Friday, October 08, 2010

People 'died' in Grand Central--10-8-10

The Flash Mob: Homophobia Kills Die-In, took over a good portion of the NYC's Grand Concourse today at the height of rush hour. At the call of three whistles, the crowd of a few hundred people, descended to the floor and 'died', a powerful display of protest against homophobia and remembrance for those lives loss to hate.

The flash mob was organized by The American Equality Bill (AEB) PROJECT, a movement dedicated to the filing and passage of The American Equality Bill (AEB). The AEB is one complete bill to add "sexual orientation and gender identity" to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and related laws.

In September, a spate of teen suicides and ant-gay attacks (including one's in the Bronx only days a go), have a nation facing homophobia head on, not as a gay issue but a human right issue. The American Equality Bill, and it's passing, will guarantee all hate crimes against gay men and women illegal. Today's mob scene was to call attention to homophobia which is becoming an ever-increasing problem and threat in the gay community.

Police presence was at a premium, with Chief's and Captain's milling about the air of uncertainty about how many people may actually be in the flash mob. My estimation is there were somewhere around 300 people in the mob. But I could be totally off. As the protesters lay 'dead', names of victims of homophobic hate crimes were announced and repeated by the mob, even recalling Mathew Shepard who some youth in particular may not be acquainted with. Mathew Shepard was a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and murdered near Laramie, Wyoming, in October 1998, reportedly because he was gay.

After the names were read, the crowd began to clap thunderously which echoed throughout the large concourse. Everyone rose to their feet chanting various messages like "Civil Rights now!"" and "hey, hey, ho-ho, homophobia's got to go"! The mob shouted into the atmosphere, creating a powerful clash against the police officer's growing impatience with a crowd that took it's time to disperse.

All in all, it was a powerful experience and I was happy to document such a historical (and creative) expression of protest.

To Learn more about The American Equality Bill (AEB) PROJECT, "like" them on Facebook at!/group.php?gid=278882199073&v=info.

Historic Grand Central Terminal, a beautiful setting for a flash mob.

A few minutes till the 6pm time to 'die'.

Mob and commuters fill the Main Concourse.

Police prepare for the mob scene.

Live Art Event @ 6pm

A moment of shared tenderness in the crowd.

Paul Schindler, Editor Gay City News and Andy Humm, Journalist/Activist/Co Host of GayUSA on Manhattan Cable and FreeSpeechTV speak with police.

Commuter at the information booth.

At the sound of the whistles, the mob laid down on the floor.

Onlookers take in the powerful scene.

Looks like a plie of bodies under the banner. A powerful statement!

After the mob got up, chants against homophobia ensued.

And very quickly police began dispersing the mob.

Dedicated to all those who dared to Be...

Also, here's a video clip by John Torres.

And another great video clip by Bombshellfilmfest.


negritude said...

excellent shots.

ROD (aka BIG ROD) said...

Yo Ocean! POWERFUL BRO!! THANKS for the pics and the video!

NG said...

The unidentifed man in is Andy Humm: Journalist/Activist/Co Host of GayUSA on Manhattan Cable and FreeSpeechTV

jabowles said...

Yes, absolutely excellent shots. Thanks for doing them in B/W: for reportage, they work better that way.

bombshell said...

check out the video i shot yesterday at Grand Central against homophobia.


These are awesome images, Ocean. Great photojournalism. Wish I was there.

Eugene said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR REPORTING THIS!!! We were overwhelmed at the turn-out and I had no idea the "Die-In" was spread over such a wide area. The fact, that for many, this was their first act of civil disobedience en-masse was deeply moving. But the added fact that no one stood up when the police demanded us to takes it to another powerful level. THANK YOU! - Eugene (tall organizer/activist reading the names)

Ocean Morisset said...

Thanks for all your comments and feedback! The die-in was simply amazing! Congratulations to the organizers and everyone who participated!