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NEW YORK – Two gay men were attacked after leaving a movie theater in Chelsea late Tuesday night, police said.
The incident, which is being investigated as a hate crime, took place at around midnight after the couple left the Bow Tie Chelsea Cinema on 23rd between 7th and 8th.
The two victims, ages 53 and 27, were holding hands when they were approached by two other men who yelled anti-gay slurs, according to police. The victims, 27 and 53, were then attacked by the two men, as well as four others who joined in.
One of the victims suffered a laceration to his face. The other needed seven stitches in his chin.
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The New York City Anti-Violence Project says reports of hate violence increased 4% for LGBTQ and HIV-affected New Yorkers in 2012, continuing a three-year trend in increased violence locally, despite a national decrease in violence.
GLAAD's national spokesperson Wilson Cruz issued the following statement today:
"The rising number of anti-LGBT attacks around the country is staggering and needs to be addressed immediately. Nobody should have to fear simply walking down a street in their own neighborhood because of who they are."
“I am appalled by reports that two men were senselessly beaten in Chelsea simply because they were perceived to be gay. Holding hands as they walked down West 24th Street, they were assaulted as their attackers hurled anti-gay slurs," Christine Quinn, Speaker for the New York City Council, said about the latest in a long string of anti-gay violence in New York. "The cowardly individuals who committed this crime do not represent New Yorkers and our community will not be cowed by such violence. New York City’s greatest strength is our diversity, and we will not stand for attacks against anyone, for any reason."