Saturday, June 10, 2006

Kevin Aviance attacked in East Village

Kevin Aviance attacked in East Village
AvianceI just heard tonight on WCBS TV-Channel 2 that well-known entertainer Kevin Aviance (at left, was attacked by four young men as he was walking home early last night from the Phoenix Bar in the East Village. (On the station's site, they attempt to racialize the story, though they fail to mention that Aviance, an openly gay entertainer, is also "black.") Aviance suffered head injuries in the attack, and walked himself to Beth Israel, where he's currently listed as in stable condition. According to his publicist, who was interviewed on the news clip, he probably will not be able to perform in previously scheduled New York gay pride festivities this upcoming weekend. Another disturbing aspect of the story, as CBS is reporting it, is that the attack occurred on a "crowded street," but no one apparently came to Aviance's aid or drove off the attackers. (I'm not sure about this aspect of the story, however, and will wait to see and read more.) The attack on Aviance is not isolated; as Bernie, Larry Lyons, Rod, Andrés, and so many other bloggers have reported for quite some time, violence against black LGBTs and other people of color, and LGBTs in general, resulting in serious injuries and death, is hardly uncommon. Despite all the talk of tolerance and the transformation of social views about LGBTs, far too frequently such attacks are underreported by the mainstream media, except when they can be sensationalized, and underinvestigated by the authorities. In this case, the violence was directed at a notable public figure like Aviance, so it has gotten some media attention.

Update: Today, the New York Times's Kareem Fahim offers a informative account of the attack: "3 Arrested in Attack on Singer on East Side." According to him, the four attackers broke Aviance's jaw, dragged him to the curb, threatened to kill him, used anti-gay epithets, and claimed he "was not diesel." None of the bystanders assisted him as the attack was underway, but someone did come to his aid after the assault had ended.

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