“Are you sure you didn’t upset him in some way?”

This morning I came upon an article quoting a right-wing American radio host who questioned whether a hate-crime against a gay person has ever in fact happened, even once. (I’m not providing the link.) When will this crap go away?

An apropos basil.CA re-post (with minor edits):

20 July 04:  I’ve been physically beaten up twice as an adult. Each time my attacker believed I was gay.  In Mountain View, California a number of years ago I was at a club with a female companion who looked particularly boyish that day in an old gray sweatshirt. A muscled guy told us to leave; I asked him why, and he became incensed:  He threw me across the room – I landed on a table, which broke to pieces. Then he leapt on top of me, and started punching. (My shoulder was dislocated.) The bouncer pulled the man off, then ordered my friend and I out of the club:  The entire place jeered us on our way out. 

It was bewildering, or it was until my friend said, “They think I’m a man.”

Late last Saturday night I was walking home to the West End from a friend’s place downtown when a car skidded to a stop right behind me.  A man leapt out of the backseat and kicked me in the face. On the ground I curled up into a ball and covered my head, which he continued to kick until a group of women came around the corner a few moments later. “Why are you doing this to me?” I asked him.  “You’re a faggot,” he said.

Generally I very much like Vancouver cops, but I must say that I was disappointed by the officer who showed up after one of the women called 911.  “Are you sure you didn’t upset him in some way?  Did you cross against the light, or give him the finger?”

1 August 04:  Thanks for your emails. I’m fine – the bruises are pretty much all gone.  At any rate, it was not too terrible of an event, more depressing than scary.  (I found out that I am not afraid of physical violence – sweet to learn that from the episode.) The attack wasn’t even the most important thing that happened to me that day, or that hour, in fact.  I was coming home from visiting my friend Violet – the Princess of Pigeon Park. She had scolded me for talking to somebody I wasn’t supposed to (much of our  conversation typically concerns how to behave properly in her neighborhood). I told her, “I am so, so stupid.”

“No, you are not.”

She had a bouquet of flowers — this is a woman who buys herself flowers – and she gave me one.

“I love you, Bob.” She had never told me that before. I was elated.

“I love you, Violet.”

It occurred to me only after I got home that (a) walking back to my neighborhood holding a long-stemmed flower might have made me a good target, and (b) after all the bloody commotion, I had forgotten to find my precious flower and bring it home (damn).  Violet looks as tough and beautiful as ever, but her voice is only a whisper these days. You can be sure I would not have been attacked had Violet been with me.

Since these posts were published, I’ve been assaulted twice. The motive was money, not hate.

It has been a few years since I’ve seen Violet. I don’t know where she is. I pray she is okay.

It never occurred to me, by the way, to protest to the crowd in the bar or to the second attacker that I was not gay. Which makes these memories happy, in a weird way. I know, though, that I was lucky not to have been badly injured or killed.

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