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Gay Activists Kicked out of Council Hearing on Rainbow Lounge Raid.

July 15, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Headline, LGBT News

While there is no reason the average person should watch the entire 6+ hours of the City Counsel meeting during which the Ft. Worth raid of the Rainbow Lounge was discussed, it does have its dramatic moments. City Council Woman, Kathleen Hicks, delivered an eloquent speech around the 0:13:50 mark.

As a council representative of the club in which this unfortunate incident took place and as an African American female who experiences discrimination every day of my life, I fill it is incumbent upon me to stand up, not only for the citizens I represent, but for all.  I want to thank each and everyone of you that have emailed or called me regarding this incident.

***

I also feel very strongly that not only the police, but all city employees, including myself, must receive education on diversity and inclusion and acceptance of all within our community.

Thereafter, District 9 Councilman, Joel Burns, advised that he has received over 1,000 emails and telephone calls indicating concern over the raid.  While he believes the Chief Police is doing a thorough job, he agrees an independent investigation is necessary.

But the real fun began shortly after the 25 minute mark when the mayor attempted to move away from the Rainbow Lounge talks and continue with the agenda items.  Much to the dismay of many present, the City of Ft. Worth had placed the Rainbow Lounge raid last on the agenda.  Audience members, frustrated that LGBT issues are last again, interrupted the mayor to request that the Rainbow Lounge Raid be moved to the front of the agenda.

The mayor advised that there are many other important things on the agenda that must be discussed prior to the alleged human rights violations.  A review of the agenda indicates that an Agreement for Auction Services, the purchase of a truck, veterinary supplies and other such items took precedence.  The LGBT activists present then began chanting, “Hear us now!”

Discontent amongst those present continued to esculate and ultimately resulted in the removal of two men from the meeting by marshals.  The request to move the Rainbow Lounge discussions to the front of the agenda was denied.

Upon being asked to apologize for a man [Chad Gibson] being hospitalized.  The mayor responded by saying:

If you want an apology from the mayor of Fort Worth: I am sorry about what happened in Fort Worth.

Three hours later, Jonathan Nelson, a Ft. Worth attorney, opened the discussions on behalf of the LGBT community.  He began by reading an email he received calling him a “meth head” and “fudge backer” which email further asked how he can find time to sodomize his partner while doing interviews with the Dallas Voice, working with the LGBT Chamber and picking up “rent boys.”  He explained:

That is what it can mean to be gay in Ft. Worth.

Many more speakers followed, all with their own stories and experiences.  The investigation into the incedent is still underway.

Since the raid, Officer Sara Straten has been appointed as a liaison to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.  Perhaps progress is being made.

VIDEO OF THE ENTIRE MEETING:


Launch in external player

What Happens in Ft. Worth Isn’t Staying There.

July 06, 2009 By: texasman Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

Stonewall, Texas StyleAs a witness to the events following the Rainbow Lounge Raid, I have wondered what happened.  My father worked in the police force for much of my life, and so I had that perspective as well as the perspective of a gay man.  Several scenarios played out in my mind.  I wanted my first contribution to the conversation here to be an exploration of some of those scenarios.

I think we all know the basic facts.  The police came to Rainbow Lounge.  While the police were at Rainbow Lounge, several patrons were arrested for public intoxication.  One of those arrested, Chad Gibson, was injured and had to be taken to the hospital.  Within those “basic” facts the real story exists.

Scenario 1:  Saturday afternoon several police officers got in a mood to rough up somebody.  The fags were always an easy target, especially in Fort Worth, which, at least in their minds, is still pretty much of a country town.  It could have as easily been a group of Mexican-Americans or African-Americans, but fags were an easier target, as they usually shut up and remain invisible.  So they planned to go to a local gay bar and rough up some of the queers, but, to cover it, they stopped by a couple of other bars first.

Scenario 2:  The police were doing routine bar checks.  They had stopped at two bars already and arrested a few people.  They arrived at the gay bar with nothing specific planned.  After entering the bar, they were attacked by some or all of the people in the bar, one of the police called for back-up and other officers entered the bar blazing, at which time several bar patrons were arrested for public intoxication, as well as police harassment.  During the ensuing chaos a couple of the bar patrons are injured, one critically.

Scenario 3:  The police were doing a routine bar check.  They arrived at the bar and things were going very normally.  Suddenly one of the policemen was touched in a way that he felt inappropriate, even sexual.  He had never dealt with a gay person before and, whether the “touch” was intentional or not, he panicked and felt sexually vulnerable.  He attacked the bar patron and began to rough him up.  The officer called for help believing that he had reason to fear attacks from other bar patrons.  The officers that entered didn’t know the situation and began to take control of the situation by arresting patrons and treating some of them roughly.

Scenario 4:  Someone in either the leadership of FWPD or TABC decided that the fags needed to be taught a lesson and ordered his staff to rough up the gays and be sure they remember their place in the community.  The police arrived with those orders and began to carry them out.

Scenario 5:  The police arrive at the bar and find a patron so drunk he can’t stand up.  While observing him, he falls down and hits his head.  They arrest him for public intoxication, during which time he begins to vomit, which the officer attributes to his level of intoxication.  Because he is ill and has injuries, they then turn him over to EMS so that he can be treated.  During the same event they find several others that they suspect of public intoxication and arrest them also.

Scenario 6: The police arrived to do a routine bar check, the third of the night.  Upon entering the bar they discovered several people who they considered intoxicated, so they began arresting them.  During the arrests one of the patrons, not realizing what was going on, maybe even confused because he was just enjoying himself, questioned an officer about what was going on.  The officer thinking he wasn’t being respectful enough attempted to physically push the patron, at which time the patron stumbled.  The officer then grabbed the patron and shoved him to the ground, at which time he hit his head.

I could keep creating these scenarios in my head.  I honestly don’t know which one happened.  But from listening to the police defending themselves, and the witnesses to the events, I am really saddened and upset by the whole thing.  This is an event that should never have happened for so many reasons.

The officers’ timing, on that national celebration of Stonewall, was completely inexplicable.  The injury of Chad Gibson is totally over the top, considering we are simply talking about public intoxication at best, and not some out of control suspect, who was threatening the lives of others.

I have visited the bar since the event.  It doesn’t seem like a place where riots would start.  The patrons seem like pretty normal people to me.  Those I have visited with confess confusion and anger at the events.  Most of all, they also wonder what really happened.  Not just the actual events, but what was going on in the minds of the police and the patrons.

It is important at this juncture for the LGBTQ community in DFW and around the world to not let anger or hysteria win out.  We must use this moment to pressure the FWPD, TABC, State of Texas, and even the United States government to change themselves and the world we live in.  It is terrible that Chad had to be injured and this event had to occur to bring about the kind of movement I have witnessed in the last few days.  At the same time, the FWPD, city of Fort Worth, TABC, state of Texas, and United States needs to take a hard look at themselves and ask how they have contributed to the fear and pain that is so real in the gay community.

I hope this becomes a wake up call for our community.  I let fear rule my life for too long.  We have to stop the fear by stopping the hate and ignorance.

MarlinMarlin: You may remember Marlin from an earlier episode of Closet Talk. Now, he’s joining the jaysays.com team as our Ft. Worth correspondence and keeping us up to date on the bar raid. Since coming out of the closet, Marlin has worked to find ways to contribute to his new community and jaysays.com is happy to have him here working toward human rights.

Editor’s Note: I’m so thrilled to have Marlin on writing at jaysays.com.  Marlin is a DFW resident and will be following the Rainbow Lounge raid and reporting back to us on the events as they unfold.  Please give Marlin a big gay welcome!

LGBT Notable News Happenings – (June 27, 2009 – July 4, 2009)

July 06, 2009 By: MJ Category: Featured, LGBT News

LGBT NewsCivil Partnership in Ireland Celebrated With Parade (June 27, 2009)

Dublin was the scene of a loud and happy celebration where it was estimated that 12,000 people were gathered. Some of those who attended were dressed in tuxedos or wedding gowns to celebrate the new Civil Partnership Bill – which granted many of the rights of heterosexual marriages. There were others who were also happy – but “some 60 people dressed in a half tux or wedding dress … the move was to symbolize the ‘half measures’ offered in the Bill”. The Bill – which will be enacted and operational by the end of the year – gives statutory rights to Gay and Lesbian couples. Some of the rights included are the “protection of a shared home, pension rights, the right to succession and equality with married couples of treatment under the tax and social welfare codes.” Congratulations to our brothers and sisters in Ireland. There are some important rights missing – but this seems like a good start. The theme of the celebratory Pride Parade was – “Pride and Prejudice.”

LGBT Pride Month Recognized in US Labor Bldg (June 29, 2009)

The agency headquarters for the US Dept. of Labor prominently recognized LGBT Pride Month by installing and displaying Gay Pride posters in their building. The posters included photos of eight prominent LGBT Americans and were posted in the elevators. Unfortunately not all employees of the agency agreed with the recognition of LGBT Pride Month. Secretary Hilda Solis has denounced some vandals who not only defaced and even removed posters – but who also tore the actual poster frames completely off the elevator walls. Labor Secretary Solis sent out an agency-wide email indicating she would not tolerate anti-gay misconduct. Ms Solis said, “It appears, however, that some members of the Labor Department team have a different view, as it has come to my attention that most of the posters have been continually defaced or removed.” Secretary Solis also said, “I do not believe these actions represent the majority of our employees, so I refuse to let this situation define us. But I do want to make myself absolutely clear: Respect for others is nonnegotiable at the U.S. Department of Labor.” The posters which had been vandalized were immediately replaced. They were on display from June 22, 2009 until the end of the month. I hope that I speak for all of us when I say thank-you Secretary Solis for standing up in this way for the LGBT Community !

“Gaby Boom” Generation Speaks Out in US (June 29, 2009)

Many anti-gay politicians and religious leaders choose to speak out against Gay Marriage – especially about what they think is possibly harmful to the children of these families. It seems that most of these outspoken folks have spoken about the children of LGBT families – but they have they ever actually spoken to any of them!! Well the situation has been rectified. This article features several grown children of same sex families who have now been given the opportunity to share their views and feelings about growing up in lgbt families. They seem to be just like any other grown children – some have rebelled in their own ways, some call one parent by their first name and some go hiking and play catch – but they all seem to have grown to be healthy and happy persons. Here is yet another positive result of a child – or children – growing up in a loving home with parents who really care about them. “Gaby Boom” seems to be an LGBT reference to the “Baby Boom” generation – of which I am proudly a member – and I think it really works!. I truly recommend reading the entire piece – even if you prefer to read it a smaller portion at a time. It is well written and shows a variety of diversity within our own community. Well done kids! Another well done to the author of the piece!

Rainbow Lounge in TX Raided on Stonewall Anniversary (June 29, 2009)

Many people have good reason to see parallels between the raid at the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth, TX – and the raid at the Stonewall Inn exactly 40 years ago. The Fort Worth police officers claim this was a planned inspection – and that two other bars were also on the list for inspection that evening. But what happened at the Rainbow Lounge was far from an inspection. It seemed more to be like a twisted anti-gay commemoration of the anniversary. The owner of the Rainbow Lounge had previously been contacted by authorities and had agreed to an inspection of the bar – based on the liquor license. When the police arrived at the bar – one of the patrons thanked them for coming to protect them on that particular night. The officer replied that wasn’t the reason they were there. Several people were arrested and made to stand against the wall outside the bar – one person was badly injured and ended up in intensive care with bleeding in his brain. (The latest update is that the injured young man (Chad) is still hospitalized and will be suffering with extreme pain in his head for years.) The news report from tv station WFAA is included in the article. Protests took place later outside the bar and another at the Tarrant County Courthouse.

President Obama Hosts LGBT Leaders at White House (June 30, 2009)

As a part of the officially designated LGBT Pride month of June, Pres. Obama and his wife Michelle hosted approximately 250 elected officials and activists of the LGBT community. One of the community leaders in attendance was Bishop V. Gene Robinson who said, “The very fact that he would invite 200 LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] leaders from across the nation on the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the gay liberation movement is just an outstanding thing.” Some believe the White House has taken deliberate steps to demonstrate the president is committed to LGBT rights – due to the recent Justice Department responses to DOMA and DADT. Certain additional rights were also extended to partners of civilian federal employees. Our community and our allies continue to wait for (and look forward to) the time and place when President Obama begins to fully set into motion the promises he made to us as Candidate Obama.

Transgender Passengers File Complaint in Philadelphia (June 30, 2009)

Equality Advocates Pennsylvania – an LGBT civil rights organization – filed a complaint against SEPTA on behalf of a Transgender woman name Charlene Arcila. The transit system offers a discounted pass which can be purchases in advance – called a “transpass” – with each pass requiring a sticker designating the rider as “m” (male) or “f” (female). Ms Arcila uses the transit system regularly to commute to her job – as a counselor for people living with HIV/AIDS and substance abuse. One section of the manual governing the “transpass” requires that the driver must verify the “m” or “f” sticker on the pass. Since Ms Arcila identifies as a woman she had an “f” (female) sticker on her pass – but drivers have refused to allow her to use her pass. Finally she decided to have the sticker replaced with an “m” (male) – and the drivers still wouldn’t allow her to use the “transpass”. Ms Arcilia said, “The driver said, ‘You can’t use that,’ and I said, ‘Why can’t you all make up your mind?’ That last time two years ago, I’d had enough.” Since then she has been paying full fare or uses tokens – no longer receiving the discount for more frequent riders. Other passengers have received similar mis-treatment. One is Christina 28 who has a “f” (female) sticker – she identifies as a more masculine lesbian – and she has been denied use of her pass many times. This is a transit system which claims to protect the rights of its passengers, yet requires its drivers to question the gender of those same passengers. Interesting / discriminating name for a discount pass on a city transit system – “transpass”. Hopefully Equality Advocates Pennsylvania will be able to get this resolved so that the rights of all of its riders are protected – and they can just get to where they want to go.

Military Panel – Lt. Dan Choi Should be Discharged (July 1. 2009)

Lt. Dan Choi is an Arabic translator with the National Guard – who also happens to be a Gay man. The Military Panel has decided that he should be discharged – but hasn’t decided how he should be discharged. According to his attorney Maj. Roy Dehl, “the process could take weeks or up to a year. For now (he) will continue drilling with his New York National Guard unit.” “I know that every day that passes without a resolution is a deep disappointment to those men and women who continue to be discharged under this policy – patriots who often possess critical language skills and years of training and who’ve served this country well,” Obama said Monday. Defense Secretary Robert Gates indicated that Pentagon lawyers are trying to make the law more flexible – until it is changed. “And the issue that we face is, how do we begin to do preparations and, simultaneously, the administration move forward in asking the Congress to change the law?” Gates asked. Our community has been waiting ever so patiently for this administration to put eloquently spoken words into action – and is still waiting. Please join me in offering a show of support to Lt. Choi and all the other service members who are facing the loss of their jobs (or have already lost their jobs) due to a very mixed up and horrible miscarriage of their civil rights.

New Delhi Court Rules Gay Sex No Longer Criminal (July 2, 2009)

In India – more specifically the state of New Delhi – being LGBT is no longer a crime. Consenting homosexual adults now have the freedom to truly intimately express themselves without fear of being arrested. “I’m so excited and I haven’t been able to process the news yet,” Anajali Gopalan, the executive director of the Naz Foundation (India) Trust, a sexual health organization that had filed the petition, told reporters. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code had been in place since the era of British colonialism – or British rule. That outdated law made homosexual sex punishable by 10 years in prison. Congratulations to our brothers and sisters in New Delhi – and hopefully this is just the beginning of new found freedoms in more and more states in India.

Rights of Lesbian Parents Increased in Copenhagen (July 3, 2009)

In the past – when the Lesbian partner of a woman who gave birth wanted to adopt their child – the Lesbian partner had to wait until three months after the birth of the child. This was part of a general law regarding adoption based upon a mother giving up her child for adoption – and being given three months to change her mind. Beginning July 1, 2009 that has changed for the better for Lesbian couples. Now the non-birth mother will have the legal right to adopt the baby from birth – in the cases of the use of artificial insemination. This change in the law also includes a provision which entitles the (adoptive) partner to 14 days of parental leave immediately following the birth of their child. According to the article “this provision is in line with similar rights for fathers” – “previously, the female partner was only entitled to leave if her employer agreed to it in advance.” This is a great step forward for Lesbian families in Copenhagen – Congratulations!

“In Pictures: Pride Party Politics” in the UK (July 4, 2009)

Here in the US we have been proudly celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots. The Gay Pride parades and other festivities are acknowledging Stonewall in some way. Well the UK also has a significant history of LGBT rights and events. Some of these events are shown in a wonderful slide show. Please – please go directly to this slide show provided by the BBC NEWS – and have a photographic look at some of the Gay Pride history of the UK. Hope you enjoy – I definitely did!

JASMYN Holds Prom Specifically For LGBTQ Youth in FL (July 4, 2009)

“In 1984, the Federal Equal Access Act was passed by Congress and stated that public schools could not bar same-sex couples from school functions. But many gay students still find they face discrimination, and in some cases are still told they are not allowed to go to prom for fear of repercussions.” JASMYN – the Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network – held their prom on June 19, 2009 for the ninth year in a row. The organization provides safety, comfort and activities for LGBTQ young people under the age of 24. The annual event is provided so that they can celebrate the Prom they missed from their own high school – or attended but did not feel at all comfortable being themselves. Here is an organization which treats young people simply with respect and understanding for who they are – and also offers support to those still trying to figure that out. Hope they had a great time – seems like they did.
mjMJ, a/k/a pngwnz, is summarizing LGBT current events each week for jaysays.com and the Why Would You Say That – Really? series. She is an out lesbian with an affinity for the music of Phil Collins and Carole King.

A Texas Style Stonewall Brings LGBT Attention.

July 03, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

Stonewall, Texas StyleSo many conflicting stories are floating around about what happened at the Rainbow Lounge.  A lot of attention has been placed on the injury to Chad Gibson.  Some say that it constitutes police brutality.  While it very well may does, police had gone too far before well before Chad was injured.

Josh Taylor and his friend Dylan had been at the bar that evening for about an hour.  Josh was on his third drink when the raid began.  Officers entered the VIP lounge and arrested Dylan first.  Josh stopped one of the officers and asked why they were arresting his friend.  The officer pointed at Josh and said, “P.I.”  Josh was then taken into custody.

Did you know Police and TABC officers can arrest on suspicion of public intoxication?  Not only were sobriety tests not performed, but they are not required for the arrest.  This is more than a “gay issue,” this is a human rights issue.

Further, I asked Josh directly whether he, or anyone else to his knowledge, groped or otherwise made sexual gestures at police.  As suspected, Josh answered that he saw no one perform anything as such.

That seems consistent with other reports from witnesses.  Seems no one at Rainbow Lounge that night, except for the TABC officers and Ft. Worth Police Department,  saw any such gesturing or groping.  But why then would the police claim they were groped?

The Gay Panic Defense.  Perhaps the most ridiculous, yet successful, defense for beating or murdering gays yet.  The defense was first used by Jonathan Schmitz for killing Scott Amedure after Scott declared his love for Jonathan on The Jenny Jones Show.

The murders of Matthew Shepard initially claimed this as their defense.  However, in Wyoming, the Judge ruled such a defense constitutes either “a temporary insanity defense or a diminished capacity defense,” both of which are bared under Wyoming Law.  Not the case in Texas where a good ole boy can claim “self defense” for a killing a gay man for coming onto him and a jury would acquit the guy.

However, in this instance a nation of voices has said “ENOUGH” to Texas.  Calls and letters and questions came in from around the nation.  The result? The Ft. Worth Mayor has requested that the Federal Government monitor the investigation into the allegations against the Ft. Worth Police Department and the Police Chief, Jeff Halstead, has suspended bar raids in collaboration with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (“TABC”).

In spite of this progress, there is more work to be done.  While the TABC has indicated they are investigating the allegations and that they have placed the agents involved on the day shift (desk duty) they have not yet requested any oversight by the federal government.  Thus, there is still reason for us to stand together as a nation.  Help this Texan out.  Please contact Senators and Representatives in Texas, the TABC and Texas U.S. Representatives and Senators.  Demand federal oversight of the TABC investigation, demand state policy changes, protect human rights.  Together, we can build a safer Texas for ALL people.

Texas Agencies to Investigate Allegations of their Own Misconduct

July 03, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

Chief HalsteadIn the fight to obtain federal hate crimes legislation, one argument we hear from opponents of the law over and over again is, “a crime is a crime.”  But what people making that argument don’t realize is that the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act isn’t just about criminalizing bias based crimes, but also about protecting suspect classes from those who are supposed to protect them.

As previously discussed, on June 28, 2009, the Rainbow Lounge in Ft. Worth, Texas was raided by Ft. Worth police officers and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission officers.  Ft. Worth police chief, Jeff Halstead, has indicated that the Ft. Worth Police Department is investigating allegations of excessive force and police brutality in the raid. Now, TABC has indicated that an investigation has been launched by their agency into the allegations.

Have you noticed the problem with the investigation yet?  The agencies that are accused of the abuse are the very agencies investigating themselves for the alleged abuse.  Imagine for a moment you are accused of a crime.  Police tell you, “It is alleged that you are a serial killer.”  You then turn to police and advise them, “Don’t worry, my husband/wife will be investigating the allegations and we will let you know whether or not I’m guilty.”  That would never be allowed to occur.  The reliability of such investigation would be questionable, at best, and likely completely corrupt.  Would the police trust you to investigate yourself?

Enter the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (the Matthew Shepard Act).  Hate crimes legislation on the federal level already exists for many suspect classes.  The new Act being proposed simply adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the existing law.  It would also allow a federal agency authority to investigate bias crimes committed by local law enforcement rather than the local agencies investigating the allegations for themselves.

During the police raid that night, Chad Gibson, while in police custody, received a severe head injury.  This injury isn’t just about police brutality or the raid of a gay bar.  The question that must be answered is whether or not this raid, conducted on the 40th anniversary of police raids of the Stonewall Inn which sparked riots and the gay rights movement as we know it today, was intended to send a message to the community, “You are not wanted here.”  It must be investigated as a hate crime.  Unfortunately, religious ideology, conservative theory and the belief that gays are less of humans than straights have prevented such legislation from being passed.

So, when the TABC claims their investigation indicated they did nothing wrong, when the Ft. Worth Police Department’s investigation of its actions indicate they did nothing wrong, remember – they are investigating themselves because our feirce ally and representatives in the Senate can’t seem to pass a simple, yet necessary law.

Another First Hand Account Indicates Police Targeted Gays in Ft. Worth Raid.

June 29, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, LGBT News

stonewallMore and more eyewitness accounts of the police raid of the Ft. Worth gay bar, Rainbow Lounge, are being circulated, many via the Facebook page set up for information on the raid.  One account by a straight ally who was not arrested or ticketed in spite of admitting to police that she was drunk indicates:

I was appalled to read the official statement issued by the police. The allegations of assault, groping, and resisting arrest were complete fabrications. Men parted like the red sea wherever the police were. No one was groping them.

I WILL NOT SIT BACK AND BE SILENT. I WILL CONTINUE TO SHARE MY STORY AND PROTEST ALONGSIDE THE COMMUNITY THAT HAS MADE ME FEEL SO WELCOME. I ENTERED THE BAR A PATRON ON SATURDAY NIGHT, AND BECAUSE OF THE POLICE BRUTALITY AND DISCRIMINATION I WITNESSED I LEFT AN ACTIVIST.

— [Alison Egert]

Yet again, witness accounts of the evening completely contradict the police allegations of resisting arrest, groping of officers and lewd sexual gestures by patrons.

Ft. Worth City Councilman Joel Burns released the following statement yesterday evening:

We want all citizens of Texas and Fort Worth to know and be assured that the laws and ordinances of our great State and City will be applied fairly, equally and without malice or selective enforcement. We consider this to be part of “The Fort Worth Way” here. As elected representatives of the city of Fort Worth, we are calling for an immediate and thorough investigation of the actions of the City of Fort Worth Police and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in relation to the incident at the Rainbow Lounge earlier this morning, June 28, 2009.

It is unfortunate that this incident occurred in Fort Worth and even more so to have occurred on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall protests. Unlike 40 years ago, though, the people of this community have elective representation that will make sure our government is accountable and that the rights of all of its citizens are protected. We are working together with our Mayor, Police Chief, the City of Fort Worth Human Relations Commission, and our State Legislative colleagues to get a complete and accurate accounting of what occurred.

Rest assured that neither the people of Fort Worth, nor the city government of Fort Worth, will tolerate discrimination against any of its citizens. And know that the GLBT Community is an integral part of the economic and cultural life of Fort Worth.

Every Fort Worth citizen deserves to have questions around this incident answered and we are all working aggressively toward that end.

SOME RELATED LINKS:

Dym Sum | Stonewall Revisited?  Fort Worth, TX Gay Bar Raided

Truth and Love After 40 (via Pam’s House Blend)

The Daily Kos | Raid on Ft. Worth Bar

On Top Magazine | Hundred Protest Police Raid of Ft. Worth Bar

Feministing | Raid in Ft. Worth Bar of Rainbow Lounge

Facebook Group dedicated to the Rainbow Lounge Raid.

CNN Coverage of the Rainbow Lounge Raid.

Search of Google News for Latest Information.

It’s All Just a Little Bit of History Repeated: Ft. Worth Gay Bar Raided

June 29, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, LGBT News

stonewallSaturday night, I shut jaysays.com down to honor the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots. I sat there contemplating how life has changed for LGBT people since that night forty years ago.  It was midnight central time. Little did I know that in less than an hour, history would repeat itself as police raided the Rainbow Lounge in Ft. Worth, Texas.

According to the Ft. Worth Police Department, officers were doing routine raids and the Rainbow Lounge just happened to be on their list.  Reports indicate that six Ft. Worth Police officers and two Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission officers participated in the raid.

Now, I’ve been inside of a straight bar during one of these routine checks.  Two agents walked the bar requesting identification from patrons.  In this case, one man was under age and had been served with alcohol.  A citation was issued to the bar and the agents left with the underage individual, presumably taking him into custody.

In this case, EIGHT officers entered the bar and arrested seven patrons for public intoxication.  The Ft. Worth Police Department claims that those arrested were obviously very intoxicated and made sexual gestures at the officers.  One man is hospitalized after, as police allege, he grabbed one officer’s groin (something any gay man might do in a similar situation).  However, this man was then “taken down” by police, fracturing his skull.

Eye witness accounts of the raid differ greatly from the police accounts. One person at the bar has indicated publicly that he watched as the first arrest occurred.  A man standing at the bar took a drink of his cocktail and was thrust down on the bar by the officer and handcuffed [police were using plastic detention cuffs].

Another eyewitness indicated that he was sitting with friends on the patio area when officers came outside.  They then asked why everyone had gotten so quiet.  When one group continued their conversation, officers then arrested one of the participants.

No eyewitness account currently publish has indicated any sexual gestures or other such behavior being directed at the officers.

This raid, coincided not only with the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Inn raid, but it marked the eve of the Million Gay March in Dallas.  It is reasonable to say that someone on the Ft. Worth police department would have known that a massive march was underway in neighboring Dallas.  Therefore, is it too much to conclude that the timing was no coincidence?

As the day progressed, the front page of jaysays.com, which had been a tribute to Stonewall 1969, changed from a symbol of peace to a symbol of outrage – the Ft. Worth Police Department sent a message to the LGBT community last night  We must repeat the message of our predecessors, “Stonewall was a Riot; Now We Need a Revolution.”