While there has definitely been progress in acceptance of the idea that the LGBT community has the right to full and equal participation in society, we should not be too complacent either, because there are still pockets of vicious anti-gay sentiment out there, even in supposedly sophisticated urban cities of the northeast like Philadelphia (which translates as ‘brotherly love’), where just last week a gay couple on a street in the city center was viciously attacked by a group of men and women.
According to police, the men were assaulted on Chancellor Street near 16th just before 11 p.m. They were walking to Mama Angelina’s, a pizza joint on Locust Street near 13th, to get some slices after sharing ice cream with one of their mothers.
Eventually, the couple, who have been together for six years, crossed paths with about a dozen twentysomethings dressed for a night on the town, according to the victims.
Someone in the group brushed shoulders with one of the men. Without provocation, another group member asked him: “Who is that, you’re f—ing boyfriend?”
“Yes, he is my boyfriend,” the victim replied.
Then all hell broke loose.
The group of men and women descended on the duo, savagely pummeling them in the face and chest. At one point, one of the victims watched as his boyfriend was slammed into the ground, his head hitting the sidewalk with a sickening thud.
All the while, the attackers spat homophobic taunts.
What is interesting is the role of social media in this case. The police released video of a group of people walking down the street just prior to the attack and social media quickly jumped in to do some sleuthing and provided leads to the police. This article discusses how social media using Facebook and Twitter managed to quickly zero on possible suspects. Attorneys for the suspects are now reportedly arranging to have them turn themselves in.
A local news station talked to one of the people on social media who helped in the investigation about how it worked.