Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Support the LGBT community in FW - Call for Justice in the Case of the Rainbow Lounge Raid on Sunday, June 28th

It's all over the local (DFW, TX) news--radio, television, print--and apparently, even various national media news outlets covered this in front-end broadcast segments. The newest gay bar in town, the Rainbow Lounge, is located less than a 5-minute drive from my home, and was recently the site of a now-controversial raid by FWPD and TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission) that has sent a Lounge patron to John Peter Smith Hospital with a serious head injury.

Q Cinema founder Todd Camp, present during the raid, was compelled to take action and so has created a Facebook group, "Rainbow Lounge Raid", which in less than three days time has attracted over 4,000 members.

At tonight's community policing forum, local residents spoke out against what is increasingly being labeled "excessive force" and "homophobia" on the part of the arresting officers at the Rainbow Lounge on early Sunday morning. Police Chief Jeff Halstead so far seems to be doing the right thing: promising an investigation of the circumstances surrounding the arrests and urging witnesses to step forward and offer their testimony. Of course, many folks in the LGBT community--and their allies--are alarmed by what this bodes for the future, given the historical (hysterical) homophobia of Texans in general and that of Texas law enforcement officers in specific. Because of this, local activists are mobilizing quickly to build solidarity networks and to organize public demonstrations of support for the Rainbow Lounge, its patrons, and those who suffered at the hands of the FWPD on that fateful Sunday morning.

Some folks are even calling on nationally-syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage to make a trip to Cowtown for an appearance at an upcoming protest rally...



July 1 - Wednesday - evening candlelight vigil in front of the Rainbow Lounge - 8pm - 651 S. Jennings
July 5 - Sunday - "Milk Box" speak-out at Sundance Square, downtown FW - 7pm - Houston & 3rd Streets
July 12 - Sunday - LGBT North Texas Rally - Tarrant County Courthouse - 7pm - 100 E. Weatherford


More information, via the Equality Texas blog.

More information, via Queer Liberaction:

From: Queer Liberaction
Subject: The Rainbow Lounge Raids - Stonewall 2009
To: lgbtliberaction@gmail.com
Date: Monday, June 29, 2009, 6:00 PM


This past Sunday, June 28th was the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellions, the moment which sparked our civil rights movement. At Stonewall we were indignant and outraged. With this anger we got energized, got creative and got organized and stood up to society to proclaim that we are not going to be treated like any less than the human beings that we are.

Forty years on, GLBT people are still being harassed and brutalized within their own bars and clubs. At about 1:00 AM on the exact anniversary of Stonewall, the Fort Worth Police, along with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), raided the Rainbow Lounge. A patty wagon along with several police cars were parked outside as the police entered with plastic handcuffs ready to make arrests.

The Fort Worth Police are claiming that arrests were made for public intoxication. You can’t get drunk at a bar in Texas anymore? The police are also claiming that customers made “sexually explicit movements toward the police supervisor” and that other officers were “groped'.

Customers from the Rainbow Lounge have a sharply different account of the events. First hand accounts indicate that this raid was a clear-cut case of police brutality and harassment. These sorts of vile intimidation techniques must not be allowed to pass without angry condemnation from the North Texas LGBT community.

While there is still uncertainty as to the exact number of arrests made, those who were present at the Rainbow Lounge that evening are reporting that about fifteen people were arrested.

Violence was used to such an extent that a Rainbow Lounge customer, Chad Gibson, is still in the ICU suffering from internal hemorrhaging on the brain. His condition is reported to be worsening. Our thoughts and prayers are with Chad and the Gibson family.

Please visit the Dallas Voice Instant Tea blog for a more complete story and for the latest developments. (I recommend hitting the refresh button every few hours, at least for the next week or so...)

LGBT North Texas will rally again at the Tarrant County Courthouse on Sunday, July 12 at 7:00 PM. If in the next two weeks there is city-wide condemnation of the Rainbow Lounge Raid then the rally will then be one to congratulate the city on their swift and sharp action. On the other hand, if first hand reports still contradict the official story, if arresting officers are not seriously disciplined, if the officer responsible for Chad Gibson’s brain hemorrhage is still an active member of the Fort Worth Police Department, if apologies are not issued by the mayor, Mike Moncrief, and the Fort Worth Police Chief, Jeffery Halstead then the tone of the rally will adequately express the indignation from our community regarding the City of Fort Worth’s less than aggressive response to homophobia and police brutality.

Rainbow Lounge Raid Rally
Tarrant County Courthouse
100 E Weatherford
Sunday, July 12
7:00 PM


Chuck Potter and Todd Camp were both at the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth around 1 a.m. Sunday morning, June 28, when it was raided by Fort Worth police officers and agents with the TABC. Seven people were arrested and one man remains hospitalized with a serious head injury that may require surgery as a result of the raid — which by the way, happened on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion.

Potter, Camp and many others were outraged by what has been described as the officers' brutality during the raid, and by what appeared to many as nothing more than an effort to harass management, staff and patrons at the newly-opened nightclub. Potter and Camp organized rallies on Sunday that drew as many as 200 people to the steps of the Tarrant County Courthouse to protest the raid.

Now Chuck Potter and Todd Camp are coming to Dallas Voice's monthly "Freedom of Speech Night" on Tuesday, June 30, to talk about what happened. We want you to come, too, to get information and to give your opinion.

Come on out and exercise your freedom of speech!

Tuesday, June 30
8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Buzzbrews Kitchen
4334 Lemmon Avenue


In response to the raid at the Rainbow Lounge, Queer Liberaction is set to take its Milk box to Sundance Square in the heart of downtown Fort Worth this coming Sunday, July 5th at 7:00 PM. Those that were at the Rainbow Lounge Raid will speak on the events they witnessed.

Ambassadors and leaders from the Queer community will be setting up Queer Liberaction's Milk box outside of the gayborhood as a way to engage the public in a discussion on GLBT equality. Named in honor of Harvey Milk, our public free speech event is a fun and engaging way which encourages dialog regarding homophobia and the civil rights denied to GLBT people. Join Queer Liberaction as we stand up and speak OUT to our neighbors about how discrimination affects us all.

Milk box
Sundance Square in Fort Worth
Houston & 3rd St.
Sunday, July 5
7:00 PM

All the information coming out regarding the Rainbow Lounge Raid is all very new and a single consistent story has been difficult to establish. Please keep checking Queer Liberaction’s website for the latest steps we will be taking in the coming weeks.

Queer Liberaction

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