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Police investigating alleged attack on drag queen as possible hate crime

by Alex Madison

Tim Tait, also known as the drag queen Ginger Snap, posted this photo of injuries he said he sustained in an attack or a bathroom fall. Photo: Courtesy Facebook
Tim Tait, also known as the drag queen Ginger Snap, posted this photo of injuries he said he sustained in an attack or a bathroom fall. Photo: Courtesy Facebook  

The San Francisco Police Department said this week that it is investigating an alleged attack against a local drag queen as a possible hate crime, according to SFPD spokesman Officer Robert Rueca.

Ginger Snap, also known as Tim Tait, 40, said he was attacked Saturday, June 9, after leaving the Eagle Tavern. He posted graphic images of his injuries on Facebook last Thursday, which included two black eyes, a gash on his forehead, a broken front tooth, and other cuts and bruises. He filed a police report Monday, June 18, a little more than a week after the alleged incident.

The Bay Area Reporter spoke with Tait, who recalled the alleged attack. He said he was attending an event for the SF Knockers, a gay softball team, at SOMArts on Brannan Street, before heading to the Eagle Tavern, a gay bar in the South of Market neighborhood, around 9:45 p.m. He stayed at the Eagle for about 15 minutes and then decided to walk to his apartment a few blocks away. Instead of taking his normal route under the freeway, which is lit, he turned down Bernice Street, which he described as a small alleyway.

"For some reason I made the unconscious decision to go down the alleyway," said Tait, who is gay.

At the time, he was not dressed in drag. He was wearing jeans and a white and fuchsia T-shirt and baseball hat, both with the team's name on them. Tait also mentioned he had a few drinks that night, but was not "wasted."

Once walking on Bernice, Tait said he didn't see anyone and was suddenly hit from behind in the back of the head. Everything after the initial hit was "fuzzy," Tait said, but he has had flashbacks of getting punched in between the eyes, giving him two black eyes, being dragged down the street, kicked, and punched.

After the attack, he walked home and saw himself in the mirror.

"I was so flabbergasted. I was in shock. I didn't know how bad it was until I looked in the mirror," he said.

It was then that he called 911 and was transported to St. Mary's Medical Center where he received an EKG and a CAT scan that showed he suffered a concussion. He said he didn't file a police report right away because he was waiting to gather more details, as well as recuperating.

SFPD confirmed the case number of Tait's police report. Tait said that officers are investigating the incident and searching for security cameras that may have captured the incident, though, Rueca would not confirm that information.

On Facebook, people have show sympathy and support. However, one person called Tait out for the "rumors" that were going around that Tait's injuries were the result of him falling in the bathroom, not an attack.

Hornet.com published a story about the incident and a user named anonimodesf left a comment June 17, "rumors are buzzing that ginger texted friends saying she fell in the bathroom but was so drunk doesn't remember what happened and even mentioned falling in their bathroom. The most glaring (lack of detail) is no police report has been filed. I hope the rumors are false."

Tait responded to this by explaining that when he came home right after the attack, he had bled all over the bathroom. After coming home from the hospital, he still had not pieced together what happened. He texted a few friends about what could have possibly happened, including falling in the bathroom.

"I understand why people questioned it because I did say that, but if they could see the state of my body and see what I went through now, it was obviously not a fall."

"I don't want this to spread hate," he said. "I want this to bring the community closer together, make us stronger, and be there for each other."

A GoFundMe has been set up for Tait's medical costs at https://www.gofundme.com/put-the-smile-back-on-gingersnap, where almost $7,000 has been raised. Tait said he does not have medical insurance.

Contact the reporter at a.madison@ebar.com.

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