – this is my life and my city. I don’t have to take my kippah off.”

“Stay in the closet!” yelled the man, his voice rising in volume. “Make sure your closet is in another closet! Take your kippah off! This is not Judaism!”

“I’m cisgender, white, I have a social media platform I have resources and that’s the type of violence that I’m getting,” Eli told PIX 11 in an interview.

“If that’s the type of violence that one of the most privileged members of our community is getting, can you imagine what it’s like every day in the subway to be a trans person or a gender non-conforming person or a queer person of color?”

In a series of tweets, Eli explained his reasons for sharing the encounter with his followers.

“ I spent the first 18 years of my life listening to people tell me I couldn’t be gay and Jewish,” he began. “Today I love my queer Jewish identity and nobody is taking that away from me.”

Eli says he didn’t report the incident to the police because he “didn’t see how that could help.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio became aware of the encounter and tweeted his support writing, “It takes courage to confront homophobia and tell a story like this.”

“I’m sorry you had to go through this, Adam,” continued the mayor. “But we’re proud of how you responded. There’s no place for hate in this city.”

(source: PIX 11)

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