A relentless homophobe followed and threatened a gay Jewish activist outside a Manhattan subway station in a scary exchange caught on video and retweeted Monday night by Mayor de Blasio.
Adam Eli, 28, of Manhattan tweeted a one-minute video of the Sunday morning encounter, showing the man following him as he left the 28th St. and Broadway R and W station.
“He asked me if he could talk to me and then he told me I needed to take my kippah off,” Eli told the Daily News. “I started to walk away. He started following me and he started yelling.”
Trigger Warning: violent speech, harassment. I got harassed, followed and threatened on the street today. Someone was upset that I was wearing a pink kippah, carrying a purse and had a pride patch sewn onto my jeans. I am sharing the encounter for three reasons. 1. I spent the first 18 years of my life listening to people tell me I couldn’t be gay and Jewish. Today I love my queer jewish idenitity and nobody is taking that away from me. 2. This type of harassment is a fraction of what our trans and gender non-conforming family get every single day. In this moment I was able to stand up to my attacker NOT because I am brave but because I am a white well resourced man who got harassed in a well lit heavily trafficked place. What happens when a white man attacks a black trans women late at night? What if the cops are called? We all know who’s side they will be on. 3. To my fellow cis white gays who generally ‘pass’ for being hetro in public: this is whats out there. Most of the time we can get on the subway, go for a run or go on a date in peace. That does not mean our struggle for queer liberation is over. Racism, transphobia, xenophobia, islamophobia, anti semitism and ableism hold hands. As our ancestors taught us - none of us are safe until all of us are safe. Queer culutre does not mean going to Equinox and getting brunch. Queer culutre is about fighting for your community and all margnizlied people. PS - I am posting this now bc it feels like the right thing to do. I might change my mind based on its reception and what folks say. Maybe I am wrong and this shouldn't be online. If you think so please tell me! I have every right to post something and then decide to take it down <3
A post shared by Adam Eli (@adameli) on
The man followed Eli onto the street.
“Leave me alone. What, because I’m gay and wearing a kippah?” Eli said as he walked away. The man responded, “It’s a Chillul Hashem,” referring to an act that descrates the name of god.
“You’ll be murdered for it. Take the kippah off,” the man said.
Eli responds, “This is my life and my city. I don’t have to take the kippah off.”
The man then raised his voice, screaming, “Stay in the closet! Make sure your closet is in another closet!”
De Blasio praised Eli’s courage when he retweeted the video Monday night. “I’m sorry you had to go through this, Adam. But we’re proud of how you responded. There’s no place for hate in this city,” he wrote.
It takes courage to confront homophobia and tell a story like this.
I’m sorry you had to go through this, Adam. But we’re proud of how you responded.
There’s no place for hate in this city. https://t.co/9SqgfRQhJd
Eli told The News he walked into a store across the street to escape the man, then changed his route to avoid him.
He said he shared video of the incident on Instagram and Twitter to show the kind of harassment members of the LGBTQ community face.
“I’m white, I’m not transgender, I have a job," he said. “If this is the rage that’s being projected at the most privileged member of our community... can you imagine what it’s like for other people who face this every single day?”