Photographer's Gay-Bashing In Brooklyn Leads To Haunting Image

Categories: Gaaaaayyyyyy

SilenceDeath1.jpg

Fight back! Make art!

Thats what art photographer Iannis Delatolas did after being horribly gay bashed by a thug at a bar.

Here's what he told me:

"On the night of Friday the 17th of February, I went to Mission Dolores, a gay friendly bar in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn. The bar has a courtyard. I often go there with my dog Tulip because they allow dogs in the courtyard.

"I got in line to order a beer, and a white man in his mid twenties cut in front of me as I was about to order.

"I told him to wait his turn and he mouthed off some 'fuck you, you fucking queer'. I had some loud words with him, and he took his beer and left. I was shaken, I go there all the time, I never thought this would happen there.

"So I take my beer and go out in the courtyard. I sit in a corner table reflecting on what just happened. I am petting my dog and have a cigarette. I see the same guy across the courtyard, and he is in a table with 6 or 8 other people, men and women mixed crowd.

"He is looking at my direction and telling something to his friend pointing at me. I finish the beer and I head for the exit. I stop. 'Why should I be the one to leave?' I think. This is my hangout.

"I go to their table with my dog (a very friendly boxer). I start telling the guy how fucked up this is, and how I go there all the time. At this point the security guy comes to back me up. He saw the original confrontation. The fratboy says he is going to bash my head in. The security guy tells him to shut up and that maybe they should leave the bar.

"While I am having it out with the frat boy, a friend of his from that table, someone I had not even looked at or spoken to, jumps on me from my left and punches my head. I fall to the ground covering my head, while holding the leash. This happened very fast.

"He was not in my field of vision. He was able to get in 5 to 10 punches on my head before the bouncer got him off of me. I get up in a daze. I ask for a witness as I am dialing 911. The courtyard is packed with about 30 mostly white hipsters. No one comes forward.

"The attackers and their girlfriends flee the bar before the cops get there. The bouncer, a black man in his twenties, is my only witness. The security cameras, a total of 4, are not recording any of this. The police came, took a report. There is nothing that can be done since no one knows who they are.

"I had the idea of making this self-portrait the next day. I woke up feeling dreadful. The image of people in the courtyard avoiding my eyes as I am asking for a witness haunts me still. In New York City!?

"It has taken many weeks to start to feel normal. I have been going through PTSD. Telling people has been the hardest. The effect it had on my boyfriend and my mostly straight friends is almost as severe as what I went through. I consider myself lucky. This happened indoors. The bouncer saved my head. If this had happened outside, a lot worse could have happened to me.

"When I first came to New York in 1991 I went to Act Up and Queer Nation demonstrations. The Act Up shirt is part of my legacy. Making this image has helped me take back my dignity, it was my way of fighting back.

"Warmly,

"Iannis Delatolas"

PS: Delatolas says the bar owner was horrified by the incident and has been incredibly helpful and supportive through this.


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130 comments
Jack of Spades
Jack of Spades

"I go to their table with my dog (a very friendly boxer). I start telling the guy how fucked up this is, and how I go there all the time. At this point the security guy comes to back me up. He saw the original confrontation. The fratboy says "..... I'm queer and still think this young person should not have been hangin in a bar by him self.  Sad sak.

Laslugocki
Laslugocki

I am SO sorry this happened to you.  I love your portrait.  Stay strong.

Daisy
Daisy

Wow racist much? White hipsters didn't help, only black bouncer did the whole thing sounds made up or at least overly melodramatic

Peter Van Keuren
Peter Van Keuren

I haven't been in NYC in decades. When I was (in the 60's and early 70's) there were no warning signs at the entrances that these were gay bars. I don't know if there are now, but in Tucson, every gay bar has a sign posted at the front door that it's a gay establishment, and if someone finds that offensive, don't come in, and our bouncers don't put up with any bullshit from anyone.

Peter Van Keuren
Peter Van Keuren

Meta, in 1963, I was one of the last to get off the train at Battery Park, going to work one morning. As the door opened and people started going through, there was a commotion, and it took a few minutes for me to get out the door, where a man was lying face down on the platform. Everyone had stepped over him if not on him. I bent down to check him out. He had no pulse. I reported it to the guy in the token booth, who called the Port Authority. Again, how do these folks sleep at night.  I'd have hoped that things would have changed in 50 years, but if they have, apparently not enough. I'm not into all the religious bs that's come down over the last couple of thousand years, but I do believe, with all my heart, that Jesus had it right. We need to learn to take care of each other, not just ourselves. And we need to take care of this planet that we all live on. If it should interest anyone reading this, I heartily recommend checking out - http://mankindproject.org/, and http://mankindproject.org/new-... for those men who are ready to take a step in the right direction. Any change in the human condition HAS to come from within us, not from outside.  

kayzam
kayzam

hi guys. i can't go to bars yet so i get beat up in school so this mean when i'am older to go to bars i will get beat up too 'wow' just like old time.

Angela Favreau
Angela Favreau

DO NOT SIT THERE AND WATCH INJUSTICE HAPPEN.....STAND UP!!!!!!

Angela Favreau
Angela Favreau

This is something that happens way to often DO not sit back and watch injustice being done..... Stand UP !!!

Henningwill8
Henningwill8

I am sorry to hear about your horrible story.My heart goes out to you,Stand strong.When u need a hug..hug your dog...all the best

Ev592085
Ev592085

i would have been your witness :)

Peter Van Keuren, Oracle, AZ
Peter Van Keuren, Oracle, AZ

I only wish I had been there. There's nothing I enjoy more, than kicking straight homophobic ass, and I'm damned good at it.  And.. it galls me that no one except the bouncer would come to Iannis' aid.  It reminds me of an incident years ago, on a Sacramento CA train station platform, during the middle of the afternoon rush hour, where hundreds of commuters stood by and watched two young thugs beat a 61 year old Chinese man to death, for the few bucks he had in his pocket. I can't figure out how these people sleep at night. 

Ben Browning
Ben Browning

Iannis,

Thank you for speaking out. I'm pissed off that you got attacked. I'm pissed off that so many people have to live our lives looking over our shoulders, wondering when we'll be attacked for being "different" too. I wish you the best as you move forward from this ugly, all too typical event. Thank you for making what could have been just one more anonymous, disempowering incident into a wake-up call for others, and a potential spark for change. In love, and in solidarity, thank you.

Vodkastinger
Vodkastinger

This is heart breaking and I hate to say it, but this is becoming a trend in NYC nightlife.  I work at a gay bar and I see this kind of thing happen more than I'd like to.  Being a drag queen I get flack from a lot of people , but when it's an anti gay slur from a straight customer in a gay bar It shakes me.  A gay bar is where I go to feel safe and have fun, not be threatened.  It has happened 3 times in 6 months (to me personally, not counting others who have had similar experiences) I have my fingers crossed that these are isolated incidents but as it continues to happen more and more I wonder.  I feel for you, especially when you say that no one was willing to step forward as a witness.  You expect people to do the right thing.  ITS TIME TO TAKE BACK THE NIGHT LIFE!  I'll fight the good fight though, and most of the time people are out for the right reasons (to have a good time).  But I won't be threatened in my own home (Thank god our doormen protect me to the end).

Darlalou
Darlalou

There are idiots amd small minded people, everywhere. Its the fucking cowardly hipsters that make me sick. Indifference is dangerous.

I

Parvenu
Parvenu

If I ever go to a bar like that, I'm bringing a much fiercer dog. Maybe Cujo.

Wings
Wings

For the record, Act Up is a non violent group. I'm glad to hear the image above is strictly symbolic.

Amadyke2
Amadyke2

The real sissies were the ones you call "hipsters" ... I would have stood up for you becausethat's how I am and I"m a senior woman....why do they have four cameras and none were working...that's sick

Juanserrano70
Juanserrano70

HELLO!! there are a ton of stupid ignorant angry prejudiced people here. wake up!

Hotseato
Hotseato

Well as part of the support I hope the bar owner fixed the cameras to record!!!!! Why have them if they don't work??

Gothamwanderer
Gothamwanderer

The aftermath of an incident is far worse then cuts and bruises ,when they disappear the rest of the world thinks you are fine ........I was attacked myself ....followed by the Maui Police Department's assumption that I must have made a pass at the bastard since i was able to hold him down until they arrived   .....Thank You for showing your strength to the community after coming in contact with a pent up coward ..........

AT
AT

As a gay man who is really, truly looking out for our kind, I am appalled that you would approach this guy (let alone TWICE) and instigate an argument only to later deem his defense "gay-bashing". Sure he called you "queer", but the violence that ensued resulted from you picking a fight (again, TWICE). You sure as hell do not deserve praise for the portrait above. Gay guys like you set the rest of us back by a decade.

Joyce Chen
Joyce Chen

Good for the bouncer! As some people have written here, the descriptors of group and race are necessary because not only do they provide a more nuanced picture of what happened, but exhibits the fact that bashing and the subsequent silence can be perpetuated by groups you don't expect. And that alliance and safety can often come from someone whom is often stereotyped as being an aggressor.

Michael B. Welch
Michael B. Welch

Iannis stood his ground. Good for him. Glad to see the bar owner and security guard were supportive.

tt
tt

As i read this i am horrified, but what scares me more are poeples comments about the use of white man, black man, hispters etc.  For petes sake a man was beaten because someone thought he was gay.  Lets not loose sight people really.

Guffaa
Guffaa

Those bastards are idiots, what are they doing in a gay bar if they hate gay people so much ? Best of luck to you, hope you'll recover well, and hopefully someone will find those people who did this to you, support from Iceland

heresyourcopy
heresyourcopy

it bugs me that so many comments here seem to be trying to justify the mob's behavior and imply the author had it coming. it's good that he confronted them on their bullshit and I'm glad he didn't just let it go. i hope those guys see this and see what goons they are.

Doug
Doug

I don't know how I would have reacted myself but I would like to think I'd try to help in someway if I was there. It is hard to say and I really hope you can get past this attack in the future. Hate crimes, muggings, etc are all attacks from people you have no ability to ward against... just to recover from.

Khan
Khan

It's a similar scenario to the hijacked plane in many ways whereas a few people overrule the crowd by fear. If people were taught how to act as a mass of a support group in such a scenario , none of this would ever happen. Had the hipsters know how to form a group and act as a unit to protect an outside and not be fearful this would have ended very differently.. this way.. everyone is still shocked fearful but no one actually acts in the moment. Thats the problem. 

Kewljim
Kewljim

Kudos for the bar owner but perhaps more security cameras need to be installed.

David Wolfe
David Wolfe

Take care and we all need to band together. But it's sad to say we will never end the hate...

EvidenceVault
EvidenceVault

sorry to hear, but this is crying wolf and hardly qualifies as a 'gay bashing' incident. portions of the author's own narrative suggest he contributed significantly to escalating the situation. 

first of all, if you're in a bar full of drunk people and have a confrontation with someone you don't know, the last thing you have any business doing is approaching that person's table and their friends a) with a strange dog at your side b) without being invited and c) without having suffered any further 'provocation' other than the paranoid belief that you're being talked about. it doesn't help the author's credibility that he obsessively references a member of the other party as "fratboy" which is virtually as presumptuous, discriminatory, ignorant and completely harmless as being called a "queer" while standing in a beer line. i guess a "white hipster" is easy to spot but how would the author even know whether somebody is member of a fraternity and if he was...what is iannis implying? maybe someone ought to tell him there are gay fraternities, too...

secondly, since when it it a bouncer's job to "back up" some guy who spontaneously confronts eight patrons sitting at a completely different table? if anything, the bouncer's job would have been to eject the author before he got himself hurt. instead the opposite happened? which leads me to ask how the supposed attacker got in "eight ot ten punches" if the bouncer was standing right there getting his 'back'. i know i won't be patronizing this bar anytime soon. mainly because mapquest doesn't cover the twilight zone.

next time, the author should just leave well enough alone and if he decides to march up and force his opinons on a bunch of drunk folks in a bar, i only hope he leaves the dog chained up somewhere so he doesn't endanger the animal in addition to himself.

no matter where you go, there are idiots. just you try to shake them. it won't happen. some idiots don't have the best manners or vocabularies at their disposal. get accustomed. it doesn't make them gay bashers because they say the word "queer" then punch you in the head when you challenge them while holding a dog who only y-o-u knew was friendly.

i also hope that no legitimate gay bashing  incident was ignored by any member of the media because they were prooccupied with promoting this prelude to a lawsuit.

LIMEN !
LIMEN !

Iannis, I'm happy you made you statement. But my good man we Italians use metal base ball bats, thy hold up better. I promise they will get thiers. I would be proud to to know you and be your friend. Please watch your back!

JP
JP

This may sound a bit, insensitive but..

Is this really considered a gay bashing?  People use terms like "queer" or "faggot" all the time and aren't necessarily referring to the gayness (no I'm not saying its at all okay to use those words, but SouthPark did a pretty clever episode on it). The power dynamic seems different. Usually when I think if a gay bashing I think of someone who is minding their own business but becomes the center of negative attention. In this situation, while he didn't initially provoke the situation and it seems he provoked the second argument (I say argument since a bouncer felt the need to intervene). Going up to a bunch of drunk people and saying "how fucked up" a situation is probably not going to end well, ever.

However, I am truly sorry he had to experience this, such violence is not only stupid but traumatizing. I'm sorry hes having flashbacks and wish him well.

kayzam
kayzam

Fire the security guard.

LIMEN !
LIMEN !

KAYZAM, Don't ever let these pathetic excuses of human beings get you down! Be true to your self. And learn some form of martial arts.There are a number of verious systems of sels-defense out there to learn to protect your self. Maybe some day you'll find the right person to stand back to back with. Hang in there my man! Be proud, your one of a kind.And that makes you very special!

Peter Van Keuren
Peter Van Keuren

Kayzam, you just hang in there. Get involved in the It Gets Better Project. I promise you that it will not always be this way. Believe me, it WAS worse, much worse. It IS, very slowly getting better. It looks like it's worse because we're making more noise about it, and we're upsetting people who don't like it. Be a warrior! And yet, be a loving one, every bit that you can.  :-)

Crazydaysandnights
Crazydaysandnights

I've read a lot of stories recently of not necessarily just of homophobic incidents, but of straight folk in general essentially taking over our bars, or hangouts. They come usually because gay bars have better music, better drinks, better service. But also a lot of straight folk will go into these areas essentially as a means to point and laugh at the "freaks", which is what they consider us. It's not just an NYC thing, but in NYC, as we all know, it's a melting pot. A lot of "bro" types will come from other bars and go to the gay bar to get a drink, without respecting where they are. 

Now, that is not to say it's a bad thing more straight people are going to gay bars, it CAN be a great thing. But the issue comes in when straight people go to our bars and don't respect the clientele. That's how situations like this occur. Whether the intent was gay-bashing or not, the fact words f'in queer were used in this setting against a man who is gay is totally unacceptable and is an indicator that some people simply aren't able to associate in a social setting with people who are different than them, or at all, really. Slurs like that may not be checked by their fellow douchebag friends but when they come into our territory or a bar that is openly gay-friendly, they need to realize where things stand and what is expected of them. 

I also think that all gay/gay-friendly bars would do well to EMPHASIZE that openly. That we do serve and support the gay community, so you better understand where you're going before you do something you will regret or do something to harm our patrons.

Devore
Devore

Well, let's not hate on hipsters. Then were guilty of the same prejudice as the gay bashers.

Vidi
Vidi

"Pick a fight"??? Didn't the guy pick a fight for jumping ahead of the line? And are you saying we should never fight back or question these assaults, just sit back like nice little queers and let it blow over???

Michael B. Welch
Michael B. Welch

@EvidenceVault... Where do I start? 

"a) with a strange dog at your side". Iannis and Tulip were REGULARS at that place. If the basher was afraid of dogs, he should not be in a place that allows dogs and certainly should not be antagonizing somebody who has a dog with them.

"b) without being invited ". Actually the basher invited the situation when he cut in line and call Iannis a fucking queer.

"c) without having suffered any further 'provocation' other than the paranoid belief that you're being talked about."  You don't see the earlier situation as sufficient provocation? Really?

"secondly, since when it it a bouncer's job to "back up" some guy who spontaneously confronts eight patrons sitting at a completely different table?"  When the bouncer has already witnessed the first provocation and is knowingly backing up a REGULAR patron at the bar versus a crowd of eight who are oblivious to the fact they are in a gay friendly establishment.

Actually, the more I read over your comments, them more I wonder if you were one of the group of eight people yourself?

Sab
Sab

If someone approaches you with words and you respond with words, your response is completely appropriate. If the guy jumps up and tries top knock you unconscious, that's inappropriate.

If you're so drunk you attack someone who is speaking to you- You are at fault.If you're so aggressive you attack someone for speaking to you- You are at fault.

Victim blaming, justifying, and trivializing violence perpetuate violence.

WhattaCreep
WhattaCreep

Stop blaming the victim. You're basically telling gay people to shut up and take it when someone uses slurs against us, and telling us that we deserve to get beaten up if we stand up for ourselves. FUCK YOU. I hope you get straightbashed and see what it feels like.

LIMEN !
LIMEN !

What is it that you young gay people do not understand about gay self-dignity, and selfrespect? I've been fighting for mine and your self -preservation for more than 40 years! I've had a dear friend in his 30s stabbed more than 70 times and castrated and no one ever went to jail! Remember what happened to a kid named Mathew who was tied to a fence and beaten to death. Or can you even begin to concern, conceive, or feel for all the thousands of gays that are murdered every year, and are not stats, because the law just doesn't care. AT, you say Iannis what? "Set the rest of us back by a decade." You need a good reality check. Iannis just wasn't standing up for his rights, he was standing up for your rights also. I'm a country boy. I'm not an other limp wristed neat appearanced, pretty mannequin who sets inactive when others need help. Thay's man, woman, child, or a helpless animal. WhattaCreep, all gays should learn martial arts or some form of selfdefense abilities. We are going to need it in the years to come. As for the bat you go for the knee-caps or the shins. Because they'll do worse to you. I would of thought by now 2012, that we would not have to be subjected to this kind of society, as gay people are. I just found out that a friend of my 36 year old son and mine. A young 23 year old gay boy named Cory, who lived in West Virginia could not take the abuse that his family and others imposed on him every day. So he toke a rope and put it around his neck, and shot up a heavy dose of heroin. And when he passed out he hung himself!  My heart is broken. HE WAS A GOOD KID. BUT HE COULD NOT SEE NO OTHER WAY OUT! Where were you, for Cory?

WhattaCreep
WhattaCreep

I think you might get charged with assault with a deadly weapon if you use a metal bat. Wood will still fuck someone up real good, but you're less likely to kill them and may see less jailtime if you get caught.

redblue
redblue

 Thank you! i was looking for this comment all the way down the thread. I'm in complete agreement with you. Obviously this is a very sensitive subject and it's awful that he got attacked in the first place; that behavior is abhorrent and should not be tolerated. But, in looking at the label of this attack as a 'gay-bashing,' i would have to disagree. This was a bar fight. Gay people can get into bar fights just like everyone else. Nothing from the context of this story leads me to believe that this man was attacked because he is gay. They had their initial altercation over who was next in line at the bar. News flash - this can happen to anyone. The -frat guy- used language that is demeaning to the gay community. Again, this is unacceptable and i'm not condoning it in any way; it shouldnt be tolerated. But look at the intent. He didnt walk up to the guy and start shit, calling him a fag and taunting him; he wanted a beer. Homophobic people, usually men, use these choice words because they grow up believing that they are the most hurtful and emasculating things you can call other men. I believe this was reactionary, keeping in mind we only have the perspective from one person in this altercation. He even admits himself that he was heated, several times...what did he say? We dont know. Furthermore, he had the ability to walk away from the whole episode. To insinuate that two or three guys were going to jump him because they were 'pointing,' is sensational. But it didnt matter anyway, because this guy decided to walk up to a large group of drunk people and start yelling at them, presumably about how that was 'his space' and how it's so 'fucked up' what the guy did. What did he do again? Oh, he cut him in line for a beer and then called him a name WHILE ARGUING BACK AND FORTH. The evidence just isnt there. This is just a drunk bar fight and that's it. It's not a 'gay-bashing' just because a gay man got into a fight.

heresyourcopy
heresyourcopy

you need to give up the notion that people can say queer/faggot etc. with no hateful intent. south park can do all the episodes they want but it doesn't make it okay for some asshole to hurl it at another person. if somebody thinks they can get away with saying it in this context, then they're just stupid.

Luv
Luv

Whether you went up to someone to express resentment over the way they treated you (which involved them used anti-gay epithets) or whether you were just sitting there, yes, it is a gay bashing. I guess we can't go into the heads of each offender and find out "Are they just using the g word or do they really mean it?" But just the fact that they use the g word to mean something horrible is proof enough to me that they're homophobic. It is very insensitive of you to put in your two cents trying to someone belittle the claims of the victim, especially right after the victim himself left such a lovely comment.

kayzam
kayzam

hi peter.so the next time i get beat up i 'll say u promise it get better hea' the bearing dose get better. as far as the noise go my friends r killing them self i try but i chichen out.

corrective_unconscious
corrective_unconscious

Hint: If you're going to verbally confront any sort of demonstrated, virulent bigot in any public space, you obviously ought to have it in mind that they're not going to behave in a civilized way. That means be prepared for an escalation or don't confront them in the first place. Those are your two choices. Realistic choices, I meant.

Luv
Luv

"which involved them using..."

Luv
Luv

and "trying to belittle..."

Sorry, I typed it too quickly.

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