November 15, 2010 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Former Blade employee victim of anti-gay attack
Aram Vartian, Washington Blade, anti-gay, hate crime, gay news

Aram Vartian (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A former Washington Blade videographer was punched in the face and knocked to the ground outside his apartment near the Washington Convention Center on Nov. 10 by a male attacker who shouted anti-gay slurs.

Aram Vartian, 34, who currently works for Metro Weekly, said the attack came minutes after he walked a male friend to his car and the two men bid farewell by hugging each other near 10th and M streets, N.W., about 9:30 p.m.

“I gave him a hug. It was a bit of a lingering hug,” Vartian said. “He got into his car, I waved to him and turned to walk back home. I took about 10 or 15 steps and this guy ran up behind me and punched me in the face — in the right cheek and nose area.”

According to Vartian, the unidentified male attacker, who was black and appeared in his late teens or early 20s, stood over him and screamed at him with his fists clinched and a scarf pulled over his face. Minutes earlier, Vartian said he saw the attacker standing with about 10 other young men a short distance from where Vartian stood with his male friend, gay singer and songwriter Tom Goss.

“It was faggot this and faggot that and not in this neighborhood,” Vartian quoted the attacker as saying. It was a diatribe. He was screaming in a rage.”

Two of the other youths who had been with the attacker rushed over to where Vartian was assaulted and grabbed the attacker and pulled him away from him, Vartian said.

“They said, ‘We’re sorry, sir. He’s drunk. Please don’t call the police,’” Vartian said the other two told him.

But Vartian did call police, who responded within minutes to take a report of the incident, which they classified as an anti-gay biased related simple assault. Vartian said that within a few minutes of their arrival police drove him to a nearby location where other officers had detained two youths observed fleeing from the scene.

The officers asked him to look at the two in a makeshift lineup while he sat in the police car, but he said he could not positively identify either as the person who assaulted him.

Capt. Edward Delgado, who oversees the police’s Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit, said police are seeking witnesses to determine if others could identify the person who assaulted Vartian. A GLLU officer also arrived on the scene, said Vartian. He praised the officers for being attentive and helpful.

Vartian said he declined a police offer to call paramedics to examine him. He said he suffered a bruised face but doesn’t consider his injury as serious.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

3 Comments
  • “According to Vartian, the unidentified male attacker, who was black and appeared in his late teens or early 20s, stood over him and screamed at him with his fists clinched and a scarf pulled over his face. Minutes earlier, Vartian said he saw the attacker standing with about 10 other young men . . . ” ********************** This is a continuing problem without resolution. When will DC gay men decide that enough is enough?

  • Decide that enough is enough and do what to resolve the continuing problem? People will continue to be assholes.

  • It seems that these bullies need to be shown better than told that this kind of
    taunting and assaulting innocent people is not going to be tolerated…Someone needs to made an example to let them know there is a new sheriff in town, and
    he’s carrying a big law book..Sure its great that the police arrived within minutes…but what about prevention. Homophobes need to be taken out by
    any means necessary….fines…jail time whatever cures the problem.

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