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Stonewall Anniversary and History

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The Stonewall uprisings 40 years ago brought the gay rights movement to the forefront of American culture. Writer and historian David Carter assesses what progress has been made since that pivotal moment and how far the quest for equal rights has to go.

The end of this month marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, an anniversary that has been duly marked by a number of events, including a White House reception on Monday.

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Fort Worth police celebrate gay pride, Texas style

June 29, 2:58 PM


The symbolism is too obvious to miss: On the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, a gay bar raid in Greenwich Village that sparked riots and gave birth to the US gay rights movement, police in Texas raided a gay bar, arrested its patrons, and injured one man so badly he had to be hospitalized.

Early Sunday morning, as revelers in New York City and San Francisco got ready to remember Stonewall, patrons of the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth were allegedly abused and beaten by cops, who claimed they were conducting an alcohol license check.

Police arrived at the bar shortly after midnight and began singling out people for charges of public intoxication, according to the Washington Blade. Witnesses said the incident was "harassment, plain and simple", and that the officers involved were "incredibly excessive and brutal."

Seven people were arrested, and one man identified as Chad Gibson remains in intensive care after his head was so forcefully pushed to the ground he suffered bleeding in his brain.

Officers claimed two customers made "sexually explicit movements" toward them and one man grabbed a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission agent in the groin. However, Rainbow Lounge owner J.R. Schrock told the Dallas Voice that claim was untrue: ?The groping of the police officer ? really? We?re gay, but we?re not dumb."

Rainbow Lounge bouncer Justin McCarty said, ?I?ve worked in gay bars in four different counties in Texas. I?ve never seen anything this aggressive.?

The Forth Worth police department released a statement saying, ?An extremely intoxicated patron made sexually explicit movements toward the police supervisor. One person was arrested for public intoxication. A second intoxicated individual was arrested for public intoxication after making sexually explicit movements towards another officer, and a third person assaulted a TABC agent by grabbing his groin. That man was escorted outside and arrested for public intoxication, but was released to paramedics because of his extreme intoxication and the fact that he was vomiting repeatedly. While some officers were outside dealing with the vomiting suspect, another officer inside requested assistance in handling an intoxicated patron who was resisting arrest, and that this person was placed on the ground to control and apprehend him."

However, eyewitness accounts and photographs taken by a bar patron's cell phone tell another story. Todd Camp, who was present during the raid, organized a protest rally Sunday at the Tarrant County Courthouse. Camp said, "Evidence demonstrates that the Fort Worth Police Department and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commissioner over-reacted and used excessive, perhaps brutal force ? the circumstances of the police action strongly suggest that elements of the law enforcement community selectively targeted a recently opened gay and lesbian establishment for selective enforcement and harassment.?

About 200 people gathered for the rally. Among them was Joel Burns, Fort Worth's first and only openly gay City Council member, who told the crowd:

?We consider this to be part of ?The Fort Worth Way? here. As elected representatives of the city of Fort Worth, we are calling for an immediate and thorough investigation of the actions of the city of Fort Worth police and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in relation to the incident at the Rainbow Lounge earlier this morning. Every Fort Worth citizen deserves to have questions around this incident answered and we are all working aggressively toward that end."

Fort Worth Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead promised an investigation, and the police statement said, "A thorough internal investigation into the allegations made is being conducted as all allegations against officers are investigated."

In the spirit of Stonewall, Rainbow Lounge owner Shrock pledged not to be scared away or intimidated by local cops into closing his bar. "They treat us like outcasts. But even outcasts have a time to shine, and this is it."

It's hard to believe there are parts of gay America still saying that, 40 years after Stonewall.


Forty years and we're still dealing with the same shit.

This is an prime example why GLBT people need federal recognition and their rights can NOT be trusted to the wisdom or folly of the states.

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The trouble is deeper than needing federal recognition, as we can see in Canada.

Just last night, there was an incident in which 5 teen girls severely beat up a straight 19 year old woman who expressed offense at their abusive and vulgar language in referring to a gay prom night in a local community center. It is fortunately being investigated as a "hate crime", but having laws on the books has never stopped some from breaking them, and federal laws are no different. The sad thing is, the attitude of the people needs to change, not just the laws, although that is a good start.

Ironically, considering the Fort Worth incident, there is this article, from very nearby, stating that there is no need to worry about gay bar raids.


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