It was 3 in the morning last March when Ade Connere was attacked. Connere had been performing at the gay bar Pony on Capitol Hill and was wearing a shiny black coat over a dress. Connere, 36, is tall and lean and exudes a certain elegance, even without makeup or skirts. Two men were walking down the street and — thinking he was a woman — catcalled him.
But when they got closer, they realized they were wrong. “Oh, no. That’s a dude!” one of them yelled. The other called after him, “Where you going?” followed by a common slur for gay men. They pushed him to the ground and scuffled. He kicked them and managed to run away, escaping with a few cuts and bruises. The Stranger covered the attack, and though Connere initially declined to file a police report, he eventually did after the mayor’s office contacted him. The assault was classified as a hate crime.
Incidents like Connere’s illustrate a growing culture clash on Capitol Hill, a formerly blue-collar neighborhood that became a home for artists and the gay community decades ago and is now in the throes of yet another transformation.
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