Hearing Tomorrow in Ft. Worth on LGBT Inclusive City Policies to Spark “Christian” Protests
Tuesday evening in Fort Worth, Texas may prove to be a night of fireworks for gay rights in the state. Recent events in Texas have brought the need for gay rights legislation on a local, state and national level to the forefront.
In the last year, events in San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso, and Fort Worth have each reminded the GLBT community of the pain and suffering that goes along with being gay in the twenty-first century. Whether it show itself as harassment for affection toward someone of the same gender, or physical attacks because you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, gay people find that life is not easy in a conservative state.
On November 10, 2009, the Diversity Task Force will present its findings and recommendations following the June 29, 2009 Rainbow Lounge Raid. These recommendations include adding gender identity to the city’s non-discrimination policy and requiring city vendors to alter their non-discrimination policies accordingly. It has also been recommended that gender-reassignment surgery be covered by the city’s insurance policies for its workers.
The city will undergo an educational process that will include all city employees, with a special emphasis for police and fire department staff and outreach to the community about city laws concerning non-discrimination. There will also be concerted efforts to seek out more GLBT employees and to promote Fort Worth as a GLBT travel destination by advertising and working with the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce.
The challenge has arisen because the conservative Christian community has, as usual, voiced radical opposition to these moves. In one instance, this past Sunday, November 8, 2009, the LGBT group, Queer LiberAction, was scheduled to host a “Milk Box” in Fort Worth. Organizers and volunteers were run off by a Christian group that formed and took over the corner. One report says that the gay group left in fear of violence. Video from the event shows how an otherwise peaceful gathering of our community results in intolerance from oppressive Christians:
GLBT rights activists and extremist Christian groups will come head to head on Tuesday evening at the Fort Worth City Council meeting. Fairness Fort Worth is planning to meet at the now infamous Rainbow Lounge and lead a car parade from the site raided just months ago by Ft. Worth Police and TABC agents to the council meeting. Queer Liberaction will be set up outside of City Hall at about the same hour and begin a protest. Both groups plan to enter City Hall and show the presence of the gay community in numbers as well as voice.
The oppressive Christians are gearing up for the meeting as well and plan to overwhelm the room in order to fight against any equal legal protections for GLBT people. This is nothing new for the Ft. Worth GLBT community. At a recent Kiss-In at the Stock Yards, a local entertainment venue, these oppressors launched a counter protest to the queer community in the name of their God.
What happens at Tuesday evening’s meeting will speak loudly for the future of gay rights in the city of Fort Worth, but more importantly for gay rights in Texas and across the nation. Recent defeats like those in Maine, help us to understand the constant vigil that we must keep to not only increase these legal protections, but also to keep the few we have.
Marlin: You may remember Marlin from an earlier episode of Closet Talk. Since then, he’s been keeping us up to date on the happenings in Ft. Worth after the fateful raid of the Rainbow Lounge. Marlin is a former pulpit minister turned activist.