It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. This instance, it is a double dose.
Jose Sucuzhanay died late Friday at Elmurst Hospital as his mother was en route from Ecuador to see him, spokesman Francisco Moya said. Sucuzhanay, a 31-year-old real estate broker, had been listed in critical condition since the assault early Dec. 7.
Sucuzhanay (suh-KOO-chen-eye) and his brother Romel, 38, were walking arm-in-arm after a night out when a sport utility vehicle pulled up near them at a Brooklyn stoplight, police said.
Witnesses said they heard the men in the car shouting anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs at the brothers. The attackers jumped out of the car and smashed a beer bottle over Jose Sucuzhanay’s head, hit him in the head with an aluminum baseball bat and kicked him, police said. Romel Sucuzhanay was able to get away; the attackers drove off after he returned and said he had called police, authorities said.
I have experienced this a few times with my cousin and my brother. My brother, who is gay, will sometimes wrap his arm around me when we walk. A few times while walking we have been cursed at and called names. My youngest cousin tends to hold my hand. It is a habit from when he was younger. Last year an older woman called us “Fucking faggots” not too far from the “gay” area of the city. Thankfully, we have never been attacked.
What amazes me is not the sheer level of racism and anti-gay sentiments these men showed, but that they randomly attacked two men. The brothers had not spoken to them or bothered them in anyway. So for these men to just assault them for being Hispanic and possibly gay is just astounding. That is not to say I am surprised that some people react this way, only that it is just shocking that it occurred. While I do not support hate crime laws, I do hope that these men are caught and are charged with the absolute maximum. Short of the men being grossly intoxicated or high, there simply is no plausible defense for what these men did and they deserved to spend the rest of their lives in prison.
However, the inanity does not end there. Mandolin offers her opinion about the attack:
However, situations like these do remind me of something else that strikes me as important: Occasionally, I see discussions cropping up about why many men in America often aren’t physically affectionate with their each other. Well. There you go. A man’s being physically affectionate with a brother, or a male friend, isn’t just a violation of taboos about showing femininity. It’s assuming a risk of harassment and violence.
The lives of gay men are more affected by this, of course, in shocking and horrible ways. But the enforcement of masculinity and heterosexuality is bad for many men, gay and straight.
It is amazing when a person who has no knowledge of a certain experience presumes to tell those who actually had that experience what they went through and why it happened.
The slurs and insults are not about being too womanly or expressing femininity. If they were, every man would face the same reaction when he walked down the street arm-in-arm or hand-in-hand with a female. However, no one complains about that. So it is not about men not being able to behave like women. The issue is about the implied nature of gestures. While both are very personal gestures, unfortunately in our society they are associated with sexual intimacy. This is true enough that even small children associate holding hands as a method of showing that they are “with” someone. This notion is not universal. Had the brothers been in India, where two men hold hands is associated with close friendship, they would not have been bothered.
What happened to these two men shows the how pervasive bigotry is and how utterly unreasonable some people are when it comes to anything perceived as “gay.” However, the assumption about their sexuality had nothing to do with either men behaving in a “feminine” way or their attackers assuming that either brother was not masculine enough (which my brother would quickly attest to as he is in no way feminine nor does he like effeminate males). It is disrespectful and distasteful to take what was done to these men and turn it into a feminist attack on masculinity and heterosexuality. Likewise, it does a disservice to men and boys to portray intimacy as something only associated with femininity.