Thursday, August 27, 2009

Double Stabbing in D.C. - One Transwoman Dead, Another Recovering

http://www.washblade .com/thelatest/ thelatest. cfm?blog_ id=26915

Trans woman dead after double stabbing
D.C. police unsure of motive, details

By LOU CHIBBARO JR, Washington Blade | Joshua Lynsen | Aug 26, 7:06 PM

One transgender woman was stabbed to death Wednesday and another was in stable condition with stab wounds from an unknown assailant following an incident along the 200 block of Q Street, N.W., according to sources.

A police spokesperson said the incident occurred between 2:30 and 2:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Police Chief Cathy Lanier, who spoke at the scene, told reporters that investigators were looking for nearby residents who might have witnessed the stabbings. She referred to the victims as "persons" and declined to disclose their gender.
A police spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny that the victims were transgender.

Lanier said investigators did not immediately know the motive behind the stabbings.
A law enforcement source described the victims as male-to-female transgender people, with one believed to be 18 years old and the other believed to be 27.

The stabbings occurred about two blocks from the North Capitol Street offices of Transgender Health Empowerment, a private social services group that provides drop-in services to transgender people, including transgender youth.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

URGENT!!! Ariel Attack Arrested In Denver! PLEASE HELP!!!


Ariel Attack, a Denver-based anarchist, was arrested at 2:27am Tues, 24 here in Denver for allegedly smashing 11 windows of the Democratic Party headquaters at 777 Santa Fe Drive.

Right now we are trying to raise the bail money for her to get out of jail; her bail hearing will be tomorrow at 10am Denver time. Several lawyers have told us to expect anywhere from between $3,000 to $10,000 in bail, and due to the high publicity of the case here in Denver, we are expecting higher (lead story for most all local news outlets, and being picked up by national news networks).

At this moment, we do not know Ariel's status within the jail, especially regarding her gender classification. We have been unable to talk with Ariel since she went in. She is listed in the jail records and media under her birth name. We also do not know what plans, if any, she had made for this situation.

As such, Denver BB! and all of her friends and community are calling out hoping to raise the money to at least make bond. Jail is a dangerous place for everyone, but especially trans people, and we make every effort to get our friends and comrades out. We are also asking people to NOT call the jail and potentially out Ariel, which would create a very dangerous situation. Interaction with the jail is being done by people here in Denver in very specific ways to create the maximum amount of safety possible for Ariel.

Below is a link to the paypal account which will deposit money into the FREE ARIEL ATTACK FUND!!! Please do what you can to help get an amazing friend and comrade out of jail and back into her community. Also below are links to some of the corporate media stories about her arrest.

If you have any questions, you can call Ben at 970.623.5629.





Friday, July 3, 2009

Bulgaria Pride Update - SUCCESS!!!

Tension was high with organisers, police and private security when the 300 or-so participants in the 2009 Rainbow Friendship parade gathered on Lovers' Bridge behind Sofia's National Palace of Culture (NDK).

Between the blue flags along the edge of the bridge, a multi-coloured sea of balloons, flags and helmets formed.

Organisers handed out coloured, plastic construction-helmets to participants, a tongue-in-cheek reference to last year's violence that surrounded Bulgaria's first gay pride parade.

The press had arrived in large numbers, expecting a repeat of last year's stand-off with ultra-nationalists.

Instead, they were offered colourful photo-opportunities by Bulgarian and foreign participants.

Two boys positioned themselves smack in the middle of one of the banners and started a long, demonstrative public kiss. Within seconds they were the focus of every camera on the bridge.

At the head of the parade itself was an open truck with a DJ and several dancers; both leather-boys and transvestites.

When the parade reached the corner of Graf Ignatiev and Vasil Levski, the dancers had to leave the truck, causing some commotion among guards. "Move, move, move," one uniformed police officer tried to persuade the head of the parade to continue its route.

Once inside the Red House, a sense of relief and pride filled the air. They had done it!

From the Dallas Voice: Police Raid Rainbow Lounge in Dallas - Stonewall Revisted?

(The original article and the follow-up article are both posted here. Both are copyright of the Dallas Voice.

Stonewall... Revisited?

A protest is scheduled outside the Tarrant County Courthouse in downtown Fort Worth tonight, 7pm. Why?

Last night in Fort Worth, police raided the Rainbow Lounge, a week-old gay nightclub. Reports coming out of theDallas Voice (DFW's excellent queer newspaper) are terrifyingly close in tone to all of the documents I've been reading about bar raids in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s.*

Bar raids are so passe. So 1950s. The paddywagons, the ridiculous brutality, gay folks scared shitless. So very pre-Stonewall. Right?

What prompted the Fort Worth raid? Folks on the message boards and theVoice's Instant Tea blog have been pointing to a disgruntled bartender, but knowing that the bar has only been open for a week this seems unlikely. That was also a common excuse for raids in the 1950s-70s. (Makes you wanna sing "The Way We Were", yes?) Historically, however, the truth bears out that these raids were more frequently the product of top-down discrimination and homophobic policies.

Here are the lowlights:

Best quote: "It felt so very Stonewall, but without the standing up for ourselves"

An eyewitness account that just leaves me speechless.

The difference: Now the queers have cameras and recording devices. BTW, why is there a paddywagon and both state and local police if this was just a TABC check?

Supposedly, last night the Rainbow Lounge was showing two Stonewall related documentaries. (Before Stonewall and After Stonewall? Just a guess.)

Happy anniversary, QUEERS!

[Thanks to Ricky Hill for the tip-off.]

TABC says patron injured while in its custody

By Tammye Nash Senior Editor
Jul 1, 2009 - 8:56:39 PM

TABC administrator, Fort Worth police chief both pledge ‘thorough investigations’ into Rainbow Lounge incident

Protesters line the sidewalk outside the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth on Sunday afternoon, June 28, expressing outrage over a joint TABC/Fort Worth police raid at the gay bar early that morning that left one man hospitalized.
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Administrator Alan Steen on Wednesday, July 1, issued a statement acknowledging that the 26-year-old gay man hospitalized with a head injury following a raid Sunday, June 28 on a Fort Worth gay bar was injured while in the custody of TABC agents.

Two TABC agents involved in the incident have been reassigned to desk jobs while an investigation into the incident is conducted, according to reports posted online by NBC Channel 5 in Dallas.

According to the statement, Chad Gibson was one of 15 people arrested Saturday night and Sunday morning during “joint inspections” by TABC agents and officers with the Fort Worth Police Department at three bars. The inspections were conducted to “ensure compliance with state alcoholic beverage laws and local ordinances.”

Gibson was arrested inside the Rainbow Lounge at 651 S. Jennings St., along with three other men and one woman, according to Fort Worth Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead. The other 10 individuals were arrested at the Rosedale Saloon, the adjacent Cowboy Palace and an unnamed “unlicensed location,” the TABC statement said.

“At the Rainbow Lounge, TABC agents placed one individual under arrest, Chad Gibson, who was injured while in the agents’ custody. Mr Gibson was released to paramedics for treatment of alcohol poisoning and a head injury and transported to a local hospital,” the statement said.

Some reports have indicated that Gibson was taken into custody inside the nightclub and then taken outside where he began vomiting, and that he injured his head when he fell due to extreme intoxication.

Several eyewitnesses inside the club at the time, however, had described seeing Gibson grabbed by officers and thrown to the floor in a hallway at the back of the club. The witnesses said that Gibson hit his head at that point, and that several officers were holding him down, one kneeling on his back and another placing his foot on Gibson’s head or neck.

Gibson was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at JPS Hospital where he was treated for bleeding in his brain. He remained hospitalized as of press time on Wednesday, July 1.

n this photo taken by Chuck Potter, TABC agents in tan uniforms stand and kneel around a Rainbow Lounge patron lying face down on the floor during a joint TABC/Fort Worth police operation at the Fort Worth bar early Sunday morning, June 28. Family members have said the man on the floor is Chad Gibson, a 26-year-old gay man who sustained a serious head injury during the incident. TABC Administrator Alan Steen issued a statement Wednesday, July 1, acknowledging Gibson was injured while in TABC custody.
“We are saddened that this incident occurred and extend our sincere hope that Mr. Gibson recovers quickly,” Steen said in the statement. “I have initiated an internal affairs investigation to answer questions about how these locations were chosen, to review the agents’ actions, and specifically to establish the facts surrounding Mr. Gibson’s injury.”

Steen also asks that anyone who witnessed misconduct by TABC agents contact Lt. Andy Pena, acting director of the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility, by e-mail at or by phone at 512-206-3405.

Steen said information on how to file a complaint against a TABC agent and information on agency policy on employee investigations can be found online at

“I take seriously all allegations concerning inappropriate or illegal behavior by our employees,” Steen said. “We have in the past, and we will in the future, take action against any employee found to have violated agency policy or the law.”

Steen’s pledge for a thorough investigation of the raid at Rainbow Lounge and the circumstances surrounding Gibson’s injury echo a pledge made Tuesday evening by Fort Worth Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead.

Halstead said his department is conducting a comprehensive investigation into allegations of misconduct by Fort Worth police officers, and asked that anyone who witnessed the events at the bar contact Capt. Garcia at 817-392-4270.

Gay Fort Worth Councilmember Joel Burns was out of town when the raid occurred early Sunday morning.

But he returned in time to speak at a rally on the steps of the Tarrant County Courthouse that same evening.

Burns and Mayor Pro-Tem Kathleen Hicks, in whose district the Rainbow Lounge is located, both issued immediate calls for Halstead to begin an investigation of the incident. Burns also contacted state Sen. Wendy Davis and state Rep. Lon Burnham and asked for their assistance in communicating with TABC.

Davis said in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon that she and Burnham had met earlier in the day with Steen and other TABC officials to discuss the situation.

Davis said she and Burnham asked Steen about TABC’s policies and procedures for conducting operations such as the one on Saturday night and “some very specific questions on how those policies and procedures were followed” in carrying out the inspection at the Rainbow Lounge and the other nightclubs.

“Both Lon and I want to get to the bottom of this, to find out factually what occurred and what should have occurred,” Davis said.

Davis said she and Burnham are “deeply concerned” over the outcome of the inspection, and over the fact that accounts given by TABC agents, Fort Worth police officers and eyewitnesses in the Rainbow Lounge “don’t seem to match up.”

She said TABC officials seemed “sincere” and “expressed the appropriate concern” over the situation, and that she was “comforted to hear they are conducting a detailed investigation” into the matter.

In a joint statement released later Wednesday, Davis and Burnham also called for an investigation by some agency outside TABC and Fort Worth police.

The legislators suggested the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department as one possible option for conducting the investigation.

A photo taken inside the Rainbow Lounge by Chuck Potter as the raid was happening show several officers dressed in tan or khaki-colored uniforms surrounding an unidentified man who is lying face down on the floor in the back hallway of the bar, near the restroom.

Davis said she has been told the unidentified man on the floor “could be Chad Gibson.” A source close to Gibson’s family said Wednesday that the man on the floor was definitely Gibson.


This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 3, 2009.

© Copyright by

Thursday, June 18, 2009

CALL TO ACTION - Solidarity with Queer Bulgaria: Mobilization June 2009

On June 28th 2008, neo-Nazi groups aggressively attacked the first
LGBTQ Pride march in Sofia, Bulgaria. A week before the march, the
Bulgarian National Alliance, the most visible nationalist organization
in the country, called for a “week of intolerance.” The BNA strongly
encouraged nationalistic groups to organize themselves against the
right of the queer community in Bulgaria to peacefully march, which
resulted in loosely organized violence during the festivities. BNA
members and other neo-Nazis threw molotov cocktails and small
explosives at the participants of the Pride march. Fortunately, no
injuries were reported. However, more than eighty skinheads, including
Boyan Rasate (head of the BNA) were arrested for their attempted harm
and direct violence toward pride participants.

This year neo-Nazi groups are once again organizing themselves against
the march and Bulgarian queers’ ability to defend their human rights.
The Bulgarian government not only tolerates but also encourages such
attitudes. Two of the parties in the Parliament of Bulgaria are
nationalistic and one of them, Ataka, called for “the men to beat up
the gays.” In addition, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria and head of the
“socialist” party, Sergei Stanishev, subtly, through hidden sparks of
hatred, said that he did not like the “manifestation and demonstration
of such orientations.”

Even though the rights of LGBTQ people in Bulgaria are protected by
the constitution, this is yet more empty rhetoric in the hands of the
powerful. The queer community refuses to give up its rights to a free
assembly. There will be another Pride march this June 2009. Let’s
unite and stand together against the homophobic and transphobic state
of Bulgaria and growing neo-Nazism in Europe.

The International Queer Solidarity Network calls for a European
mobilization. If you cannot attend the march please do the following:

* Issue a public statement of Solidarity with the Bulgarian LGBTQ
* Contact the Bulgarian Consulates
* Contact the Bulgarian President and Bulgarian Prime Minister
* Contact the Mayor of Sofia
* Contact GEMINI to express solidarity and offer support
(sofiagaypride2009 (at)
* Inform your family, friends, and co-workers of ways they can support
the Bulgarian LGBTQ community.

International Queer Solidarity Network
More Info:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Russia police break up gay protest

Nation and World News - Russia Police Break Up Gay Protest

The plainclothes security men came first, clustering in jeans, leather jackets and pointy black shoes. Then the policemen in gray uniforms and stiff hats; bulky men in dark suits who appeared to be in charge; a bus of riot police in camouflage.

By Megan K. Stack

Los Angeles Times


MOSCOW — The plainclothes security men came first, clustering in jeans, leather jackets and pointy black shoes. Then the policemen in gray uniforms and stiff hats; bulky men in dark suits who appeared to be in charge; a bus of riot police in camouflage.

A raw wind swept off the Moscow River on Saturday morning, past the souvenir peddlers with their tables of bright wooden "matryoshka" dolls and T-shirts emblazoned with Soviet iconography. The sky was low and dark over Sparrow Hills, a popular backdrop for wedding photos; a place for limousines, brides and Champagne.

The crowd of plainclothes security grew, and tension thickened as noon drew closer. One of the security men laughed rudely, pushing at a colleague. "They are not even here yet and Max is already flirting with me," he joked. "Take him away from me, guys."

Nearby, a stocky policeman held his portable radio, listening to scratchy commands from above.

"Get all of them!" the unseen supervisor barked.

"Yes," the policeman said. "But how do we know who's gay?"

They were girding their force and setting their traps to sweep down on what the city authorities repeatedly have described as a "threat": the attempt by dozens of gay-rights activists to hold a march in the Russian capital. Yuri Luzhkov, the Kremlin-backed mayor of Moscow, describes gay marches as "satanic."

And yet Russia's gay and lesbian community was determined to stage a march this weekend. Moscow was host city to the final round of the Eurovision song competition, a campy and wildly popular show perhaps best known for launching the career of the band ABBA. Activists hoped to capitalize on the event to draw attention to the sorry state of gay rights in today's Russia.

Most of them never made it — they stayed away out of fear, or were pounced upon and hauled off before they reached Sparrow Hills. Shortly after noon, about a dozen activists stood on the nearby lawn of thick grass and blossoming lilac bushes and began to shout slogans.

"Homophobia is a shame!" they chanted. The demonstration lasted for about a minute before the police set upon them from all sides, clambering through the shrubs and knocking cameramen out of the way to seize the demonstrators, pin their arms behind their backs and drag them off into waiting buses and wagons.

They knew it would be a struggle. The city government repeatedly has denied their permit requests. Police in the past have stood aside while ultranationalist skinheads beat gay activists bloody — then arrested the activists, not the skinheads. (Skinheads, unlike gays, have been permitted to march in Moscow in recent years.)

This year, the government seemed particularly incensed. Eurovision should have been a proud moment for the Russian authorities, a celebration badly needed after bitter clashes with Europe over the war in Georgia and natural gas shut-offs.


"The Moscow government is declaring that no gay parades have been or will be held in Moscow," Sergei Tsoi, spokesman for the Moscow mayor, told journalists last week.

Gay activists threaten "not only to destroy the moral pillars of our society but also to deliberately provoke disorder, Tsoi added.

A few minutes after the first demonstration was broken up Saturday, a second group of activists arrived and began to march along behind a banner reading "Equal rights without compromise." They, too, were pounced on immediately by police, who snatched away the banner and hauled the men off to waiting buses.

A man in a wedding dress arrived, only to be shoved kicking and screaming into the bus. After that, the scene melted into a sort of free-for-all, as frustrated police hauled away anybody who gave interviews to reporters.

"It's a shock," a gay-rights activist named Ksenia Prilepskaya said, watching police circle through a crowd of journalists and a few remaining protesters. "It's against Russian law. It's direct violence against us."

As she spoke, police noticed Prilepskaya and lunged, wrestling her toward the bus as she screamed and squirmed. Her glasses were knocked to the mud and trampled underfoot; her purse lost. Her clothes had been shredded from her body by the time she was forced to the steps of the bus; police drove her inside stripped down to her bra.

"Scoundrels!" somebody yelled.

That was the end of it. There was no march. The vendors kept on hawking souvenirs. A bride and a groom arrived, stared in bewilderment at the police, then shrugged and headed for the parapet to pose for the cameras, cheering wedding party at their heels.

News Europe
Russian police break up gay march
More than 20 protesters were detained by
police at a university in Moscow [Reuters]

Police in Russia have broken up a march by gay-rights activists in Moscow hours before the Eurovision Song Contest final.

At least 30 campaigners had gathered near a university and were later arrested by riot police for taking part in the demonstration condemning the treatment of gays and lesbians in Russia.

The group, which included Peter Tatchell, British gay rights activist, were dragged away by police when they waved flags and chanted slogans demanding equal rights, including: "Homophobia is a disgrace of this country!"

As he was being taken away by police, Tatchell said: "This shows the Russian people are not free."

Among those detained was Nikolai Alexeyev, a Russian gay rights leader.

Police said they were arresting him for walking with a transvestite.

Earlier on Saturday, a counter-demonstration by nationalist and religious groups was allowed to be held.

Hard stand

Yuri Luzhkov, the Moscow mayor, has taken a hard stand against homosexual protesters, once describing gay parades as "satanic".

Alexeyev told Al Jazeera: "We are not just going to surrender because the Moscow mayor who is breaching the law of the constitution and the European convention is deciding this alone and taking full responsibility for what is going on."

Alexeyev, a Russian gay rights leader, was among those detained in Moscow [AFP]

Europe's most prestigious pop music contest has drawn attention to gay rights in Russia, with some singers threatening to boycott the event if the gay pride parade was not allowed to happen.

In previous years there have been many attacks on members of the gay community during similar attempts to hold demonstrations.

Al Jazeera's Neave Barker, reporting from Moscow said: "With forty-two million dollars spent on the stage alone, this is the grandest Eurovision ever.

"The winner is even expected to be announced by the crew on board the International Space Station.

"And while dubbed the most ostentatious Eurovision yet, the event is also likely to go down in history as the most politically charged."