2006_06_11_kevinaviance.jpg Honestly, we're stunned. Growing up in the East Village we've always taken pride in how well our neighborhood handles its diversity. We were raised firmly believing that if you were black, white, yellow, male, female, straight, gay, old, young, sober, drunk, high, local, tourist, etc., it just didn't matter. Even in the bad old days of crackheads and Bowery drunks you at least had the sense that if you were being beaten on the street that someone would come and try and help out (we were so naive). Needless to say the idea of a man being beaten and kicked in the middle of 14th Street and First Avenue at 1:30 AM by four youths screaming homophobic slurs makes us sick to our stomachs.

But that's exactly what happened last night to "internationally known drag queen and recording artist" Kevin Aviance early Saturday morning. From the Post:

a wolfpack of teens started following after he left the gay bar Phoenix on East 13th Street around 1:30 a.m., screaming, "F- - -ing faggot! Where are you going?"

The teens then began tossing trash at him, and as he began to cross 16th Street at First Avenue, one of them sucker-punched him from behind, knocking him to the ground. They then stomped on him in the middle of the intersection.

"I got kicked in my head 12 times. They kicked me in my back, They kicked in my knees. They just kept kicking," Aviance said from his bed at Beth Israel Hospital. "They kept yelling 'F- - -ing faggot!' I thought I would be dead. I really thought they were going to kill me."

Luckily, someone finally helped Aviance, who was not in drag, get to Beth Israel (where his jaw had to be wired shut) and a witness was able to help the police identify four assailants, Gerard Johnson, 16, of Manhattan, Akino George, 20, of The Bronx, Jarell Sears, 20, of Newark, and Gregory Archie, of Manhattan, who have all been charged with a hate-crime assault.

Normally we try and couch our fury over these kinds of things, being hot-headed doesn't usually help anyone... but we hope the DA goes ballistic on these punks and makes a nasty example of 'em.

Photograph of Kevin Aviances' Din Da Da single.