Reported Gay Bashing Incident Inspires Marina District “Takeover” Response

A reported gay bashing attack in San Francisco’s Marina District has drawn condemnation from the mayor and inspired plans for a gay “takeover” of a bar near where it occurred.

A video posted to Facebook by Jeffery Lafayette earlier this week, described the attack as taking place on Feb. 6. He said that a group of men spat on him, punched him and kicked him, leaving him bruised and bloody, “all because I decided to wear white pants.”

Later media reports and interviews with Lafayette, 28, indicated the attack took place in the Marina District on Lombard Street, and that the group of as many as 20 attackers used homophobic slurs.

Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Mark Farrell, who represents the Marina, on Thursday issued a statement condemning the attack, calling it “inexcusable” and “an attack on San Francisco values that embrace the acceptance and diversity of all of our communities.”

“Violence perpetrated against a person in our LGBT community is an affront to us all,” the statement said.

The attack has helped inspire at least one group to stake out some safe space in the Marina District next Friday through a “gay takeover” of the HiFi Lounge, a bar near where the alleged attack occurred.

The SF Gay Mafia — a social group named for a fondness for the party game Mafia, rather than for any criminal tendencies — was already planning an event in the Marina District, said Saul Sugarman, one of the group’s leaders and an organizer of the event. After the attack, however, the HiFi seemed like the logical location.

Sugarman emphasized that the event, which is open to any sexual orientation, is meant to be fun and playful, although it does carry an underlying message about the need to establish and maintain safe spaces, even in progressive San Francisco.

“It is not a protest,” Sugarman said today. “What I envision for this event is a bunch of glittery, dancing queens drinking alcohol and having a good time and remembering that we do not live in a post-homophobic society.”

Sugarman said that there is a “perception” that the Marina District is less gay friendly than other parts of the city. He himself has never been physically attacked in San Francisco, but has felt unwelcome and had people shout things to him, especially when he is wearing one of his more colorful outfits.

The HiFi Lounge, which found itself caught up in the media coverage this week, has posted the takeover event on its Facebook page and issued a statement on Thursday emphasizing that it welcomes patrons of all races, genders and sexual orientation.

“While we are not sure what led to the events of last Saturday
outside of our business we want to be very clear that we hold no bias in our place of business,” the statement read. “And most importantly, we NEVER want to see any type of hate.”

Police today said they are looking into the reports about the attack but Lafayette has not contacted them and investigators have not yet been able to talk to him.

Anyone with information about the attack should call the SFPD’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or Text A Tip to TIP411 and start the text message with SFPD.

Efforts to reach Lafayette today for comment have been unsuccessful.

Sara Gaiser, Bay City News

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