Just Out: Queer Youth Assaulted Downtown in Apparent Gay Bashing
Kayla Stone, a 21-year-old queer musician and youth activist, was assaulted in an apparent gay-bashing July 3 between 1 and 2:30 a.m. near SW Third Avenue and Burnside Street, according to police.
Posted by Erin Rook on Jul 8, 2011 in Local News | 11 comments
It all began the previous night, when Stone was harassed by a group of Latino and black men and women who called her a "dyke" and followed her for approximately three blocks after she left Embers.
"I told them to leave me the fuck alone and that if they didn't leave me alone, I was going to protect myself and at that point they continued to follow me down Burnside," Stone said. Eventually, the group backed off and Stone continued about her evening.
But on Saturday night, Stone returned to that part of town looking for her date and was confronted again by the same group of people, who she said started beating her without provocation as soon as they recognized her. The only person she remembers very clearly is the one who threw the first punch, a Latino man with a teardrop tattoo by his eye.
Sgt. Pete Simpson said that while the lack of details make for a challenging investigation, the case has been assigned to Detective Kevin Warren and is being treated as a bias crime until there is reason to suspect otherwise.
"Where it stands right now is its an open investigation. We don't have any other additional witness, so it's hard to verify exactly when it happened, exactly how many people were there and where," Sgt. Simpson said. "It's a little challenging from an investigative standpoint."
Detectives will be looking into area surveillance footage and trying to find other calls from that night that might corroborate details about the attack. Stone says witnesses to the attack simply stood by and watched.
"[The group] saw me and they were like, 'Oh, that's that bitch from last night. We're gonna fuck her ass up,'" Stone recalled. "I wasn't with anybody and I was on Third [Avenue] and they approached me and immediately started beating me."
No matter how hard or how many times they punched her, Stone said she never fell to the ground — a fact that she continues to be astounded by. The group eventually ran off, leaving Stone standing on the street with her face covered in blood.
"It was really intense for me, because it was like, wow, even though Rosa Parks is dead, these people that stood up against prejudice and racism are dead, I'm not. And I feel very thankful to not be," Stone said. "Because with how many people there were that night, I can't believe I didn't go down on my knees."
Stone attributed her resiliency to the support of her community, including Beth Burns, Pippa Arend and Joy Cartier, directors at p:ear — which offers creative mentorship to homeless and transitional youth — as well as her bandmates and the City Council, which recently awarded her one of ten Youth Action Grants.
"I continued to be astounded by, yes, myself, but it's not myself, it's by the love that's supporting me, because I don't feel like that would just be me alone at all," Stone said. "I think that has a lot to do with prayer and the different organizations that I'm working with."
Unfortunately, some of the people Stone encountered after the assault were less supportive. After her attackers fled, Stone said two police cars circled the block, but neither stopped to help. So she made her way to Escape, the all-ages queer nightclub on SW Park and Stark because she remembered that it was on Q Patrol's route. But when she arrived, not everyone was keen on helping her out.
"I went to the Escape because... several weeks before, the Q Patrol was out there and I volunteered for them," Stone said. "They were against all of that. They didn't want to talk of anything that had anything to do with Q Patrol. They were like, 'We're trying to have our bomb ass party right now and you're fucking it up.'"
Attempts to reach the Escape for comment were unsuccessful because the club's voice mailbox was full.
Stone said someone at the Escape eventually called 911 and she reported the incident to police. She was then taken to OHSU but left before she could be evaluated or treated because she didn't want to minimize her injuries with stitches.
"That," Stone said, pointing to laceration on her head, "could be stitched up, but I chose not to let that happen, because I felt this time I wasn't going to allow it to be stitched up an stuffed under the covers."
Instead, she left the emergency room and had a friend take photographs, which she described as "horrendous" and "dark."
She said she wants to be real about what happened, and even performed at the July 4 event she created with the Youth Action Grant money with the blood still dried on her face.
"I've gotten fucked with, coming out and changing, being who I am. I'm not trying to justify anything that occurs, but the point is that the revolution is not glamorous," Stone said. "It means continuing to do what you say you're going to do no matter what."
Stone's response to the attack reflects on the personal integrity her p:ear mentor finds so inspiring.
"I just have tremendous respect for her. She has tremendous integrity and is extremely creative and just feels passionate about just about anything she does and so she's a real inspiration for me in that way," Arend said. "I've learned a lot from her in terms of brave expression of emotions and she's just a real inspiring young person who I feel good about how she will be a leader in our community."
Anyone with information about the incident should contact Detective Warren at (503) 823-3761 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Just Out will continue to follow this story as it develops.
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