Jacquielynn Floyd at the DMN gets it right

Ever since the joint TABC/FWPD raid on the Rainbow Lounge on June 28, people in the LGBT community have been outraged over the police reports indicating that patrons in the bar made “sexually suggestive movements” toward officers and that Chad Gibson — the guy who ended up in ICU with a brain hemorrhage — groped an officer.

We in the LGBT community know the “gay panic” or “trans panic” defense when we see it. And we know it’s B.S. Which is one reason the LGBT community has been so angry over this whole thing.

But the non-LGBT community, at least in this instance, just doesn’t seem to get it. Except for Dallas Morning News columnist Jacquielynn Floyd.

In a column on the DMN site posted today, Floyd says: “there’s something odd and disturbing about the official version of events submitted by the Fort Worth police officers at the scene. Yes, I mean the creepy “groping” allegation.”

She also writes: “There’s an ugly and unprofessional whiff of ‘gay panic’ about the police report, which seems to say, ‘We didn’t use excessive force. But if we did, how can you blame us? We were groped by gay men!’ Even if the groping tale were true, would it excuse breaking somebody’s head? If women got a pass for cracking the skull of any man who made an unwelcome pass in a bar, there would be an alarming rise in the incidence of head injuries.”

Yes, it’s been more than a month since the Rainbow Lounge raid occurred. And yes, we would have liked to see someone in the mainstream press point out the “gay panic” thing a little earlier. But Ms. Floyd has done it now, and I, for one, am glad she did.

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Tell them what you saw at the Rainbow Lounge

Three different official investigations — one by TABC, one by the Fort Worth Police Department and one by the U.S. Attorney General. That means that people who were there that night and saw all or part of what happened are being asked to give their testimony about what they saw to as many as three different agencies.

But to make that somewhat daunting task easier, activists in Fort Worth have arranged two “statement gathering events,” both in the fellowship hall at Celebration Community Church. One is from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. today (Tuesday) and the other is 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday. You can even go online to RainbowLoungeRaid.com to find tools to help you get your testimony organized before you even get there.

They have PDF downloads that include a diagram of the bar so you can mark where you were when the raid occurred and a list of specific questions that will help you focus your memories and give a more accurate description of what you saw.

They have also asked that no media attend the two sessions, allowing those who don’t want their identity known to have a degree of anonymity, and organizers have noted that you can give your testimony anonymously as well.

Celebration Community Church is located at 908 Pennsylvania Ave. Investigating officers from all three ongoing investigations will be in attendance along with free legal representatives to help advise you in giving your statement or to join you while you do so. If you have any concerns about anonymity or avoiding media coverage, please contact Pastor Carol West at 817-437-2233. If you have any questions regarding the witness process or the details of these two events, contact Tom Anable at 817-269-8399.

—  admin