Blake Wilkinson, founder of Queer LiberAction, said the group’s Milk Box community forum in Fort Worth on Sunday was crashed by surprisingly aggressive anti-gay counterprotesters. Wilkinson said when about six or seven QL members arrived for the Milk Box, the counterprotesters had already seized the planned site, at the corner of Houston and Third streets. To avoid a confrontation, the QL’ers moved down the block, but then the group of about 15 counterprotesters started coming toward them in a threatening manner. “It got to a point where we just had to leave,” said Wilkinson, noting that there were no Fort Worth police officers present. “I think people were getting concerned for their safety. We definitely felt outnumbered.”
Wilkinson said the counterprotesters were from Kingdom Baptist Church of Mansfield. This appears to be the same church that’s led by Pastor Joey Faust, who sent out a press release earlier today encouraging anti-gay protesters to attend tomorrow night’s City Council meeting, where an LGBT protest is planned. In fact, it appears as though Faust may be one of the men in the above video from yesterday. After the jump, read QL’s full press release about the incident.
Anti-Gay Group Crashes QL’s Milk Box
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Fort Worth – Sunday evening Queer LiberAction held a Milk Box in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square that was met with numerous anti-gay protesters from Kingdom Baptist Church in Mansfield. Their message was the tired old line of “if homosexuals don’t repent for their deviant lifestyle, then hell awaits.” Worse than their anti-gay message was the aggression exhibited towards LGBT activists.
Anti-gay activists set up on the corner of Houston and 3rd with signs and a megaphone before members of Queer LiberAction had arrived. QL moved the Milk Box to the corner down the street to put distance between the two groups. As the Milk Box event progressed anti-gay activists began moving down the sidewalk towards Queer LiberAction. A few anti-gay activists positioned themselves behind the Milk Box as well.
The tone and posture of the anti-gay protesters grew more confrontational as they closed in on Queer LiberAction.
This group along with other anti-LGBT foes will be out in force at Tuesday’s Fort Worth City Council meeting where several important issues affecting the LGBT community will be heard. Queer LiberAction is asking the LGBT community of North Texas to turn out en masse so that anti-gay forces such as those from the Kingdom Baptist Church are not able to block pro-LGBT gains.
“I was shocked by not only the amount of anti-gay bigots that crashed our free speech event, but the ‘in your face’ tactics they were using. They invaded our side of the sidewalk and equated every LGBTQ person with pedophiles and people who practice beastiality. It was a sick and perverse use of their free speech. I feel sorry for anyone who attends Kingdom Baptist church in Mansfield, I don’t think anyone should be allowed to spread that kind of hatred and bigotry. Our fight is not against religious organizations, they can have their beliefs. We only ask to be treated with the same dignity and respect as any other law abiding, tax paying human being.” says Corban Bates, leader of street activism for Queer LiberAction.
“The city of Fort Worth loves to tout how inclusive and non-discriminatory the city is, but I think the actions and bigoted speech of the fundamentalists last night shows a more accurate picture of what LGBT citizens face in this city.
“The Fort Worth police failed to do their job to separate the fundamentalists from harassing QL. Even if the Fort Worth Police disagree with or dislike QL, they still need to be professionals and do their sworn duty to protect all citizens,” says LGBT Activist Kevin Crook.
David McFatridge of Queer LiberAction says, “Last night members of Fort Worth’s Queer LiberAction where confronted by a radical religious group during a free speech event held in Sundance Square. Original planned to be held at 3rd and Houston but was moved to 4th and Houston in order to avoid a direct confrontation with the group. At which time the religious group ,not getting the direct confrontation desired moved toward 4th and Houston. Fort Worth’s Queer LiberAction held their ground. This religious group may be the first to be prosecuted with the newly passed hate crimes legislation if violence occurs in any future events. The free speech event ended peacefully, this time.”