Two gay men in the Bay Area were assaulted this month in incidents the police are investigating as possible hate crimes.
Both were attacked June 9 in separate incidents. LGBT activist Scott Long was hit in the head from behind with a heavy object, possibly a tire iron, on a street in Oakland, San Francisco TV station KGO reports. "I suddenly felt this huge blow right upside my head over my ear," Long told the station. He said he was hit at least four more times, and he required reconstructive surgery on his jaw and cheekbone.
Long, who has worked on LGBT rights causes around the world, described the attacker to KGO as a thin white man. He told another station, KRON, that the man was yelling something at him, but Long couldn't make out the exact words.
Tim Tait, who performs as drag queen Ginger Snap, told KGO he was beaten up after leaving the Eagle Bar in San Francisco's South of Market area that night. He turned a corner and "got about one-quarter of the way down the block when I felt a bang to the head and started to get attacked," said Tart, who was kicked, punched, and dragged.
"San Francisco, 2018, there is so much diversity and so much acceptance and this is still happening," Tait told KGO this week.
Police in Oakland and San Francisco have yet to determine motives or arrest suspects, but they are considering the possibility that the men were targeted because they're gay. Tait was not dressed in drag at the time of the attack, but he still thinks he may have been singled out because he's a drag performer.
Some online commenters have questioned Tait's account of the incident and alleged that he sustained his injuries in a fall, according to The Bay Area Reporter. Tait said his memories of the attack were fuzzy, and he initially told a few friends he may have fallen. "I understand why people questioned it because I did say that, but if they could see the state of my body and see what I went through now, it was obviously not a fall," he told the Reporter. He had two black eyes, various cuts and bruises, and a broken tooth, and a CAT scan showed he suffered a concussion, he said. He filed a police report last Monday.
Police are continuing to investigate both attacks, and surveillance video is available to them in Tait's case. As San Francisco Pride is being held this weekend, they recommend that those attending seek out safety in numbers.
"If you have the ability to move with a group, absolutely do so," Robert Rueca of the San Francisco Police Department told KGO.