This documentary, Out in the Night, is screening in NYC this weekend at the Human Rights Film Festival. I'm so bummed I can't go, but am hoping some GT-er will go and report. The documentary focuses on the 2006 case of a group of black queer women from Jersey who went to hang out in Greenwich Village because of its reputation as a space of acceptance. The were followed and attacked by a black street vendor. The media worked itself into a homophobic frenzy about "killer lesbians." The New York Times first story was headlined, "Man is Stabbed in Attack After Admiring a Stranger." Keep that headline in mind while you read the description below.
The women charged with a "gang attack" were not allowed to offer evidence of their previous histories of assault and police violence as context for their response (which in itself is BS because you don't need to excuse clear self-defense). Three of the women served time in prison despite having no record and it being self-defense. The documentary is screening in the theater near the scene of the actual attack
I'm preparing for a work trip, so can't write up too many details, but here is a description from a longer article on Colorlines:
On Aug. 16, 2006, seven young, African-American, lesbian-identified friends were walking in the West Village. The Village is a historic center for lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) communities, and is seen as a safe haven for working-class LGBT youth, especially youth of color.
As they passed the Independent Film Cinema, 29-year-old Dwayne Buckle, an African-American vendor selling DVDs, sexually propositioned one of the women. They rebuffed his advances and kept walking.
"I'll f— you straight, sweetheart!" Buckle shouted. A video camera from a nearby store shows the women walking away. He followed them, all the while hurling anti-lesbian slurs, grabbing his genitals and making explicitly obscene remarks. The women finally stopped and confronted him. A heated argument ensued. Buckle spat in the face of one of the women and threw his lit cigarette at them, escalating the verbal attack into a physical one.
Buckle is seen on the video grabbing and pulling out large patches of hair from one of the young women. When Buckle ended up on top of one of the women, choking her, Johnson pulled a small steak knife out of her purse. She aimed for his arm to stop him from killing her friend.
The video captures two men finally running over to help the women and beating Buckle. At some point he was stabbed in the abdomen. The women were already walking away across the street by the time the police arrived.