AVP learns of anti-gay vandalism incidents in Astoria, Queens

AVP has learned of several incidents of anti-gay vandalism which occurred this past week in Astoria, Queens. According to media reports, a series of garages and a connecting wall on 23rd Street between 28th and 29th avenues were spray-painted with slurs. The graffiti was anti-Obama and used anti-gay slurs, similar to an incident of vandalism that occurred last month, targeting the offices of New York State Senator Michael Gianaris and New York State Assemblyperson Aravella Simotas. Police believe that the vandalism was committed by the same suspect behind similar recent graffiti incidents in the area.

AVP has reached out to the office of City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York City Councilmember Costa Constantinides, New York City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, the office of Public Advocate Letitia James, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, and Make the Road New York.


We all have a role in ending violence. One way to take action right now is to take our Bystander Intervention Pledge, #IWillNotStandBy, to commit to look out for one another, to report anti-LGBTQ violence and discrimination where we witness it, and to intervene in ways that are safe for ourselves and those around us.

If you witness hate violence you can:

  • Assess the situation to see how you can best take action. Only proceed if it is safe to do so in all of these instances.
  • Make your presence known by asking questions and talking to both the victim and the perpetrator.
  • Speak up, be loud, and call out what’s happening: identifying violence by name can help deter it.
  • Distract and divert the attacker’s attention by making a scene, and being noisy to draw the attention of others.
  • Record what’s happening by taking video on your phone.
  • Ask what support the survivor needs and provide it if you can.
  • Report the incident to AVP on our 24/7 hotline at 212-714-1141 or our Online Reporting Form. The hotline can also be a resource for the survivor if they so choose.


AVP will be doing outreach in Astoria in the weeks ahead to hand out safety information and resources. To work on issues of violence in an ongoing way, join AVP’s Hate Violence Community Action Committee, a community and survivor-led working group that addresses hate violence, police violence, hook-up violence, and discrimination against LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities, which meets monthly at AVP. To join us for outreach or to get involved with our Hate Violence Community Action Committee contact LaLa Zannell at lzannell@avp.org.


AVP encourages you to report violence you experience or witness to our free and confidential 24-hour bilingual (English/Spanish) hotline at 212-714-1141 where you can speak with a trained counselor and seek support, or you can report violence anonymously online, or to ask for a counselor to reach out to you.