Last night a not-so-unusual event happened at Chico’s Tacos in El Paso, Texas. While waiting to order, two men gave each other a simple kiss. Private security guards with All [Heterosexual] American International Security found their masculinity threatened, approached the men and advised them that they they, “didn’t allow that faggot stuff to go on there.”
The men were asked to leave; however, Carlos Diaz de Leon, one of the men in the group, feared what was happening and called police. One El Paso police officer arrived about an hour later and advised the men who were kissing that they could be cited with homosexual conduct.
In spite of “homosexual conduct” not being a crime in the U.S. or the State of Texas, and in spite of the fact that El Paso has anti-discrimination ordinances which include sexual orientation, the officer still believed that he could cite the men for a crime… the crime of kissing. While I can almost brush off the security guards’ response to the kiss because security guards in Texas are near minimum wage earners with little training and nominal education requirements, the actions of the El Paso police officer are unconscionable. This is an epic failure on the part of the police department. Officers are apparently untrained in what is a crime and what is not a crime, not provided with the city’s anti-discrimination policies and uninterested in protecting “faggot stuff” such as kissing or holding hands in public. See: Two men kissing kicked out of East Side Chico’s Tacos.
At this point, you may think you’re watching a television show rather than dealing with real life, but as mentioned, these sorts of events aren’t uncommon in Texas, or even other parts of the nation.
This isn’t the first time contracted security guards and police have butted heads with the LGBT community over public affection. Just a few months back, security guards at Rolling Oaks Mall in San Antonio demanded a lesbian couple leave the mall immediately by way of the closest entrance because of a kiss. The two women left the mall by way of a nearby door; however found themselves on the opposite side of the mall from their vehicle. Upon returning to the mall to go out the entrance where their car was located, the girls were approached by San Antonio Police Officers. One of the girls was severely beaten by police for “resisting arrest” and charged with criminal trespass.
More recently, Ft. Worth police and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission officers have come under intense scrutiny from the LGBT community for their handling of a raid on the Rainbow Lounge. During that raid, Chad Gibson was critically injured while being taken into custody.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise to this Texan that again, those retained to protect and serve are prosecuting and suspecting LGBT people. What is shocking is that no one outside of the LGBT community (including our straight allies) recognizes these events as an obvious abuse of power, infringement on human rights and disgustingly discriminatory.