Gay man reportedly beaten, hospitalized after leaving SOMA bar

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Tuesday February 7, 2023
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Barry Miles, left, before he said he was attacked by two men, and right, after he was hospitalized. Photos: Via GoFundMe
Barry Miles, left, before he said he was attacked by two men, and right, after he was hospitalized. Photos: Via GoFundMe

A gay man said that he was beaten near a South of Market LGBTQ bar over the weekend, leading to his hospitalization, and a GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for his living expenses.

Barry Miles posted a picture of himself post-attack to his Instagram page Monday, February 6. Miles wrote, "Last night I got jumped when I left powerhouse by two guys. My wallet was taken? I also had a heart attack. They put in two stents. From high cholesterol. my face hit the sidewalk. also a front tooth was knocked out, and a small fracture in my neck. I'm pretty banged up."

Allison Maxie, a spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department, corroborated Miles' account in a statement to the Bay Area Reporter on Tuesday.

"On February 5, 2023 at approximately 12:02 a.m., San Francisco Police Officers from Southern Station responded to the unit block of Langton Street regarding a call for a well-being check," Maxie wrote. "Officers arrived on scene and located an adult male being treated by medics. During the initial interaction with officers, the victim was unable to provide details regarding what led up to his injuries."

Then, "officers responded to a business on the 1300 block of Folsom Street where the male stated he had come from and during their initial investigation, officers were unable to determine that a crime had occurred at that location," Maxie added.

"At this time, we do not have evidence that this incident was hate-motivated," Maxie stated.

Scott Richard Peterson, the general manager of Powerhouse, stated to the B.A.R. that an officer showed up after midnight.

"A policeman came by after midnight," Peterson stated. "The incident didn't happen at Powerhouse, on the alley or on Folsom [Street] that we could see ... Officer didn't give me any details.

"This city is getting rough," he added.

Maxie said that "the male was transported to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Officers provided the male with a follow up form for this open investigation."

Gary Virginia, a longtime gay activist and friend of Miles, set up the GoFundMe for him.

The fundraiser has raised $8,000 out of a $10,000 goal as of press time. Virginia found out from the social media post that Miles had been hurt.

Since Powerhouse is between Ninth and 10th streets, and Miles lives on Sixth Street, Virginia said Miles was probably on his way home.

Virginia has been communicating with Miles via text since "I didn't want him to feel pressure to answer the phone or talk."

"He lives on a tight budget," Virginia told the B.A.R. "He'd had stents put in, a neck fracture, a heart attack, and lost a front tooth. I thought 'that's going to be a long time of recovery for him.'"

Virginia said that he's known Miles for about two decades.

"We've been friends through the Castro and leather communities," Virginia said. "I don't really know when he moved here."

The two are involved in Krewe de Kinque, a Mardi Gras-themed club. Miles was King XIV of the club (there've been 20 kings thus far, one per year).

Virginia said Miles needs about $5,000 for a tooth implant.

Virginia said he would text Miles to ask if the latter would be interested in speaking with the B.A.R.; Miles was also messaged directly by the B.A.R. via Instagram, but has not responded as of press time.

"I feel there could be some trauma he's not realizing from the attack," Virginia said.

Virginia said there's no indication he has heard yet from Miles that this was an attack motivated by anti-gay animus.

San Francisco Pride President Nguyen Pham, a gay man, condemned "this horrific attack against a member of our community."

"While we might not know the motive for the attack, we cannot ignore the growing nationwide trend of violence against the LGBTQ+ community, from the streets to the statehouses," Pham wrote in an email. "We remain in solidarity with Barry, as well as other victims of anti-LGBTQ+ hate, and we will hold him in our hearts toward his speedy recovery."

Powerhouse, a leather and cruise bar, is an anchor of the LGBTQ community in the SOMA neighborhood. It's located on Folsom Street, once dubbed the "Miracle Mile" for its string of queer establishments. Powerhouse opened under its present ownership in 1997 after a variety of bars had done business in the space.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the SFPD at 415-575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 and start the message with SFPD.

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