Monday, June 29, 2009

HAPPY PRIDE! Gay Bar Raided On Stonewall Anniversary

Fort Worth's Rainbow Lounge was raided by police on the EXACT 40th anniversary of the initial raid on the Stonewall Inn in NYC (June 28). Many of the Rainbow Lounge Patrons were rounded up and charged with "public intoxication" - and some experienced excessive force from police. From Daily Kos, a dancer from the bar recalls:

I was one of the dance entertainers last night at Rainbow Lounge. I was dancing on a box in the VIP lounge and was looking right at the first guy that was arrested. The male patron was standing at the bar doing nothing but having a having a drink and a fun time (like people do in bars) when an officer entered that section of the club and made a beeline straight towards him. The officer forcefully spun the man around, shoved him against the bar and placed plastic restraints on his wrists. The officer then marched the man out the club. The guy was stunned and obviously really scared.

I then noticed another officer in the VIP section and several other officers filtering into the club. I made the decision at that point to go ahead and get dressed in case they were going to start arresting everyone in the entire place.

When I got inside the dressing room there were other dancers already in there getting dressed. They were panicking and saying that this is not something they have ever had to deal dancing in Dallas. I got dressed and walked out the door and saw that several more officers had made their way into the club. I went into sort of a surreal haze at that moment. I was so disturbed and saddened because it occurred to me in that moment that being after midnight, it was actually the exact same day as the Stonewall Riots. I just couldn’t believe what was happening.

I was still standing near the entrance to the VIP lounge with a friend when an officer approached a man standing there. The man had water in his hand. The officer asked him how much he had had to drink and the man said that he didn’t have to answer that. The officer then said that he was going to arrest him for public intoxication. The man said,"You can’t do that I am just standing here right now drinking water." At the time the officer shoved the man over towards the wall near the dressing room and then back to the rear wall near the men’s restroom, then down onto the floor. Several other officers, made their way back there to hold that ONE MAN down on the ground as they placed restraints on him. At the time I noticed that all of them did not have FWPD uniforms on. Some of them were actually State Police.

There is now a Facebook Group dedicated to discussing the raid. Here is their group summary:
Last night around 1 a.m., on the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the Fort Worth Police Department raided the Rainbow Lounge and began randomly handcuffing and arresting patrons and shoving anyone who dared to ask why. It was a sobering reminder that on this pinnacle date in the history of gay rights, we still have a very long way to go. I created this group to give folks a chance to discuss it, share stories, pictures, etc.

Apparently eighteen people were arrested and one was actually hospitalized. It's things like this that remind us that we still have a long ways to go toward equality.


Eric Arvin said...

I am so pissed after reading this!

behrmark said...

I am so having difficulty wrapping my head around this. WTF?!

Berry Blog said...

This is downright shocking in this day and age.

Miss Ginger Grant said...

My ex lives in Fort Worth now, and they are up in arms over it! I've never thought of him as particularly political, but he's up in arms over this one and protesting and rallying up a storm! It really is crazy, ain't it?! Only in Texas!

Wonder Man said...

i can't believe it

Mark in DE said...

A gay bar raid on the 40th anniversary of Stonewall. Coincidence??? As long as it is still legal to discriminate against us, this kind of sh*t will keep happening somewhere or another. We can't expect equality to be handed to us. We must get involved and demand equality from our elected officials. Get involved.

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