“Is this it?”
Kerry Tyler Street says he felt a wave of calm as he lay on the ground, wondering if he was about to die.
The 25-year-old trades student says he was the victim of a violent gaybashing Oct 9, in the Guildford area of Surrey.
Street was skateboarding on his way home from school around 3pm near 146 Street and 104 Avenue, when a man allegedly assaulted him without warning.
“He punches me right in the face and knocks me off my skateboard,” Street tells Xtra. “He then manages to hit me again in the face before I hit the ground.”
The man kept punching and kicking him while calling him names, Street says. “Fucking queer, fucking homo, fucking faggot. Every obscenity you can think of. At a certain point I just stopped trying to get up. I lied down and stopped moving.”
Eventually the assailant walked away, leaving Street in a pool of his own blood. Street says he knew the man was gone only when he could no longer hear him.
“I could hear his voice trailing off, getting quieter and quieter.”
Now at home recovering, Street says the support and encouragement he’s received from friends and strangers has helped him through the ordeal.
Street lost four front teeth in the attack and says he’s likely facing hefty bills for dental surgery.
“It seems ridiculous that if I break my arm it’s covered by BC Medical, but if somebody beats the hell out of me and breaks my teeth, I get served with a bill for $10,000,” he says.
Surrey RCMP initially told Surrey Now that officers were looking for a suspect in his late 20s or early 30s, about six feet tall, with a slim to medium build and blond, spiky hair. Xtra’s repeated calls for comment on the investigation have so far gone unanswered.
Although Street identifies as straight, he says this is the second time he’s been physically attacked in Surrey because he’s been perceived as gay. The first time he was 19.
“I guess they heard rumours that I was gay or bisexual. I had blue hair, I wore tight pants. I was a bit of a punk rocker. I don’t think that’s a crime though,” he says.
According to Street, that time three men broke his nose and kicked him with steel-toed boots, breaking his ribs. One of them held him down while the other ground into him pretending to have sex with him while he lay on the ground.
“I don’t want to keep quiet about this. It’s terrible and no one should have to go through it. Gay, straight, it doesn’t matter, nobody deserves it.”