On July 29, 28-year-old O’Shae Sibley, a gay Black man, was stabbed to death at a Brooklyn gas station after he was reportedly attacked by a group of men who had berated Sibley and his friends with homophobic slurs. The New York Police Department is currently investigating the incident as a hate crime. No arrests have been made.
In response to this incident, Janai S. Nelson, President and Director-Counsel of the Legal Defense Fund (LDF), issued the following statement:
“We condemn and mourn the cruel and senseless killing of Mr. O’Shae Sibley and extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones as they navigate this horrific loss. The reports that Mr. Sibley was killed for dancing as a gay man emphasize the danger of targeting people for discrimination simply for being who they are, and of normalizing rhetoric, laws, and actions that suggest people can be treated unequally because of who they love or how they present their gender or sexual identity. No one should be attacked or discriminated against on these bases. We must unreservedly affirm that all people deserve dignity and protection—regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, ability, gender or sexuality. We hope the NYPD’s investigation into this incident as a hate crime sends a clear message that hate will not be tolerated and hate-based violence has no place in our society.
“A city known for its diversity, New York should be a place of refuge for the LGBTQIA+ community, not risk. NYC boasts the largest LGBTQ+ population in the country—a community that is racially and ethnically diverse and includes Black people who express their gender and sexual identities in a multitude of ways. Yet in 2022, hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people in New York City rose by a stunning 46% over the previous year, and there have been disturbing reports of targeted drugging and robbing of gay men in the city. This year, a record number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures across the country, including bills seeking to censor or erase the stories and contributions of LGBTQ+ people. And the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in 303 Creative LLC vs. Elenis during Pride month, which elevated bigoted religious beliefs over the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people, added to the atmosphere of division and hate. As we have seen, hateful speech often leads to hateful actions – including violence. It’s crucial that we reject and push back against bigoted actions, hateful speech, and laws designed to discriminate based on people’s identity to avoid more violence like that needlessly suffered by O’Shae Sibley.”
Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.