When is a gay bashing not a gay bashing?
Depending on who you ask, several gay men in Los Angeles’ tres-queer WeHo neighborhood have either been victims of a recent rash of bias attacks or the unfortunate targets of some aggressive muggers.
Speaking with KTLA 5 in L.A., a gay man named “Billy” says he was trying to catch a bus along Santa Monica Boulevard when a man appeared, shouted an anti-gay slur and beat him to the ground. Billy, who was robbed in the incident and received three stitches on his forehead, says he was clearly singled out for being gay.
On October 18, Billy Mandrick (left) was physically assaulted by a man who fit the same general description as Billy’s attacker—a six-foot-tall white male with short-cropped blond hair.
Mandrick was leaving the Motherlode when a stranger stopped him near the intersection of Robertson and Santa Monica Boulevards and asked, “Hey faggot, what are you doing out here so late?”
Though Mandrick tried to avoid the man, he continued his approach and punched and kicked him several times. The man and an accomplice made off with Mandrick’s valuables.
The very next evening, actor Kasey Mahaffy was attacked on the way home from the store by a man who fit the same description. Mahaffey was punched three times in the throat, sending him into the street, where the attack continued. “He hit my chest, my head, my ear, my cheek, my jaw,” Mahaffay told WeHo Confidential, “and since my arms were full of groceries… I couldn’t defend myself.”
In another part of the neighborhood, Kyan Loredo (right), who works at WeHo institution Micky’s, was attacked on Fairfax Avenue and Sunset Boulevard by a different man, an African-American with a pistol. The man came up behind Loredo and told him not to turn around. “As I tried to turn around to look at him, he hit me on the top of the head with a gun,” Loredo told NBC L.A. “At the time I couldn’t believe it was happening to me because I’ve heard that it’s happened to several friends of mine.”
In this instance, the gunman took Loredo’s cellphone and wallet.
Apparently uthorities are hesitant to label these incidents part of a homophobia-fueled crime wave: “They don’t all appear to be a pattern of gay bashings or hate crimes,” Detective Sgt. Art Famble told WeHo News. Famble added that he wasn’t sure any of the incidents qualified as a hate crime.
And West Hollywood Mayor John Duran seems eager to sweep the whole thing under the rug. “This is what happens when people try to do investigations through social media,” Duran told reporters. “They know somebody who knows somebody. Before you know it, people say there’s a rash of gay beatings going on. It’s not true.”
If you say so, Mr. Mayor.