Adam Eli was leaving a subway station in New York City when he was confronted by a man who demanded him to take off his pink kippah because the stranger says Eli cannot be Jewish and gay.
As a community organizer and LGBTQ activist, Eli recorded the confrontation at 28th Street and Broadway on Sunday and posted it on social media, hoping to raise awareness about the hatred and bigotry that still exists in the city. In the video, the man followed Eli out of the 28th Street station yelling "Take your kippah off."
Eli says he quickly pieced together that the stranger was angry that he clearly represented as Jewish and queer because he was also carrying a pink purse had a rainbow patch on his jeans.
"This is not Judaism," the man said and told Eli to stay in the closet.
"That really upset me because I had been told that the first 18 years of my life. 'Oh, you can be Jewish but please stay in the closet," Eli tells News 4. "This is the type of anger I’m getting, that I’m getting for presenting as gay. Can you even imagine, the type of violence that’s being thrown at trans people, at queer people of color and gender nonconforming people?"
At least 11 transgender women, all of them black, have been killed this year, NBC News reported. Record levels of violence against transgender women took place in 2017 and 2018, according to a Human Rights Campaign publication on anti-transgender violence.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio retweeted the video of the confrontation and said he was sorry Eli had to go through it.
"It takes courage to confront homophobia and tell a story like this. I’m sorry you had to go through this, Adam. But we’re proud of how you responded. There’s no place for hate in this city," de Blasio wrote. Eli did not file a police report but he says he has one message for the stranger in the video: "no one gets to tell me when and where I get to wear my kippah."