A gay man who dances and peacefully protests against hate, crime, homophobia, and racism on the streets of New York City says he was attacked with one of his own signs by a man yelling homophobic slurs at him.
Anthony Dolci, 50, holds signs with phrases like “I choose love not hate.” He dances, protests, puts on funny costumes, and plays music as part of his act. But he says he was attacked last Saturday near the intersection of 57th Street and 9th Avenue, on Manhattan’s West Side, by a man who took issue with his message.
“He called me several bad language words towards my sexuality, being gay,” Dolci told New York’s CW news station PIX 11. “He picked up one of my protest signs and he broke it almost in two, then threw it at me, and hit me with my protest sign.”
Dolci recorded part of the confrontation on his cell phone, which shows a young man with a thin mustache and beard, in what looks like a gray fleece jacket and a Yankees cap, wearing black glasses, yelling at Dolci, taking one of his signs, folding it up and throwing it at the camera.
Dolci filed an incident with the New York Police Department, which is asking for help in identifying the man. Detectives with NYPD’s Hate Crimes Unit are investigating the incident as a possible bias crime.
Dolci says this is not the first time anti-gay slurs have been shouted at him, but he’s still saddened about the fact that incidents like this happen.
“I’m celebrating myself being gay, openly gay, and to be attacked by that, it’s very personal and it’s very hurtful,” he said.
He adds that he wants to bring awareness to the issue so that other LGBTQ people won’t be attacked for expressing themselves or being proud of their identities.
“I was in the closet for a long time and those days are done. I’m done with that,” Dolci said. “Now I’m openly gay and I’m not afraid of expressing myself and people should not feel threatened by my gayness.”