Andrew Sullivan | Crime | News | Provincetown

Locals Assault Gay Man Outside A-House Bar in Provincetown

Andrew Sullivan reports on this hate crime:

Ahouse "I was shocked tonight to bump into a new friend, Mark, hobbling down the street. I was about to make a joke as I rode up behind him on my bike and then saw his face. It was a blur of blood and bruises. Friday night, he was leaving the Atlantic House - an historic gay pub in Ptown - when a group of three local kids hiding in an alley-way to target gays threw a bottle at his face and called him a faggot. He threw the bottle back and then they set upon him. He's not a slight guy, he's strong and built and bearded. But he was clearly reeling from the assault and will return to the hospital tomorrow. The cops apparently responded heroically and after a chase captured the assailants."

Anyone who has lived or visited Ptown knows what a facade of safety this town provides with its high population gays and lesbians. Some gay bashings occur here due to outsiders such as the attack on two lesbians back in May by a man from Winthrop, Massachusetts. Having lived year-round in Ptown I always had the feeling that the locals were fairly accepting of the unusual hybrid of sexualities and ethnicities that are the town's make-up. But I suppose there are isolated pockets of hate everywhere.

There is a July 31 hearing for Eric Patten of Winthrop in the May assault case.

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  1. "He's not a slight guy, he's strong and built and bearded".

    I know Andrew Sullivan loves beards, but does he really think that having one was going to help fight the attackers off?

    Posted by: Sasha | Jul 27, 2009 8:53:35 AM

  2. What time was this ?

    Was there nobody else in this very well travelled walkway ?

    As a major nightclub with three bars --- where was the A-House Security ?

    P-Town - MEH

    Posted by: Willie | Jul 27, 2009 9:11:55 AM

  3. Sasha,
    I think he was just letting people know that these kids are bold and will go after anyone. So watch your back

    Posted by: Realitythink | Jul 27, 2009 9:18:38 AM

  4. I agree Sasha. How in the world does "bearded" go with "strong and built"? That sounded very awkward.

    Posted by: Let'sFaceIt | Jul 27, 2009 9:51:42 AM

  5. I think in the context, the caveat of "strong and built and bearded" was informative. If the attackers are young, one would expect them to go after a type that usually brings up feelings of insecurity and fear (with violence to follow)--slightness and/or effeminacy can truly enrage the insecure, while providing the "easy target" that their cowardice is drawn to. That these young attackers would target a more lumberjacky specimen makes this case more complex.

    Posted by: LD | Jul 27, 2009 10:14:51 AM

  6. Well then if "bearded" was meant to convey a lumberjack it didn't work. I also associate beards with professors and antique dealers. Sullivan should have left it at "strong and built" to make his point.

    Posted by: Let'sFaceIt | Jul 27, 2009 10:33:52 AM

  7. So Sullivan's use of "bearded" was your take-away? He is weird, but it's a very good data point. Lots and lots of folks walk around deluded that their bear/macho trappings mean they're less of a bashing target.

    It's just that much harder today to say any bashing victim was "asking for it" by prancing around in tulle. Good for Sullivan. A stopped clock is right twice a day, and I guess it's his time.

    As for P-Town, this was out first year there - we went for a week - and anyone who thinks it's gay paradise is running on fumes. I watched the "PTown Diaries" documentary on Logo and had several of my misgivings confirmed.

    Posted by: Tony | Jul 27, 2009 10:45:02 AM

  8. yikes! I was just there on that street at that night. I probably ran into the kids at some point, (definitely saw Mr. Sullivan). I really would've thought that the gayest place in the U.S. would've been safe.

    sadly, no.

    Posted by: ED2 | Jul 27, 2009 10:54:00 AM

  9. Wow. I should be amazed that a post is made about a gay bashing in Provincetown, and people are fixated on a writer's use of the word "beard", but I'm not surprised.

    A human being was assaulted. It matters not whether he was slight or stocky, clean shaven or bearded. The perpetrators should face appropriate punishment. I checked some local sites, and haven't found any information beyond Sullivan's posting. If the perps were juveniles, we may not learn their names.

    Posted by: Hank | Jul 27, 2009 11:08:44 AM

  10. That's absurdly unfortunate. I was on my way INTO the bar once and was surrounded by a gang of 19th century brothel wear-clad drag queens....SCREW YOU! I'm just trying to relate. No, in all seriousness, that's horrific and those kids should be thrown in a barrel and drifted out to sea.

    Posted by: James Anthony | Jul 27, 2009 11:16:30 AM

  11. Hank - obviously the fact that he was gay-bashed is horrible and evil, I would have hoped that went without saying, particularly on a site like this.

    And are you seriously suggesting that discussing Sullivan's use of "bearded" means that we DON'T think that "The perpetrators should face appropriate punishment"?

    Sullivan's use of it was strange and worth highlighting, and I think people have made some interesting posts in response.

    Posted by: Sasha | Jul 27, 2009 11:26:09 AM

  12. This is one of the reasons I'm a supporter of the NRA. We need to know how to defend ourselves, instead of waiting for someone to do it for us.

    Posted by: Krysan | Jul 27, 2009 12:00:31 PM

  13. Bearded, 6'2, 200 pounds and training in martial arts, I usually assume I'm safe from bashers. Thanks Andrew Sullivan, for smartening me up.

    Posted by: MikeMick | Jul 27, 2009 12:19:27 PM

  14. "Anyone who has lived or visited Ptown knows what a facade of safety this town provides with its high population gays and lesbians."

    Apparently it is just that, a facade.

    Posted by: Trasker | Jul 27, 2009 2:15:07 PM

  15. Maybe here in Mass. we are a little more aware that the arc of acceptance doesn't extend out as far or as protectively in Boston, Cambridge, PTown as it does in NY, SF, Montreal, Amsterdam, and particularly not at night. - Sullivan's writing is such a wonderful combination of literate erudition and d'oh queer, he writes along so beautifully and then intimates the talismanic power of beard. And this is the guy who writes about the death of gay culture?

    Posted by: interglossa | Jul 27, 2009 8:50:18 PM

  16. The "bearded man" is my boyfriend of 26 years. I think he was simply saying that Mark did not look like a "push over." He looks like the average well built 51 year old guy with a beard.

    We found out that one of the kids who did this was just recently arrested for domestic violence on a family member.

    Mark is still having trouble walking and he has a messed up nose and face with a few stitched on his nose.

    We want to thank the police and the locals who came to his aid. We don't have their names so, if anyone knows who they are, please let me know at:

    Everyone was great in handling this except the jerks at the Elephant Walk Inn. That jerk who ownes the place did not even want to give me some ice to put on his swolen face. When I rang the bell he said he was "just finishing cocktails" and did not like having to do that.

    He also would not give us a credit for leaving early as we had to return to Miami to get Mark medical treatment even though his manager said they would.


    Posted by: Mike | Jul 29, 2009 12:57:44 PM

  17. About 25 years ago when I was living year round in P-town, a very similar incident happened to me. Coming our of The town center pizza shop, I was "accidently" bumped into by a young townie kid and quickly surrounded by others. I was slight and seeing myself surrounded, I took the road of least confrontation, apologized (though not at fault) and quietly walked away amidst jeers and taunts.

    The next day I reported the incident to the police. At the time the police station was literally across the street from the Pizza Parlor in the basement of Town Hall. The police took down my report and just scoffed it off as a rite of passage.

    They claimed that every Fall and Spring, these incidents occur as the local kids are feeling the wheaties, taking back the town from the "foreign" element in the Fall and loosing it in the Spring.

    For me is was an eye opening event. These children are the same kids of all those local merchants and tradesmen who greet us so kindly and are more than happy to take our money. But what do they really think of us? Perhaps, their kids' attitude gives a better understanding of their true feelings. They had to learn those slurs and hostility somewhere.

    So although I lived there another twenty years, I never truly trusted a local straight person again. I smiled, they smiled, and I had as little to do with local "townies" as possible.

    How depressing to hear that nothing has changed.

    Posted by: Len | Oct 9, 2009 1:05:15 PM

  18. why should your elite rich white gay ghetto be safer than my black, poor gay bar?
    The 'facade' of P-town is self created by rich bears and it's cracking.

    But as a good queer I vow, with god as my witness, I will NEVER STAY AT THE ELEPHANT INN! Not even with an off-season discount and if Kathy Griffin was in the hot tub giving away bumps of meth. Promise.

    Posted by: Kitty Boots | Jul 27, 2010 1:03:08 PM

  19. I say learn how to fight back. Take martial arts classes, get a trainer. Have a few beers at the A-house, but nothing heavy, and travel in large groups. If they hit you, hit them back...hard. When i was 34, i started taking martial arts classes at the university. Six years later, i still do. I know how old I am, but it is never too late. I have been called "faggot" leaving a gay nightclub etc...but now that has stopped. I pick fights with college kids now. They are basically sparring partners, and most are quite nice. It is rough though. I do sustain injuries, as well as inflict them. I see it as a sport, even though I never pictured myself doing this.

    Gay bashers are usually cowards who have no idea how to fight. If you don't want to do what I do, at least learn how to punch using a heavy bag, etc. When someone does attack you, thinking you're an easy target, punch them really hard in the throat. You could kill them doing that...but if they want to kill you, you have to defend yourself. (Imagine the look on their face??) Legal weapons, such as mace and stun guns are also helpful. Let's all work together as a community...whether you're a gym rat, drag queen, lesbian, younger, older, we all have the same objective. Let's change the headlines, "Gay defends him(or her)self, sends gay-basher to intensive care".

    Posted by: Mike | May 18, 2011 12:36:28 PM

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