Main | Friday, December 11, 2009

Queens Nightclub Bashing Victim Speaks

Ireland-born activist Tarlach MacNiallais (center, rear), who was beaten by bouncers at a Queens nightclub on Saturday, has given his first extensive interview to Irish Central. MacNiallais stresses that he was not just dancing with a "total stranger" as early press accounts hinted, but was enjoying an evening out with his partner of seven years and his partner's four brothers.
The story began on Saturday evening when MacNiallais, his partner of seven years, Juan, and four of Juan's brothers visited the Guadalajara De Noche restaurant in Jackson Heights. The group had expected an open mike sing-along, but they discovered that a club night had been scheduled instead. “I’ve been in that bar a handful of times in the past,” said MacNiallais. “Sometimes they have open night, where people can get up and sing Mexican songs. But when we got there it was a dance night. So we took a table at the back of the place just beside the dance floor and we ordered a round of drinks.” When a song that MacNiallais liked came on, he suggested to his partner that they dance. They got up, and MacNiallais led his partner to the floor. This simple act signaled to onlookers that they were probably gay.

“We’re weren’t doing a lambada or dancing close or anything provocative like that. We were dancing the way you do at any night – not touching, just moving to the music, you know?" But before they had even got started, a man, described as an employee of the nightclub, came over to the couple and said: “You can’t do that in here. This is not a gay bar.” “To be quite honest I thought he was joking. I didn’t even look at him," continued MacNiallais. “I turned around and said, ‘We have as much right to dance as anyone else.’” Immediately, MacNiallais was yanked from behind. He was thrown against a wall and then punched repeatedly on the face and chest. “They knocked me to the ground. They started kicking me. They were shouting ‘this is not a gay bar’ over and over. I didn’t fight back because I’m not a violent person. But I did think I wasn’t going to let them throw me out. I did have a right to be there. If they had asked me to leave I would have, but they didn’t do that. Instead they beat me and physically dragged me to the ground.”
MacNiallais: "I did not just jump up and dance with a total stranger, or with the first man who walked into the bar. I want to stress that. I was dancing with my partner of seven years. He and his family have been part of my life for years." The two bouncers are said to have been laughing while they beat MacNiallis. One of his partner's brothers recorded the assault on his cell phone.

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