Many people who go out on Capitol Hill are familiar with Ade Connere, a gender-fluid performer and personality who's easily recognizable as a staple of just about every gay Seattle thing worth doing. Ade can be seen at Re-bar, Chop Suey, and Pony, to name a few places.
At 3 a.m. last Saturday morning, Ade was walking home from a 'Mo-Wave benefit at Pony, when two young men attacked him on the corner of 13th Avenue and East Cherry Street. "I was essentially jumped by a couple of young white males—one of which knocked me down."
Ade is certain that he was targeted for being LGBT.
"I was in drag, and at first I think they thought I was a real girl. Then one of them said, 'No! That's a dude!' And then they grabbed me and knocked me down... one of them lunged over me, so I kicked him in the face, got up, and ran."
"I escaped with a couple of bloody knees, a scrape on my side, and a scraped wrist," Ade says.
Ade decided not to file a police report. "The last time this happened, I filed a report, and it was more traumatic than the attack," he explains (a common sentiment among LGBT victims who have faced hostile questions from police, such as what they had been drinking and wearing at the time). "I just wanted to go home."
Ade's attack marks at least the fifth high-profile LGBT attack in the area since May 2013. Another popular local drag performer, Robbie Turner, was assaulted in a similar situation while walking from an event last spring. Last summer, Jason Jacobs and dancer Cassidy Katims were also both assaulted in reported hate crimes and sustained more serious injuries.
Prosecutors also charged five men with a hate crime for a Capitol Hill attack in May 2013. According to records filed in King County Superior Court, a group of men standing near 10th Avenue East and Pike Street had been "hanging out on the street... calling people walking by derogatory hate speech names," when a 20-year-old black man walked past the group. He was called a "faggot," and he "made some remarks back to the group," the records say. As the bouncer at the Comet Tavern would tell police, "When that happened, the group... began repeatedly calling [the victim] a 'faggot' and a 'nigger.'"
Then the group allegedly "swarmed" the young man. Charging papers describe one of the suspects grabbing the victim "around the neck" and "[taking] him to the ground," where they allegedly punched and kicked him. He was able to flee eventually.
The victim returned to the scene when police arrived. "He was shaking, upset, crying, and had a lot of blood bleeding from a cut on his lip," says a police report on the incident. The suspects were arrested on the scene after the bouncer identified them.
What was "most disturbing" about that particular attack, said senior deputy prosecuting attorney Mike Hogan at the time, was simply "the number of people on one person." There were likely even more assailants, he said, but only five of them could be identified and charged.
Capitol Hill Seattle blog reported last October that two of the men were sentenced to six-month jail terms, two others were ordered to attend classes, and a fifth man was wanted on a warrant.
Hogan, who is in charge of hate-crime cases for his office, also said these attacks are not unusual—even in the heart of the city's most gay-friendly neighborhood. "It's common to see people not from our area... go up to the Pike/Pine district and offend there." He added that "heavy intoxication" on behalf of the perpetrators is another hallmark of these crimes. "You just don't get clean and sober defendants out harassing people like this."
That jibes with Ade's experience. "It's a scary world, but Jesus! It was not a mugging, it was a drunken frat hate crime," he says. "I'm sick of college asshole kids fucking with people just going home."
Anna Minard contributed reporting to this story.