Despite the tremendous advances made by gay people in recent years, violence against us continues, both from outside and from within our own community. Even in New York, a city that's been at the forefront of LGBT rights, a spate of particularly shocking incidents occurred in October 2010 -- first in the West Village and Chelsea, then very graphically in the Bronx -- proving that the role of the Anti-Violence Project (or AVP) is, here and now, as crucial as ever.
Founded in 1980 as a reaction to the inability or unwillingness of local law enforcement and the criminal legal system to properly deal with acts of anti-gay violence, AVP strives to educate the wider public about violence against -- and from within -- the LGBTQH (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected) community, and seeks to reform government policies and practices regarding survivors of this violence. It also provides a 24-hour hotline (212-714-1141), in Spanish and English, for professional and peer support of violence victims. In addition, the group tracks and compiles information about local violence against LGBTQH people, and uses this information to educate within our own communities, specifically in regard to safe dating, safe cruising, and recognizing the signs of abuse.
Beyond helping victims of anti-gay violence coming from outside the community (so-called bias or hate crimes), AVP assists those who experience violence from inside our own ranks, particularly victims of domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault, and the growing but little-discussed phenomenon of pick-up crimes. These crimes can occur when two or more strangers meet up for sex, be it mutually recreational or within the context of sex work.
Throughout the year, many local NYC events help support AVP in its work, such as the upcoming Will Clark Show at Pieces on December 29, 2010, and the second annual Spread the Love benefit on January 27, 2011, a production of Way Out Events. Donations to AVP are tax deductible and always welcome. Volunteers are also always needed, both for the help line and special events.
24-hour bilingual (English/Spanish) hotline: 212-714-1141