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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Police Raid Gay Bar and We Failed to Riot (2009)

It is Pride season in Texas. In fact, it is forty years to the day, almost
to the hour, since the riots at the Stonewall Inn erupted. We are out
partying at the new queer hot spot in Fort Wayne, the one place where the
straight world gets washed away in alcohol and sweat and desire.

In an instant, the mood turns sour and the music fades. Uniforms come
through the front door, and they’re not being worn by our Daddies. The
police. We fall silent. They shine flashlights, speak in authoritative
voices, start to grab queers. “Have you been drinking?” They picked one of
the most effeminate queers, of course. “Some.” Snidely, they say, “Well
we’ll see how much!” and zip-cuff his wrists. Four officers team up on one
queer and slam him into the floor. His head starts to swell up.

Our bodies are tensed – are we frozen in fear or coiled to strike? We are
all thinking about the Stonewall Riots. Does history repeat itself? What
is the meaning of an anniversary? What happened to our queer rage? It’s
“Pride,” there are rainbow flags on a dozen cars outside, but we’ll allow
the police invade our space, beat us and lock us up?

…as I walked through the front bar there were a bunch of cops with
plastic handcuffs all ready to go. I left the bar and they had a paddy
wagon in the parking lot and cars on the street. They had about ten people
face down on the ground outside. They knew what they were doing when they
came here.

I think of the two lesbians who were beaten by cops outside the queer bar
in Brooklyn last month. One hundred of us, their community, stood there
and watched the batons falling, again and again, while they screamed.

The next day, we gather in anger on the steps of the Courthouse. People
have signs, there are chants. From somewhere, barriers have appeared
between us and the cops we want to fight, the Courthouse we need to smash.
We can’t reach them. We can only march in circles. Between the spineless
activists and the patronizing media, our rage gets watered down into the
words, “demanded an investigation,” which appear in the Star Telegram.

But it’s too late now. If we wanted to communicate clearly, last night was
our chance. If we wanted to come up against the cops with no barriers
except our own fear, we should have done it last night when a handful of
them were beating and arresting us from amongst a crowd. Right inside our
bar, our space, the one space where the straight world gets washed away in
alcohol and sweat and desire.

History can repeat itself, but we are the agents of history.

And anniversaries? They’re meaningless if you don’t know how throw a
proper celebration.

This was based on the following true (boring) stories:
http://www.star-telegram.com/804/stor...58523.html
http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2009/06/28/12635
http://www.wfaa.com/sharedcontent/dws...28_mo_raid

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