Club Dallas Gay Bathhouse Raided, 11 Arrested For Public Lewdness and Indecent Exposure

What year is this 1965?

On Friday night police raided The Club-Dallas, a gay bathhouse in the Deep Ellum district of East Dallas, and arrested 11 people.

Why the raid?  “When somebody complains we have to go in, just like when someone calls 911 we have to go to the call,” Laura Martin  the DPD’s liaison officer to the gay community, said. “Now that so much activity was found there, they can probably expect more vice operations there. … I’ve certainly never been there, but I’ve heard that public lewdness does go on in the club. All you have to do is keep your ears open.”

Ten patrons of The Club reportedly were charged with either public lewdness or indecent exposure, while one employee was charged with interfering with police. DPD would only release records related to three of the 11 arrests, according to the Dallas Voice which broke the story needs to file a freedom of information request to obtain additional details.

The Club Dallas issued a one-sentence statement about the raid. “The Club Dallas management is committed to pursuing justice for and defending the rights of each of its members,” The Club helped bond out arrested members from jail and has offered them legal representation.

One member who was present during the raid but was not arrested, accused police of harassment and intimidation. According to police reports, two undercover officers paid their way into The Club and gathered evidence, before additional officers came in and helped execute the arrests. The member said the officers were carrying plastic flexcuffs and detained him for 45 minutes even though he was just working out in the fitness area. He said he believes the city is trying to shut down The Club to make way for redevelopment around the new DART station that sits next door.

At one point the member said he heard one of the officers remark that, “I’m going to have nightmares forever after this.”

This whole raid sounds like a set-up.  One complain sparks a major vice raid?  Dallas has a high crime rate people are getting shot and killed, beaten, raped, kidnapped, and robbed in the Oaklawn area, not to mention other areas of Dallas; and the DPD has time to have vice officers raid and arrest people in Club Dallas?

I cannot tell you how much this distresses me.  Now no matter what your opinion of bathhouses are this is a direct throwback to gay harassment of the 1960’s.  In recent months we have had gay bar raids, bathhouse raids, rabid anti-gay talk from politicians,  a spike in LGBT hate crimes and murder, an epidemic of LGBT teen suicides, LGBT books being banned from libaries, and people being fired for just being gay. 

This is a very serious situation .  And we need to do something about it.  Its like time is marching backwards.


Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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