Tarlach MacNiallais, an openly gay Queens, NY educator and Irish American citizen, never pegged his neighborhood bar as the place for an anti-gay beating. But that’s exactly what happened to him on December 5, when two bouncers accused MacNiallais of “dancing with another man” and proceed to severely beat him in the club.
The night began like the countless other times MacNiallais and his friends and family had visited Guadalajara De Noche restaurant, in Jackson Heights, Queens.
According to the Irish Central, MacNiallais and his partner of seven years, Juan, and Juan’s four brothers visited the restaurant expecting an open mike sing-along. When they discovered that the club night had been scheduled instead, the group decided to stay and sat in the back near the dance floor.
But when MacNiallais suggested to his partner that they dance to a song the evening changed.
Before they began to dance, 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," MacNiallais, told the Irish Central. “I turned around and said, ‘We have as much right to dance as anyone else.’”
According to MacNiallais, he was then yanked from behind, thrown against a wall and kicked and punched repeatedly on his body, including his face and chest. He was treated at a local hospital and released.
MacNiallais’ friends and family proceeded to call the police, who are currently investigating the situation.
The New York Post was the first media outlet to break the story about the incident. However, the article incorrectly stated that MacNiallais was a gay activist who intentionally went into the club to dance with an unnamed man.
MacNiallais says, “I did not just jump up and dance with a total stranger, or with the first man who walked in the bar. I was dancing with my partner of seven years.”
GLAAD has reached out to MacNiallais and local advocates to offer our support and we will keep you updated on this story.