Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth...history repeating?

On the 40th anniversary of the movement launching Stonewall riots, an all too familiar event took place in Fort Worth Texas. Police raided the Rainbow Lounge, a new gay bar that opened up a few weeks ago. They claimed that they had recieved a tip from an ex-employee about public drunkeness, but by all accounts, the arrests they made were unjustified. In addition, while no one seemed to resist, the force used in the arrests was excessive. One patron might need surgery to recover.

The police have yet to make any plausible excuse for their actions, but protesters are demanding answers.

Below is a first-hand account of the events

Kayla Lane and her sister Kelly were both at Rainbow Lounge last night when police came in and started arresting people. Both sent me e-mails with their accounts of what happened. Kayla has given me permission to reprint her e-mail here. Kelly’s account is ery much the same.

From Kayla Lane:

My name is Kayla Lane. I am a Ph.D. student at UC-Santa Cruz, staying with my sister, Kelly Lane, for the summer. We and a few of our friends went to the new Rainbow Lounge last night to dance and have some fun. I was in the VIP section when police officers started coming up there. The first arrest (that we saw) was right in front of me in that section.

They asked the guy if he had been drinking, and he said some, and they snidely replied, “Well, we’ll see how much!” and plastic handcuffed him as they read him his rights The guy was doing NOTHIG wrong. It was utterly repugnant.

Once I saw this happen, I decided to try and speak with one of the police officers themselves, to go straight to the source and get their side. My sister Kelly and I simply started asking what they were doing here, stating how suspicious it seemed on this date and in this specific club, etc. This was a “State Policeman,” whose name I forgot, who tried to explain their actions by referring to “anonymous tips” and “disgruntled ex-bartenders.” We pointed out the place was open a week, so the disgruntled ex-bartender source seemed a bit unlikely! He wouldn’t really answer my questions. although he did try to grab my hand and flirt with me (which was completely uninvited).

After this, we saw the policemen go into the men’s restroom, pull out at least two guys from handcuffs from there, and pull one onto the ground before forcefully removing him. What were they doing in there? Raucously disposing of their waste?! There was no reason for ANY of those arrests, at all. These people were NOT drunk, or even overly happy or silly. As the last office came by, some patrons were calling out “Homophobes!,” “Fucking Assholes,” etc. - obviously and justifiably upset over the present actions. The officer, whose head was turned the other way, looked back and saw and recognized me as questioning the state policeman earlier, and yanked my arm, forcing me out of the bar in front of him.

After pulling my arm away once we were outside, I calmly told him it was not me that called him these names, but he aggressively insisted it was, no matter what I said. Then he accused me of stirring up trouble by talking to the policeman earlier. I said it was my right to question, as a concerned citizen, these actions. He responded that, “What we do, is right. You can’t question when we are doing something.” I said something about him not understanding a democracy then.

Thankfully at this time, my sister and another friend came out, and vouched for my innocence. After this, he said I could go, after we indugled his ego for a few minutes with some respectful and quiet answers. To the end, he belligerantly and crudely accused me of of the name-calling deed, that he “knew” I said those things and I better got before I get arrested. Apparently, the fact that his head was turned and there was no logical way he could have known

who spoke was beyond him.


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