The NYPD’s 115th precinct in Queens is investigating the appearance of anti-gay flyers discovered on cars around Jackson Heights the weekend of August 29-30. 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,” the flyer read. In the upper right hand corner, there was a hand clutching a Bible in front of a Rainbow Flag.
City Councilmember Daniel Dromm, an out gay Jackson Heights Democrat, was particularly troubled by one passage in particular. “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die,” it read.
“These flyers 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 there. Dromm became a notable figure in the rise of gay rights organizations in the neighborhood in the years following the Rivera murder. It was out of that organizing that the annual Queens Pride Parade, which draws roughly 40,000 people annually, emerged.
“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 flyers. What if the child is at the stage where he or she is questioning their own sexuality and they’d see this flyer. What type of impact could that have? That could be devastating for that child.”
Dromm is also troubled about the flyers’ religious tone.
“Many of the churches have condemned us and used religion against us for centuries,” he said. “However, the translation on this flyer may be manipulated.”
Dromm heard about the flyers from several constituents and alerted Deputy Inspector Brian Hennessy at the 115th precinct, who does not comment on ongoing investigations.