Victim describes ‘out of the blue’ anti-gay attack: ‘I had no way to defend myself’
SEATTLE — A Seattle man on Tuesday described a violent anti-gay attack as the same feeling he had going to war when he served in the Air Force.
“This is how I felt, being that scared,” Chip Perala said. “Just out of the blue, someone attacking me for no reason and I had no way to defend myself.”
Perala was the victim in one of two anti-gay attacks over the weekend on Capitol Hill.
On Friday, in the middle of the day, Perala was knocked to the ground by two men and attacked along a sidewalk just outside his home.
“All of a sudden I felt a foot go in front of my foot, and someone shoving me in the back and the next thing I know, I was face down on the cement,” said Perala.
The pair kicked him and called him an anti-gay slur before running off.
"There was really nothing to make them think that I was gay," said Perala. "I don’t know how they figured it out. I mean, I wasn’t wearing a pink tutu or anything like that."
Perala can joke about it now, but he has the scars to show what he went through on his hands and arms, along with stitches on his chin.
A second hate crime was reported two days later. Two men, holding hands, were confronted by a man who spit on them and yelled slurs.
These latest anti-gay assaults are happening just as the city rolls out it’s "Safe Place" program, where businesses around Capitol Hill create a space for anyone who feels threatened or unsafe, a feeling that seems to be on the rise around Capitol Hill.
Seattle police responded to 18 bias crime reports in May, compared with nine in the same month last year.
Perala says he still feels safe most of the time on the Hill, but he can also spot his own bloodstains on the sidewalk outside his home, which puts him more on guard.
"I'll definitely be a little more cautious while I'm walking. Instead of watching my phone I’ll be watching people."