12-year-old Writes Homophobic Message On Neighbor’s Door

J.W. Harvey and his Manhattan roommates recently opened their door to find anti-gay graffiti scrawled across it in sunblock, HuffingtonPost reports. A neighbor’s son had written “U Gay bitches, LOL” on the door, with an accompanying drawing of a male member. Harvey’s first reaction was to simply compose a letter to the boy’s parents:

Dear Residents of Apartment 24,

We would like to (finally!) introduce ourselves as the residents of apartment 21, or, as young Cazen and his young friends so accurately vandalized on our door the night of March 2nd, the “gay bitches” of apartment 21.

The party you were hosting sounded like a lot of fun, so we understand how you may have been too preoccupied to notice that your children were loose in the building at midnight, marking our property with homophobic graffiti.

For months now, we have dealt with your children throwing rocks, CDs, tennis balls, and various other unknowns across the ally at our kitchen window, and we have largely dismissed their behavior as understandably, well, childish.

But now, we need this behavior to stop. As it is yours, this is our building, our neighborhood, our home, and we want nothing more than to peacefully coexist. Well, that’s not completely true; we want to be seen and respected as equals, and we want you to teach your children to accept everyone for who they are, regardless of their minority status, but we won’t demand that. Because what we really want is to live without having to explain our humanity to our neighbors.

I plan to leave the graffiti on our door for two reasons. First, we ARE an apartment of gay men (and can be quite bitchy!), and we are not ashamed to be labeled as who we are. Second, I hope that you will encourage your children to clean their graffiti off of our door themselves.

Don’t forget to buy Cazen more sunblock; sunny weather is right around the corner!

J.W., Matthew, and Primo


In the end, the roommates did decide to call the NYPD to report a hate crime, to teach the boy a tough lesson that “hate is more serious than a practical joke.” The officers arrived at the neighbors apartment around 2:30am and eventually a teary-eyed Cazen, which had celebrated his 12th birthday earlier that evening, came down the hall to wipe the evidence of his “hate crime” off of the roommates’ door.

Harvey took the moment to talk some sense into the young boy:

“Be honest with me. When you throw stuff at our kitchen window, is this what you think of us?”

“I don’t know. I guess.”

“When you look me in the eye right now, is this what you see me as?”

“No. You’re not,” as his eyes started to water.

“Then why? What makes you think that we are?”

“We see you guys dancing and stuff in your kitchen from my bedroom.”

“And if we are, what’s wrong with that? Don’t we have the right to be happy, just like you?”

“Yes,” as he contemplated.

“If you — you missed a spot — if you really think that. Do me a favor. Talk to your friends.”

“Ok,” as he cleaned “lol” off our door.

“The police can talk to them, I can talk to them — you missed a spot — but they will listen to you.”

“Ok,” nodding and holding back tears.

“Thank you,” I said, putting my hand on his shoulder and locking eyes. “This is very serious, and you cannot treat us like this again, for any reason. Even if you don’t like someone, you have to respect them.”

“Yes, sir. I’m sorry. I do.”

“You can go back to bed. It’s too dark right now, but if I wake up in the morning and I see sunblock smudges in the daylight, I will knock on your door and ask you to clean it again,” I said, pretending not to see the greasy smears that remained.


“Thank you. And happy birthday.”