Multiple queer and trans people were violently attacked in a reported anti-LGBT+ rampage in New York bars over the Fourth of July weekend.
They told Gay City News that they had left a rooftop party with friends and were walking towards the gay bar Happyfun Hideaway, when they heard a man yelling anti-LGBT+ slurs about Paperboy Prince, a non-binary rapper who was a candidate for New York City mayor in the 2021 election.
The man then reportedly began attacking one of Lee’s friends while holding a bottle and a pipe. Lee immediately intervened.
The alleged attacker, described by Lee as a “240-pound buff-ass bodybuilder” wearing a Bugs Bunny onesie, punched them in the face and knocked them to the ground.
They said at the time they thought: “It’s either I get up and protect myself, or that could have been the end of me”.
“I got my mind back together,” Lee continued. “I was like, ‘Hey you can’t get murdered in Brooklyn, so you need to get up and protect other people.’”
They began to fight back and pepper-sprayed the man, but onlookers assumed Lee was the attacker.
“I was scared because Black trans people are always made to be depicted as the aggressor in a situation,” they said.
Luckily, Lee and their friends made it out of the situation and were walked home by another individual, but they were left covered in bruises, with a black eye and swollen knee.
They wrote on Instagram later that they were “hurt because this was a traumatising event and my anxiety is on 1000 per cent”.
Attacker returned to Brooklyn gay bar to continue rampage
The alleged attacker reportedly returned to the Happyfun Hideaway as well as other bars in Brooklyn, New York, to attack more queer people with a broom in a violent rampage, and reportedly vandalised Paperboy Prince’s car.
Lee said they did not report the incident to police because, as a Black trans person, they have been discriminated against on multiple occasions.
“I didn’t call the police because nine times out of 10, I wasn’t going to be believed,” they told Gay City News.
“Or it was going to be made to seem like it has something to do with prostitution.”
Happyfun Hideaway waited days before posting about the attacks on social media, sharing a photo of the alleged perpetrator and writing: “BE CAREFUL OUT THERE. Dear friends, it has been brought to our attention over the last few days that this person has been attacking queer and trans people in the Myrtle Avenue area.
“They are dangerous and seriously injured a person on 4 July. We love you all please stay safe.”
Lee said that there was no security at the bar, and that the delay in response was “deplorable”.
The bar told Gay City News that it has now hired more security.