One day in 1987, when Karl was jogging just outside of Berkeley, three men pulled alongside him in a car as he ran. “Hey, I like your legs!” one yelled. “Let me suck your prick,” said another. After following close behind Karl, they finally parked the car and got out. “Hey, why don’t you want to talk to us?” one of the men asked. Karl tried to evade the men, telling them he was “busy,” but they grabbed him and “choked” him.
Karl’s attack based on his perceived sexuality mirrors Sasha’s own attack. Karl’s attackers believe him to be gay, and Richard believes that Sasha’s skirt is a reflection of their homosexuality as well. Of course, neither Sasha nor Karl identify as gay, and this further underscores the misunderstanding and bias directed toward the LGBTQ community.
When Karl regained consciousness, he was surrounded by bystanders, but the police were never able to find the men. Later, Karl wrote about it in his journal and found the whole thing “bizarre.” After all, he wasn’t even gay. This was an isolated incident, one “not likely to be repeated,” he thought.
Karl’s belief that his attack is an isolated incident is highly ironic. Of course, his child will be attack for the very same reasons, and the fact that both Karl and Sasha have been affected by this discrimination highlights the prevalence of bias directed at LGBTQ individuals.