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Toronto drag queen seriously injured by unidentified assailant

Police investigating alleged attack on Ryan Boa

Ryan Boa, pictured above at Sunnybrook Hospital, received treatment for the injuries he alleges were from a man who came home with him in the early hours of May 13. Credit: HG Watson

Ryan Boa’s right eye is purple and completely swollen shut. His left eye is slightly better, but the rest of his face is puffy and sore.

“There’s a lot of pressure; it’s all over,” he says, motioning to his face, while sitting in the emergency room at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. He will later learn that he has a broken nose.

Boa is still wearing makeup from the previous night, when he went in drag to perform at Statlers on Church Street in Toronto’s gay village for its C U Next Tuesday with Donnarama and Eve Summers event. Boa’s drag alter ego is BOA — his last name and an acronym for “Bitch on Arrival.”

It was at that bar that Boa says he met the man he alleges assaulted him in the early morning hours of May 13.

According to police at 53 Division, Toronto Police Services is now investigating the incident and is looking to identify the man Boa says attacked him. Police were unable to provide more details at press time.

The alleged assailant, whose name Boa doesn’t know, was at Statlers watching the show, tipping some of the drag queens and having a “good time,” according to Boa.

The 20-year-old says that after his show, he invited the man back to his apartment at about 2:30 in the morning for drinks.

“He kept bugging me for sex,” but Boa says he wasn’t interested. “All I remember is him attacking me and that’s it.”

He says he has no memory of the severity of the attack. He woke up in the morning and found blood all over his bedroom in the apartment he shares with two roommates. The man was gone and some of Boa’s belongings — a cell phone, a laptop and wallet — were also missing.

Boa describes his alleged attacker as tall, handsome and standing just over six feet tall.  

Sam Adams, who performed with Boa at Statlers on May 12, says he also saw the alleged assailant. “He was hitting on a lot of the queens and girls at the bar,” he says, adding that the man was wearing a white, long-sleeve shirt and a University of Toronto lanyard.

Boa and Adams differed on whether the man had an accent — Boa believes he may have been from the United Kingdom.

Adams and Kevin Tinianov, who was running sound at Statlers on May 12, came to visit Boa at Sunnybrook Hospital along with some other friends. Tinianov, who says he did not interact much with the man, gave a similar description to Adams and Boa.

Robert Borden, a bartender at Statlers who worked on May 12, says that he saw the man buy Boa a shot and pay with cash.

One of Boa’s roommates was not home during the alleged attack. The other, he says, was asleep. Daily Xtra was unable to reach him for comment.

Boa is still shocked at what happened to him. “He was so nice and outgoing and charismatic,” Boa says. “I never would have thought.”

Despite his injuries, Boa is in good spirits at the hospital, laughing and joking with his friends who came to keep him company. On Facebook, where Boa first posted photos of his injuries early on May 13, hundreds of people have expressed him well wishes. A GoFundMe campaign was also started to help Boa cover his medical costs and recoup the loss of his stolen goods — at press time, the campaign has raised just over $2,000.

“It’s amazing how this community is,” Boa says. “I’m so proud to be part of the gay community. We’re like a big family and they are so supportive.”