27 October 2009

This Should Be Classified as a Hate Crime!


“On September 10, 2009, Atlanta Police illegally detained and searched dozens of patrons at gay bar without a Warrant, Reasonable Suspicion, or Probable Cause.” (see here for the full accounting.)

This is a personal account of someone who was there (listen to all of it even though the clip is about ten minutes) It visibly reveals the incredible impact this incident had on this patron:

This has not just affected people locally in Atlanta. Here is an example of a reaction from a global perspective:

I am outraged beyond description that something like this has occurred. This is NOT Stonewall, and it is NOT June, 1969. Folks, this is happening NOW. The fundamentalist Christian Right has decried our efforts to obtain our rights as citizens of the US. They say that we are asking for “special” rights. They say that allowing these rights (legally recognized marriages and all of the economic benefits associated, protection from discrimination in the workplace, the acknowledgement of inclusion as any abuse to be considered a hate crime, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, etc., etc., etc.) will only erode and undermine the family values of the American institution (the last time I looked, I lived in Amerca!). There are bans in many states forbidding LGBTQ couples from adopting children. You can only imagine the underlying thought process in this discrimination. Yes, most recently, Obama finally signed a hate crimes law. Congress proceeds to discuss ending discrimination in the workplace. But none of the “big ticket” items are being addressed. We are so far from where we should be.

What will it finally take for us to be truly treated as equal citizens? It’s been 40 years since Stonewall. Yes, I have seen some positive changes along the way (more open-mindedness, some states passing the right to marry/civil unions—however with the caveat of DOMA—nothing is sanctioned at the federal level, and a little more public tolerance). However, the religious right is determined to have their way. They browbeat Washington with their powerful lobbying efforts (e.g., Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, et al. have made it their driving focus to rid America of the “gay agenda” and they have exerted their significant influence upon many in Congress). The “gay issue” has become the litmus test for all politicians.

What happened in Atlanta IS a hate crime. Will the Atlanta City Police Department ultimately be held accountable for their horrendous actions, or will this, as with so many other incidents, be quietly swept under the rug? The LGBTQ community is completely exposed as long as there is tacit permission for any organization to be able to act as the APD did. I fear the end result, if all of the gay bashers have their way, will be retreating back to the pre-Stonewall days. I’m proud of who I am; I don’t shrink from my responsibilities to speak out and take a stand when necessary (to include righteously speaking out to the snide comment made behind my back while standing in a cashier line while someone loudly announces their ignorance just because of a t-shirt I may be wearing displaying the fact that I am a dyke).

Folks, we’re not going anywhere. We are not going to be passive and silent. Change must come now.©2009

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