After recent rash of violent attacks on gay New Yorkers, the local legislators are coming up with ways to curb hate crimes and help the LGBT community protect themselves. To start, the city will be offering free self defense classes in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan; a state senator also plans to hold a public forum to discuss the state's hate crimes law.

The self-defense classes are sponsored by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the Council's LGBT Caucus, and are led by the Center for Anti-Violence Prevention; the first class will be held at 4 p.m. this Sunday at the LGBT Community Center in the West Village, and the second will be held the following Wednesday evening at the Hudson Guild Elliot Center in Chelsea. "No one should be made to feel unsafe because who they are or who they love," Quinn said in a statement. "Our free self-defense classes will teach violence prevention strategies to New Yorkers and will provide the community with the tools they need to stay safe." The Council says they will schedule additional classes in Brooklyn and Queens soon.

In addition, State Senator Brad Hoylman, who represents Manhattan and is openly gay, will be holding a public forum this month to discuss how effective the state's hate crimes law has been in its decade-plus existence. The law, which was passed in 2000, says classifies committing a crime against someone because of their race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability
or sexual orientation as a hate crime, and a felony carrying hefty penalties; but Hoylman says recent events, including last month's fatal shooting of gay Brooklyn man Mark Carson, lead him to believe the law might not be enough. "It's time to put the law under the microscope and see how effective it’s been," he told the Daily News. The forum is planned for June 14th.