By Bill Parry
The 115th Precinct is investigating the appearance of anti-gay fliers that were discovered on cars around Jackson Heights last weekend. The hate literature, written in English and Spanish, quotes Romans 1:18-32.
“And the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error,” it says. In the upper right hand corner there is a hand clutching a bible in front of the LGBT movement’s flag.
City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) was deeply troubled by one passage in particular. “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die,” it reads.
“These fliers are deeply disturbing because it’s advocating for the killing of gay people,” Dromm said. “Right at the bottom. I’ve never seen that passage in bold print and it’s the farthest I’ve ever seen anyone go with this. It is disgusting and needs to be condemned by all of the good people of Jackson Heights in the strongest possible way.”
In July, the Jackson Heights LGBT community joined together for a candlelight vigil marking the 25th anniversary of Julio Rivera’s brutal anti-gay murder. Dromm became a notable figure in the rise of gay-rights organizations in the neighborhood in the years that followed the Rivera murder, which led to the founding of the annual Queens Pride Parade, the second largest Pride event in New York City drawing 40,000 spectators annually.
“It is frightening when you see stuff like this,” Dromm said. “However, we have learned to live with the hatred. Still I can’t help but think maybe a child lives in the home of the person that is distributing these fliers. What if the child is at the stage where he or she is questioning there own sexuality and they’d see this flier. What type of impact could that have? That could be devastating for that child.”
He is also troubled about the fliers’ religious tone. “Many of the churches have condemned us and used religion against us for centuries,” he said. “However, the translation on this flier may be manipulated.”
Dromm heard about the fliers from several constituents and alerted Deputy Inspector Brian Hennessy at the 115th Precinct, who does not comment on ongoing investigations.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr