Gay-Bashing Victims’ Beautiful Statement Read at the Rally on Thursday by Caryn Kunkle

I attended the Brian Sims’ rally, held to support the victims and to call for the passage of hate crime legislation, it was held at
2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25 in LOVE Park. Over 300 people from all walks of life came out to support the rally. Caryn Kunkle, friend and spokesperson for the
victims spoke on their behalf. She gave me what she read at the rally, as well as the official statement from the two victims below.

My name is Caryn Kunkle: I’m going to paraphrase here. 9/11 always meant something to her, especially as a volunteer fireman in Abington, Pa. where she met Friend A who also volunteered there and is an artist like Caryn. Friend B, is a culinary artist and the two of them are adorable together. She goes on to talk about what 9/11 means to her today after her two friends were beat up by a group of young people who came to the City to have a good time, and ended up shouting gay slurs at them while they beat them up. Caryn was equally appalled that the PA Hate Crime Law doesn’t currently protect gay people. Soon after finding out she started a petition on to raise awareness of the transgression….It is a privileged to read the following statement from her two friends.

We, like everyone else in this world, would never want nor welcome being attacked for who we are. But, if we had to pick one city to be beat up for being gay, it’s Philadelphia. More importantly, if there is one city where this will never happened again, it’s Philadelphia.

To everyone who has reached out to us during this time, thank you. Thank you so much. Your care, concern, encouragement and support have not gone unnoticed. And while this has been an overwhelming and tragic experience, we’ve been touched by genuine brotherly love- the foundation of this beautiful city- expressed to us by so many.

Everyone keeps saying that they are sorry this happened to us. But the truth is, we’re sorry. We feel sorry for out attackers – people who believed it was ok, cool, maybe even funny to use two innvocent individuals as their punching bags,  and not even have the decency to apologise. Words are powerful. A simple “I’m sorry,” would have went a long way for us. But at this point, the only words we’ve heard from you are “Dirty Faggot!”

You butchered my boyfriend’s beautiful face. You violated our rights, You jeopardized our healthy and safety, in a city that we love and during a time where so much progress around human rights has been made.

Despite the pain and disappointment we are doing ok. Black eyes, broken jaws and brusied bodies heal. Plus we have some very good doctors that know what it means to look good and are getting us back to that status! We are undoubtedly in good hands and are on the road to recovery.

We returned home in shock. Our door was constantly swinging, news stations camped out in front of our home while detectives and police officers became regular visitors. It has been very difficult. We are merely two hard working, successful and private young men who look forward to returning to their normal lives.

We didn’t feel the need to share our sexual orientation, because it doesn’t define us, it’s a part of us. We are two everyday guys that happened to fall in love with each other. It shouldn’t be a big deal. You can’t help who you love, so why not be proud of and delight in the love that surrounds you every day. Senator Ferlo thank you, We’re gay too…so get over it – everyone!

We are also determined to do everything in our power to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else again. We have chosen to keep our names and faces out of the press because this isn’t about us. It’s about everyone who came before us and everyone who is standing next to us. For the gay citizens of Philadelphia so they don’t have to fear walking the streets to get a piece of pizz. Also for all the kids who get called a fag in high school by bullies, and for all of the guys and girls who are afraid to come out and be who they are because of jerks like this.  If we can teach or inspire anything please don’t be afraid to be yourself.

A personal friend of ours who is a closeted gay guy recently shared taht he has been afraid to come out because he is petrified somethign like this will happen to him. We will carry this torch for him, and everyone else in his position. No one should be ashamed of who they are. No one should be scared to love who you love. No one should live in fear. Be who you are. Love who you love, and be proud of it!

By adding sexual orientation to the Pa hate crimes bill this will add protection for the LGBT community in this wonderful city. We wated this bill passed yesterday, but  we will settle for today.! We urge lawmakers to pass this bill to protect the LGBT people of this city. Everyone in Philadelphia deserves equal rights, including equal protection. It stops here. It stops today. It stops now.