One Queer’s Thoughts On Resistance To Police Brutality

Posted: March 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

Introduction

We had been asked to send an article to a blog spot about queer resistance to the police and what we thought about the recent Moral Monday “storming” of Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford Ct. by cops. We at first hesitated as we have been very busy with other projects and since we didn’t attend Moral Monday due to work restrictions we felt that we couldn’t really speak on the subject except to say we were once again, appalled by the conduct of Hartford police. What else is new we are appalled daily by the conduct of the police forces all across the country as they continue their assault on people of color. Daily and we say daily because that is what has been happening. Police imagining some grave threat, grabbing their guns and shooting dead a person as their first line of defense.

I also didn’t want to as a white queer activist get involved with the in fighting going on in Hartford over tactics, or leadership of the movement. We do not feel that it our our place to do so. However I do have ideas to express about the police, their conduct and what has been happening in americkkka and how I as a person looking and working towards a new day feel about it all. We ask is a new day possible if we continue to cling to the old ways of doing things? We would have to answer no. We would ask is a new day possible by moderate means and moderate men? Again our answer would be no. Recently journalist Mychal Dexzel Smith said, ” We need to abolish the pillars of white supremacy and I think the police are one of those.” We fully agree. This piece is an updated version of the original piece.

One Queer’s Thoughts On Resistance To Police Brutality.

Why do some of us as white queers join with our Black brothers and sisters in a resistance struggle against police brutality and the murder of Black men and women? Why do some of us Queers care and care deeply while other gays pass the wedding cake and see no issue beyond their own? Why do I as a white queer man living in Hartford Ct. care that the police just shot to death a homeless black man name Africa in Los Angles, that Mexican immigrants Ruben Garcia Villalpanto and Antonio Montes were both kill last week by police or that Lakota Allen Locke was shot and killed the day after attending an anti-police brutality rally? I care simply because I care. I learn many years ago as a young “gay” in the movement that we were here, there, and everywhere and all issues were our issues. Black Feminist Lesbian, poet, philosopher, teacher and writer Audre Lorde, said it best, “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” This principle has guided many of us through out our lives as activists in the radical queer section of the LGBT tribe.

I remember like it was yesterday my first encounter with the police so many years ago. We were at a sit in outside of  Whitehall Induction Center in NYC protesting the draft and the Vietnam war when the police on horses and in columns suddenly came through the crowd with their clubs swinging. One never forgets that smack of the nightstick upside of ones head. Though it hurt like the dickens did it stop me from protesting great injustice? No it did not. It made me stronger, more resolved and that day looking out over the crowd knew that along with those of us in the radical “gay” community there were many people of color, seniors, straight young women and men, the old and the young united. We were strong even when thrown in the tombs for the weekend.

Patrisse Cullors one of the founders of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter tells us that a significant amount of queer and trans people are core to the movement that she and another lesbian founded. The lives of Black and Brown LGBT/Q people matter within the whole of the BlackLivesMatter movement. As Patrisse says, “We can fight for everyone.” The police brutalize Trans folks all the time.Many times due to shame, fear or for whatever reason folks may have, these cases of police brutality are not reported. Not only do the police brutalize our trans sisters and brothers but trans women of color are murdered at a high rate across the US. In February it was recorded that at least 7 Trans Women had been murdered since the beginning of the year.

New Orleans LGBT youth of color organization Break Out had this report from a local study on discrimination.

 “In our 2014 report, We Deserve Better,” the statement explains, “BreakOUT! found that 84% of transgender people reported experiencing police profiling on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation in New Orleans, with 57% reporting being harassed during the encounter.  Further, 42% of LGBTQ people of color reported calling the police for help and being arrested themselves, compared with zero percent of white respondents.”

Homelessness among LGBT/Q youth is at an all time high as many kids are coming out younger and younger and are tossed out of their homes by their parents. In a Williams Institute Study 40% of homeless youth identified as LGBT/Q. Once on the street our youth are harassed by cops using questionable and illegal stop and frisk operations, driven from their gathering places, face physical assault and forced to trade sex just to survive. Moderate gays in the West Village forgetting where they came from call the cops regularly on queer young folks. Groups such as FIERCE NYC are organized with COP WATCH, and Know Your Rights to fight back, educating our youth to “Know your rights,” holding rights workshops, training on the usage of video cameras to record the police, and uniting with Communities United For Police Reform to protect our young from the many dangers they face simply for being who they are. Young queer folks of color.

You know I have got to admit it. I not only don’t like the police I am scared of them. Nice and peaceful one minute and the next all hell breaks loose. My past experience with the police has not been very good and I am an older white queer. My experience would be much worse if I were a person of color, a sissy boy on the street, a butch girl, a sex worker, a trans sister or brother, a homeless person, an immigrant or just some brothers standing on the corner visiting? Folks who the cops always seem to want to pick a fight with and when they do many end up dead.

I shudder each time I hear that another black man has been murdered and I look at my black friends and think, Damn it could have been you. I pray for my young black friends that they make it home each day and hope for their safety. I shake my head and say, why? Why must we be fearful that our friends, our brothers, fathers and cousins won’t make it home again. What type of society are we living in if we worry when they leave home to get a gallon of milk? Oh God I pray end this injustice soon. We’ll do what we can down here but come by here lord, yes come by here.

We once published an essay on Furbirdsqueerly called, The Myth of The Cops As Our Brothers In The Struggle. Many of the ideas that we express here were brought up in that essay. We came to the conclusion, which we had known all along, that we had nothing in common with the cops who are just arms of the ruling class, tools who are protecting the property of the wealthy and will beat back anyone who tries to pull the plug on this evil dirty rotten system.We know that this system was founded on racism, genocide and slavery and daily we see that these ideas still flourish in the land of the free.

Step out of line or if they think that you are out of line, they will shoot you dead, shove a broom handle up your ass, beat you, taze you, stomp and kick you and this evil racist system that they represent will say, that the cop did nothing wrong. We will never correct this great injustice by sticking to this racist system like dog shit to the shoe we must join forces and say no more. We must for our lives stand up together and free ourselves. As the old saying goes, we have nothing to loose but our chains.

We were not able to attend Moral Monday but our spirit of resistance went forth within the march. We were moved to tears when clergy stood up and blocked the police from arresting any of the Moral Monday Leaders. We salute all of the marchers that day and the inspiration that we received from reading and hearing about it is priceless. We posted highlights of the march on our blog so our readers from all over the world would know what happened on Moral Monday in Hartford Ct.

We thank Rev. Cornell Lewis for being a leader whom we respect and love deeply. He has always been there for the LGBT/Q community and many of us for him. We also send our love and respect to Bishop Selders who has always been an outspoken advocate of LGBT issues and to our new found friend Rev. Osagyefo Sekou who spoke these true words recently,

“If you are more concerned with young people saying fuck the police than you are with the fucked up conditions they are living in, there is something wrong with you.” Rev. Osagyefo Sekou at Harvard Graduate School of Education

and to the women and men who march on I say thank you.

Richard Nelson

Hartford Ct.

 

 

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