I was on the L train coming home to Brooklyn after a very long, exhausting night serving Super Bowl ticket holders at a busy tourist trap restaurant bar in the heart of Times Square. It was 3am and all I wanted to do was sleep for the unforeseeable future.
After getting yelled at by a very drunk man in TSQ before getting on the train, my senses were heightened and I was very aware of my surroundings. At the Graham stop on the L a man gets on my train car. He is clearly very drunk and looking for some sort of a fight.
This whole time I have been seated a few benches down from this young gay couple, the blonde one resting his hand on his boyfriend’s knee. The man targets them immediately; not only are they gay, they are an interracial couple.
He originally sits down next to the blonde one but, the second he sees where his hand is placed, the man stands up and moves to the bench directly across the aisle from the couple. That’s when the comments start. I can’t hear what he’s shouting at first because I had tried to remain inconspicuous by leaving my headphones in. I see the couple rolling their eyes but looking anywhere but at him, trying their best to not engage.
Then I hear what he’s shouting.
“FUCKING PUSSY FAGGOTS. DON’T YOU KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO HELL? YOU ALL ARE FUCKING DISGUSTING. THIS IS MY TERRITORY.”
What is even more disturbing is that I seemed to be the only person on the half-full car to notice this scene. No one else acknowledged the man’s presence, like this was a normal way for a human to act.
I had no idea what to do. I believe being a bystander is a contributing factor to situations like this, people get away with saying these things and they continue to intrude on people’s lives. But this man was belligerent. I had no clue what he was capable of. I chose not to speak, but as a silent show of support I got up and moved right next to the blonde boy, where the man had first sat down. He was now sitting right in front of me.
Then I became his target.
“FUCKING STUPID WHITE WHORE. HOW DARE YOU DEFEND THESE FUCKING FAGGOTS. YOU BETTER HOPE I DON’T FOLLOW YOU OFF THIS TRAIN BECAUSE I WILL RAPE YOU AND BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF YOU UNTIL YOU KNOW HOMOSEXUALITY IS FUCKED UP. THIS IS MY TERRITORY.”
This continued until we arrived at the stop directly before mine. I was certain he was going to follow me and attack me, so I took my phone out as this was my one chance to call for help on the train – it’s the only above ground stop with cell signal.
It was then that he leaned in and whispered “this is my stop” and walked off the train.
The whole time he was threatening to rape me, no one looked up. No one tried to silence him. No one tried to protect me.