DESCRIPTIONS OF SOME RECENT ACTIONS:
- The January 20th DC Counter-Inaugural Protest of HRC and the Log Cabin Republicans went amazingly. Here is coverage from the New York Blade followed by our press release:
The New York City group QueerFist led a small protest march from Dupont Circle to the Log Cabin and HRC offices, where it conducted what the group called a runway “fascism show” to mock the two groups’ “pandering for conservative gay support.” Adrian Saldana, one of the group’s members, said about seven or eight QueerFist members from New York recruited several dozen Washington-area sympathizers to participate in the events.
Among other things, the group criticized HRC and LRC for supporting same-sex marriage, saying that “gay marriage proponents serve only the affluent gay and lesbian community” by failing to provide health care and other benefits to the “working class,” according to a press release issued by the group.
- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
<><>Queer Protestors Target Gay Rights Groups On
Inauguration and Ties to Bush Administration
Washington, D.C. (January 20th, 2005) - Members and
supporters of QueerFist, a New York City-based group
of radical gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered
people, will perform a provocative spectacle of street
theatre skits during the Inauguration called “Runway
as Resistance.” Beginning at Dupont Circle at 3:00 PM
there will be a parody of the over-the-top nature of a
fashion runway show to represent the conservative
leanings within the current gay rights movement. The
performance march will be making its way to the Log
Cabin Republican Headquarters and then to the Open
House being held at the Human Rights Campaign
While the GOP ties of groups like the Log Cabin
Republicans are common knowledge, groups like the
Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a Log Cabin funder,
operate under the auspices of liberal and progressive
social change for gays and lesbians. The HRC has
offered to endorse President Bush’s Social Security
reform in exchange for gay marriage rights. QueerFist
alleges that the gay marriage proponents serve only
the affluent gay and lesbian community. “Gay marriage
only provides healthcare to the partners of the
already insured, without expanding access to anyone
within the working class,” says QueerFist member
Tatiana Walker. “HRC’s Open House on the Inauguration
is a slap in the face to the Queer community,
pandering for conservative gay support. A gay rights
group funded with Republican money will never serve
the needs of the Queer community.”
With a 2004 annual budget of 30 million, the HRC is
clearly capable of creating an inclusive gay rights
movement for all queer and trans communities. Instead
the HRC chooses to accept funding from known human
rights violators. HRC has even gone so far as to
commend Nike for its corporate equality in employment
practices. QueerFist demands that the HRC adopt a
campaign true to its name, where human suffering and
oppression is activly challanged.
Queer Fist, known for its use of glamour and spectacle
in protest, first came into public light during the
2004 Republican National Convention in New York City.
The group disrupted a Log Cabin Republican luncheon in
Bryant Park, and hosted a Queer Kiss-In in Times
Square, spurring dozens of arrests.
Event: “Runway as Resistance” will begin at Dupont Circle at 3:00 PM.
- On Wednesday, November 3, Queer Fist first joined about 20 folks at the Dykes International Conspiracy from Hell (DITCH) election protest at Sheridan Square, then marched up to join the huge IAC action at Union Square, where we had a really strong, vocal presence. The coalition of protestors succeeded in evicting a phalanx of riot-geared cops WITH MACHINE GUNS from Union Square. It was a very strong testament to the power of the people, especially welcome the day after that election debacle.
- Members of Queer Fist set up a booth at the Really Really Free Marketon October 30 at St. Mark’s Church. We gave away cookies, chocolate and stuffed cabbage, as well as zines and Queer Fist stickers and flyers. The event on a whole included live entertainment and skill shares, and kids lined up to break a military tank piñata full of Halloween candies.There was radical button-making, as well as the usual free sushi and free haircuts. This event is scheduled to take place every other month, so watch the listserv for the next date in December.
With 23 people in attendance, the Queer Fist sponsored panel
“Another Queer World is Possible: Queering and Reclaiming Urban Space
in NYC” at the NYC Social Forum at the CUNY Grad Center on Oct. 28th
stimulated a lively discussion about what a radical queer presence in
NYC could do, as people stayed over an hour longer than planned to continue
the discussion. Topics roamed from how to link local issues around the
disappearance of queer space in NYC to global issues such as how to
create and imagine transnational solidarity between people of color and queers
around AIDS issues. Panelists Jack Waters, with Le Petite Versailles
Garden discussed his and Peter’s strategic use of the garden during the RNC
protests, while performing and modeling how queer space can be
reclaimed in a contact improv with the CUNY basement floor. Mervyn Mercano
discussed his experience working with FIERCE, a group of, by and for queer youth of
color which has been working to reclaim the W. Village and piers from the
recent gentrifying “quality of life” campaigns, and suggested strategies for
white activists interested in working with activist groups comprised primarily
of people of color. Sharonann Lynch, of ACT UP NY and the Health Gap Coalition, discussed these
groups’ recent street actions publicizing Bush’s “false promises” on global
AIDS funding, as well as their efforts working with AIDS activists in
“developing” countries around the world. Mattilda, of the anti-assimilationist
group Gay Shame in San Francisco, discussed some of GS’s strategies for street
theater performances of fusing “spectacle”with “politics”, discussing the difficulty
of maintaining the right balance between politics and partying.
Naomi Clark discussed the Silvia Rivera Law Project’s recent projects
confronting the gender-normativity of bathrooms and the experience of trans people
at the hands of the police in protests, prisons and everyday life.
The panel was moderated by Dominic Wetzel, of CUNY and Queer Fist.
Even after getting kicked out, the group flowed out into the hallway area,
continuing on with a lively discussion evaluating Queer Fist’s participation
in the RNC protests, our attempts at working with and creating solidarity with
activist groups composed primarily of people of color, such as FIERCE’s
recent protest in the W. Village, our participation in the Oct. 22 Coalition
protest, and how we might build a real radical queer network in NYC post-RNC.
- Queer Fist participated in the October 22 Coalition event for the National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.
In its ninth year, the demonstration kicked off with a rally held at Union Square where family members of victims of police murder spoke, as well as youth who have had experiences with police brutality and repression in their communities. Around 300 people showed up for the O22 event, with about 25 people comprising the Queer Fist contingent
Queer Fist carried signs criticizing the NYPD repression, specifically citing the numerous unconstitutional acts committed during the 2004 Republican National Convention. The focus was predominantly on the unjustified and violent nature of the arrests of participants of the Queer Kiss-In, as well as the toxic conditions of Pier 57 where activists were detained before being booked. As a response to activists being released from jail with respiratory problems, skin rashes, and covered in grease stains, Queer Fist’s contingent marched from Union Square to Times Square with faux chemical burns and motor oil smudges. The grotesque display was meant to make visible the nature of police repression against dissent, though it is only a fraction of the scale of the police oppression that takes place in communities of color. Our spectacle also proved to be an effective vehicle for discussion with many passersby in Union Square on the subject of police brutality.
The permitted march across 14th St. and up 6th Avenue had a heavy police presence, and all protestors were relegated to the sidewalk. In some ways, NYPD control over the procession guaranteed the message was mediated to at least some police officers through the creative chants and signage. A breakaway march had been proposed upon arrival at Times Square but the numbers from the Queer Fist contingent by the end of the march were not high enough to execute a strategic action that didn’t guarantee arrest.
PHOTOS FROM OUR RNC ACTIONS
"MARRIED TO THE STATE":
What: "Married to the State: A Shotgun Wedding"
Who: QueerFist, a new group formed around the RNC
When: Sunday, August 29th, 1pm
Where: On the steps of the main library in Manhattan, 41st street and 5th ave.
What to Do: Dress as your favorite oppressor (cops, prison guards, judges, politicians, etc) or just in fabulous wedding attire and get married to your favorite same-sex system of oppression! We will preside over your marriage.
"KISS-IN" (just before the kissing started):
We are a group of radical queer and trans identifying people who oppose the gay mainstream's agenda of assimilation. The inclusion of gays in institutions such as marriage, the military, or a (mis)representative "democracy" will only further legitimize these systems of domination. The politics of "fitting in" serves those in positions of power and excludes people including, but not limited to, people of color, trans folks, immigrants, women, the working class, the poor, and sex workers.
The Log Cabin Republicans, who are spearheading the campaign for gays in the military, are a group of privileged individuals who use assimilation to further victimize marginalized people while claiming to defend them.
The Human Rights Campaign, the leaders of the gay marriage spectacle, not only fund the Log Cabin Republicans, but also put a smiley face on assimilation politics. Funding a far-right gay group is just as damaging as visibly commiting to assimilationist campaigns. We oppose these groups and others for their participation in systems of domination.
We support radical and inclusive movements that dismantlle racism, classism, sexism, trasphobia, ableism, heterosexism, militarism, and the state entirely.
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