Adam Eli, a 28-year-old community organizer, was verbally attacked by a homophobic subway commuter as he departed the 28th Street Subway station in New York City.
Eli posted a video of the incident on Monday that showed him being followed by a man who yells homophobic slurs at him, calling for Eli to take off his pink kippah.
Eli is queer and Jewish and told PIX11 he understands why he was targeted.
THREAD: Trigger Warning: violent speech, harassment. I got harassed, followed and threatened on the street today. Someone was upset that I was wearing a pink kippah, carrying a purse and had a pride patch sewn onto my jeans. I am sharing the encounter for three reasons. pic.twitter.com/Y9HWiX2nSs
— Adam Eli (@aewerner) September 9, 2019
“I’m sort of assuming that they read that I was gay cause of the purse and also I have a patch on my butt,” Eli told PIX 11 exclusively. “He kept asking me to take off my kippah and I refused to.”
Eli can be heard in the video say to the man, “because I’m gay and wearing a kippah… is that why?”
The unidentified man replies, “any man that lays with another man is an abomination. You’ll be murdered for it. Take the kippah off.”
“Stay in the closet! Make sure your closet is in another closet!” the man also yelled.
Eli said the man tapped him on the shoulder as he was leaving the station and began telling him to take off his yarmulke.
“He stalked me for a couple of blocks so I was feeling scared,” Eli told the local news station.
Eli tweeted video he recorded of the incident on Monday, writing: “I got harassed, followed and threatened on the street today. Someone was upset that I was wearing a pink kippah, carrying a purse and had a pride patch sewn onto my jeans. I am sharing the encounter for three reasons.”
“I’m cisgender, white, I have a social media platform I have resources and that’s the type of violence that I’m getting,” he said.
“If that’s the type of violence that one of the most privileged members of our community is getting, can you imagine what it’s like every day in the subway to be a trans person or a gender non-conforming person or a queer person of color?”
“The sense was that the person who was doing it was Jewish himself which is even harder to contend with, a minority on minority going after one another,” said Evan Bernstein, regional director in New York and New Jersey for the Anti-Defamation League
“The bottom line is what was said in that video to that individual was horrific and it cannot be tolerated in this city,” he added.
— Cristian Benavides (@cbenavidesTV) September 9, 2019