Several hundred LGBT NYers crowded into the main concourse at Grand Central yesterday evening and lay down for, “Flash Mob: Homophobia Kills Die-In.” The protesters, who unfurled a giant yellow banner reading, END HOMO/ TRANSPHOBIC APARTHEID IN AMERICA,”, disrupted foot traffic in the terminal in the midst of rush hour, while organizers read the names of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender victims of murder or of suicide prompted by bullying and violence.
The event was in response to several highly publicized suicides and attacks of gay men recently, including the Stonewall Inn beating and the suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi (the Latin King Goonies assault occurred after the die-in was planned, but was another reminder of the issue at hand). According to Gay City News, two of the organizers were arrested by MTA police and charged with misdemeanor obstruction of pedestrian traffic; another man was reportedly taken away by police for "inciting" the crowd, but was not in handcuffs.
[Organizer Todd] Fernandez said that MTA police officials had agreed to guidelines by which the demonstrators would be able to unfurl their banner from one of two balconies with steps leading down to the concourse. At 6 p.m. Friday evening, however, NYPD officers were stationed there, and organizers were not allowed to use that space. Fernandez also said that the police agreed the action could take place without arrests as long as the demonstrators limited the time they laid on the floor, as they did.
Fernandez also said of the MTA, "They have set a horrible precedent today. We will never negotiate with them again.”