Anti-gay graffiti found on car

May 25, 2007
By

John Ruch


Courtesy Photo
In addition to these tags, anti-gay graffiti was put on this car parked on Carolina Avenue.

A vulgar homophobic slur was written on the side of car bearing a gay-pride sticker May 11 on Carolina Avenue, raising fears that Jamaica Plain’s famously gay-friendly atmosphere may be in danger.

“Fuck Fagz” was scrawled on the SUV in large letters with a blue marker, along with two apparent “tags,” or graffiti signatures.

“It’s pretty disheartening—more than disheartening,” said the vandalism victim, a JP resident and employee at the local elder services agency Ethos who wanted to remain anonymous in this article. “It felt like a kick in the stomach.”

He reported the vandalism to the Boston Police Department as a hate crime.

Ethos Executive Director Dale Mitchell said he’s concerned about his employees, many of whom have to park on streets around the Amory Street offices because of parking limitations.

“I can’t have them worried about whether or not they’re going to be harassed,” he said.

Mitchell voiced the bigger concern: “Is this the beginning of something, or just an isolated incident?”

Mitchell and the car owner said other Ethos employees have reported their cars being vandalized on Carolina in recent weeks, but only with generic tags, not homophobic slurs. Mitchell said two teenagers reportedly fled the scene of one car-tagging.

Besides the slur, the graffiti on the SUV included the tags “‘AIM’” in green marker and “*Tru One*” in blue marker.

The car owner said the vandalism occurred sometime between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. It was all on the passenger side, and he didn’t notice it until he had made a stop at home and then driven to Newton Center.

“I was so angry I started to scrub it off,” he said. “Then I stopped myself.” He said he knew he should keep the graffiti there so he could file a fully documented police report.

“I basically had to drive around with it on my car all weekend,” he said.

Rubbing alcohol and a car wash eventually removed the graffiti.

The car owner said he doesn’t think he was personally targeted by the slur, but suspects his gay-pride sticker inspired it.

“I do have a rainbow sticker on my car,” he said. “I certainly feel I was targeted because of the rainbow sticker.”

“I have not parked there since,” said the car owner, adding that he is now paying for parking at a significant cost. “I don’t want my car to be tagged again. I don’t want to be in position of walking up to my car and encountering someone tagging the car.”

The car owner moved to JP’s Stonybrook area last summer. Between the anti-gay graffiti and two thefts of his partner’s car, he said, “It doesn’t really give me a warm feeling about where I live or where I work.”

But, he added, it’s the first homophobia he’s encountered in JP, which has impressed him as gay-friendly.

JP has earned a gay-friendly reputation. It has one of the highest concentrations of same-sex couples in the state and is home to several plaintiffs in the successful lawsuit that established the right to same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.

JP’s only high-profile homophobic incident in recent memory was in 2004, when the white supremacist group the National Alliance distributed a small number of flyers that called same-sex marriage an “attack on our family values” and on “the very basis of White society.”

Mitchell, who has lived in JP since 1975, said he can’t recall any similar public homophobia. “I can’t say it’s ever happened,” he said.

This reporter was surprised last week to overhear two anti-lesbian slurs on JP streets—the only such experiences in more than half a decade. While it’s probably just a coincidence, one incident involved a man muttering a profanity about lesbians while crossing the intersection of Carolina Avenue and South Street.