Saturday, July 04, 2009

A Texas gay raid and Stonewall

What a rough police "check" at Fort Worth's Rainbow Lounge on the
40th anniversary of Stonewall says about gay rights

On the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Raid, Fort Worth officers
raided a gay bar called the Rainbow Lounge and seriously injured a
patron.
(Corbis/Andrew Brookes)

The Fort Worth police have "some explaining to do," said
Jacquielynn Floyd in The Dallas Morning News. On June 28, officers
raided a gay bar called the Rainbow Lounge, sending a patron to
intensive care with a head injury. "In what I can only hope is a
spectacularly infelicitous coincidence," it took place on the 40th
anniversary of the Stonewall Raid, the gay-rights movement's
catalyst. The cops' story—drunk gay men groped them—doesn't add
up.

Well, police chief Jeff Halstead is backing his men and their classic
"Gay Panic Defense," said Dan Savage in The Stranger, which goes:
He made a pass at me, so I was justified in beating/killing him. That
would still be illegal, but it's also bunk. "I've been in a
million gay bars" like the Rainbow Lounge, and "gay men don't
grope police officers when they enter gay bars."

It is, "obviously, very sad" that one of the Rainbow Lounge patrons
is in critical condition, said Rod Dreher in BeliefNet, but come on,
the report that "cops who entered a gay bar were set upon by drunk,
horny patrons who played grab-ass with them" is "hilarious," and
not at all far-fetched. Gay people, especially drunk gay people, can
be "as stupid as the rest of us."

Except that the hospitalized man was reportedly drinking bottled
water, said Jeff Epperly in New England's Bay Windows. But 40 years
after Stonewall, this kind of gay harassment goes on all over the
U.S., not just in Texas. The raid at Forth Worth's Rainbow Lounge
"was the work of a police department that wasn't smart enough to
hide its bigotry."

The police may have been at fault or the men in the bar may have
inappropriately and had unwelcome advances towards the officers but
what really concerns me is the overall attitude is to not believe the
police. While there are bad officers, those numbers are fairly small.
You would think they wouldn't be judged until all the evidence is in.

Guilty until proven innocentare you speaking about the cops, or the
patrons?A trained police officer doesn't have to put somebody in the
hospital if they are coming on to themespecially if that person is
drunk. I'm guessing the blood alcohol report comes up clean, and the
officers will get off without any reprimand. You can still bash the
gay and get away with it.

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