Tag Archives: Queer Nation

Gay History- April 28, 1990: Bomb Explodes At Uncle Charlie’s in NYC, Years Later Found To Be Terrorist Attack by Radical Islamic Group

Thirty years ago today on April 28th, 1990 a homemade pipe-bomb exploded in a popular gay bar in the West Village of New York City which prompted a massive protest march on Manhattan’s Sixth Precinct station mobilized by the then newly formed Queen Nation and years later was found out to be one of the first terrorist bombings on U.S. soil by a radical Islamic group.

Uncle Charlie’s Downtown was located at 56 Greenwich Avenue and was a hugely popular gay video bar in the 1980’s and 1990’s,  packed nightly where gay men would gather to drink, watch video,  play pool and cruise.

In the early morning of April 28 at least 3 men were injured when a pipe bomb exploded at about 12:10 A.M.  Sergeant Tina S. Mohrmann described damage to the building as ”minor.” but at that time the NYPD also called it “unrelated” to a hate crime.

One patron at the nightspot, Frizzell Green, said he was standing at the bar when the blast went off in a trash can five to six feet from him, producing a cloud of smoke and sending debris in all directions.

After the NYPD basically dismissed the explosion the newly formed Queer Nation founded by by AIDS activists from ACT UP  mobilized over a 1000 protesters in a matter of hours. The group gathered outside Uncle Charlie’s at 9:30 P.M. then marched their way to the NYPD’s 6th Precinct, blocking traffic at times and chanting ”Hey, hey, ho, ho, homophobia has to go.”  As the march proceeded, many bystanders along the street and in sidewalk restaurants cheered and applauded and joined in

It wasn’t until 5 years later in 1995, just two years before Uncle Charlie’s Downtown would close its doors for good that it was discovered that that an extremist Muslim terrorist ring was actually responsible for making and planting the pipe bomb.

In the January 14, 1995 article “Man Accused In Terror Plot Bombed Gay Bar, U.S. Says by James C. McKinley Jr. from The New York Times the truth behind the bombing was revealed :

Federal prosecutors plan to present evidence that some of the 12 men charged in a terrorist conspiracy to blow up New York City landmarks were also responsible for a host of other crimes, including the 1990 bombing of a gay bar, international arms smuggling, drug trafficking and the attempted murder of Mikhail S. Gorbachev. In a letter from prosecutors to defense lawyers released yesterday, the prosecutors accuse El Sayyid A. Nosair, one of the alleged leaders of the terrorist ring, of bombing a Greenwich Village gay bar, Uncle Charlie’s, on April 28, 1990, injuring three people. Mr. Nosair, who like the other defendants is Muslim, attacked the bar because he objected to homosexuality on religious grounds, according to the letter.

Nosair was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his “war of urban terrorism”

Over three decades later the pipe-bombing of Uncle Charlie’s Downtown, was one of the first terrorist attacks on American soil by radical Islamic groups and is still overlooked by many mainstream historians.

Another in a long line of under-reported and missing pieces of our LGBT history.

Uncle Charlies all

Gay History – June 16, 1990: Queer Nation “Takes Back The Night”, Activist Michelangelo Signorile Arrested.

 

June 16th. 1990

The newly formed activist group Queer Nation holds a Take Back the Night march in New York, protesting hate crimes against gays.

Over 1,000 people attend.

Via the NY Times,  June 18, 1990:

What began as a peaceful march through Greenwich Village late Saturday night to protest violence against homosexuals broke up into clashes, chases and threats early yesterday morning when hecklers taunted demonstrators as the march drew toward its conclusion.

 In one incident, about 1,000 advocates of gay rights were walking along Broadway about 1 A.M., carrying a black and white banner that read “Queers Take Back the Night”‘ when some spectators yelled anti-gay remarks at the crowd.  More than 50 marchers chased the men down Astor Place and around the corner to Ninth Street.  Police officers on foot and officers riding motor scooters on sidewalks also pursued the hecklers. Demonstrators said that three men ran away and that two or three other men sought refuge in an apartment building on Ninth Street. The police guarded the building, the Randall House, as an angry crowd taunted them and demanded that the men be arrested.

“This shows graphically the type of problems we face,” said Gary Konecky, a 33-year-old accountant from Bellerose, L.I., who was one of those chasing the men. “I have no idea what would have happened if we caught them.” “They exacerbated the situation by charging at the person when someone called them names,” said Deputy Inspector Charles Campisi, commander of the Sixth Precinct, who walked in front of the crowd during the four-hour march. “It was a long, tough night.”

The crowd resumed marching when the police, who apparently used another exit to leave with the men, stopped guarding the building. When the Randall House doorman was asked where the police took the men, he pointed toward the basement. The police said no charges were brought as a result of the incident.

The march was organized by Queer Nation, a group formed in March to protest anti-gay violence against homosexuals and to draw more attention to the rights of homosexuals and lesbians.

At 11:20 P.M., about 20 demonstrators rushed at former Mayor Edward I. Koch, shouting “Shame! Shame!” after he walked past the march near Eighth Street with two bodyguards on his way back from seeing the movie “Dick Tracy.” A dozen police officers encircled him and rushed him safely into his apartment. “I would say I was startled, certainly not frightened,” Mr. Koch said later in a telephone interview. “I haven’t been subject to this kind of demonstration or action or invective since I left the mayoralty.”

 A spokesman for the sponsoring group, Scott Gorenstein, said: “For years we’ve been trying to get that man’s attention. Tonight we did.” 

 Inspector Campisi said there were six arrests during the march. Three men were arrested and charged with menacing, aggravated harassment and illegal weapon possession after the police said they were brandishing weapons and taunting homosexuals on Bleecker Street between Grove and Christopher Streets at 2:25 A.M. after the march broke up.  Arrested were Alija Dokovic, 21 years old, of 1050 39th Street, Brooklyn, who the police said had a golf club; Jose Cruz, 16 years old, of 3207 Eighth Avenue of Brooklyn, who was said to have had a baseball bat, and Steven Mendez, 18 years old, of 926 47th Street, Brooklyn, who the police said had a folding knife. All three are from the Borough Park section.

Inspector Campisi said three marchers were arrested on disorderly-conduct charges, issued summonses and released. Mr. Gorenstein, the spokesman for the group, said he only knew of two marchers being arrested: Michelangelo Signorile, 29, a writer, and Lori Cohen, a lawyer, whose age was not available. Mr. Gorenstein said they argued with police officers after the clash on Broadway

Gay History 101:

Queer Nation is an LGBT activist organization founded in March 1990 in New York City, by HIV/AIDS activists from ACT UP. The four founders were outraged at the escalation of anti-gay and lesbian violence on the streets and prejudice in the arts and media. The group is known for its confrontational tactics, its slogans, and the practice of outing.

Here are some of Queer Nation’s first actions:

  • April 20, 1990:  Queer Nation members show up en masse at Macy’s department store where Olympic gold medallist Greg Louganis is promoting a new swimsuit line. Queers arrive with WHEATIES cereal boxes with swimmer’s picture pasted on front, to recall the time the cereal maker rejected Louganis as a spokesperson, ostensibly because he is gay.
  • April 26, 1990:  Responding to the 120% increase in violence against gays and lesbians, Queer Nationals climb the billboard on the roof of Badlands, a Greenwich Village bar and hangs a 40-foot banner that reads: “Dykes and Fags Bash Back!”
  • April 28, 1990:  A pipe bomb explodes in Uncle Charlie’s, a Greenwich Village gay bar, injuring three. In protest, Queer Nation mobilizes 1000 gays and lesbians in a matter of hours. Angry marchers fill the streets, carrying the banner “Dykes and Fags Bash Back.”
  • May 12, 1997: The inauguration of “Queer Shopping Network.” Members of Queer Nation travel from New York City to the Newport Mall in Jersey City with leaflets offering information about queers, safe sex tips, and a list of famous queers throughout history. The leaflets are titled “We’re here, we’re queer and we’d like to say hello!”

Happy Anniversary Signorile !

Queer Nation To Fly Banner Over Fire Island With Boycott Info For Reisner Properties After Lies About Ted Cruz Dinner

Fire Island boycott 2

 

Via press release from Queer Nation: 

A plane trailing a banner reading “Boycott Hi/Lo Tea! Fight For Full LGBT Rights!” will fly above the beach at Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines on Sunday, June 7, between 2 pm and 3 pm. The action will underscore the LGBT community’s outrage over the April 20 meeting between Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and gay businessmen Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass, who subsequently donated money to the Cruz campaign. The two gay men also held an April 14 fundraiser at their Manhattan penthouse for Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), another anti-LGBT politician.

Reisner and Weiderpass own most of the businesses in the Pines—including the Blue Whale, Sip-N-Twirl, and the Pavilion, where the “High Tea” and “Low Tea” cocktail hours are held—as well as the gay-oriented Out Hotel in Midtown Manhattan.“Two gay business owners are making money off of the LGBT community at a world-famous gay vacation spot and then giving that money to outspoken anti-LGBT politicians,” said Ken Kidd, a member of Queer Nation, the gay rights group that orchestrated the flyover. “Our community is out to win comprehensive federal legislation that will make LGBT Americans fully equal under the law. We will not be taken backward by funding anti-LGBT politicians.”

Last week a band of gay activist took to Fire Island this weekend to spread the news and point out which of the Fire Island properties belonged to  Ian Reisner’s and should be boycotted in The Pines after the New York Times revealed that Reisner, who also owns  OUT NYC hotel, lied about cutting a campaign check to ultra-conservative and anti-LGBT candidate Ted Cruz at the same time that he and his business partner Mati Weiderpass hosted a reception for Cruz in their Manhattan penthouse.

Reisner did, in fact, cut a check for $2,700, the maximum individual contribution allowed.

While many knew of Reisner’s ownership of the  OUT-NYC Hotel complex many are unaware of his specific holdings in the Fire Island Pines.

That is until now.

The flyer urges the a boycott of some of Fire Island’s most historic gay landmarks like the Pavilion, Botel, Bistro, Sip-N-Twirl, Blue Whale, Pines Pizza, and the Cultured Elephant.

If you would like to learn more check out the Boycott Fire Island Pines Establishments & Out NYC Hotel and the QUEER NATION Facebook pages for further info.

Queer Nation’s Ken Kidd Reacts To Chad Griffin’s Obscene $507k A Year Salary: “What A Money Suck HRC Is”

Ken Kid Queer Nation
Yesterday with the help of Todd Swindell and longtime gay activist and San Francisco District 8 Supervisor Candidate Michael Petrelis of The Petrelis Files;  Back2Stonewall.com was able to post the 2013 net earnings of Human Rights Campaign President and born a poor gay rural boy in Arkansas (until he was 19 and moved to Washington, D.C. to become a the youngest member of a Bill Clinton’s presidential staff working as White House Press Office Manager.) Chad “Rosa Parks” Griffin

After hearing the news Ken Kidd of the ever fantastic LGBT activist group Queer Nation shared out post and after dealing with someone who was attempting to softpeddle Griffin’s obscene $507,000.00 paycheck and the fact that after receiving donations of over 50 Million Dollars in 2013, that HRC spent a measley $650,000.00 of it on lobbying.

Kidd summed up nicely what many in the LGBT community are feeling after hearing the news of Griffin’s obscene paycheck.

“You can’t unring the bell and your comments above may now have clouded the issue for folks who are interested in this topic and learning what a money-suck HRC is to now be confused when there’s really no reason to be.  Moreover, this is not a ‘cry’ of scandal, and it is absolutely a fair statement. HRC’s sole mission is lobbying, yet they raise money on the backs of every other organization’s work. over causes to which they have contributed absolutely no effort whatever. And Chad’s over ONE HALF MILLION DOLLAR salary last year (which represents a $150,000.00 dollar raise for him over the year before– when his individual donors demanded that he cut his pay by nearly 20 grand from the year before that) is way out of line.

One need look at only two things:

(1) The salaries paid to other LGBT EDs, like Lorrie Jean of the LA LGBT Center, who is constantly having verbal skirmishes with Chad over which of their organizations is larger (and always wins on which one provides more actual service), and (2) the fact that HRC repeatedly refused to make public its most recent 990s and only did so under threat of legal action, then finally releasing the information at 6:30 PM on the Friday night of Labor Day weekend.

I really, truly have a problem with people trying to defend this top-heavy organization whose sole purpose at this point is fundraising to keep itself in business. Especially when they agree that HRC isn’t the best org to contribute to and are forthcoming about not being privy to the particulars of the situation. HRC is an ineffectual organization, top heavy in its admin, that banks on people feeling good becoming a part of ‘the movement’ by contributing to the ‘name brand’ LGBT organization (“BE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY”, they beg, at every turn), only to have their 25 or a hundred buck annual donation go to pay for Chad’s beach house or 5 star travel doing development cultivation. I resent the hell out of them for all of that.”

And so do we all Ken.  Maybe its time we do something about it.

Former Executive Director of the NGLTF Matt Foreman “Pull The Plug On ENDA” – #ENDAisNOTequal

Matt Foreman

 

On this the 40th Anniversary of Bella Abzug’ss introduction of the *Equality Act of 1974 that would have added sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Matt Foreman lawyer and activist with a rich background in political advocacy and civil rights work has some choice words about the current version of ENDA courtesy of Tico Almedia and Freedom to Work (who helped write it and the religious exemption) that is sitting dead in the House of Representatives.

“It’s pathetic that four decades have gone by without Congress extending basic civil rights protections to LGBT Americans. It’s even more pathetic that what’s left of Bella Abzug’s comprehensive legislation (The 1974 Civil Rights Act) is ENDA – a small-bore bill that is now riddled with giveaways to anti-gay forces, including a religious exemption big enough for an 18-wheeler to cruise through. It’s time to pull the plug on this essentially lifeless corpse and demand full equality under the federal civil rights statutes.” – Matt Foreman, former executive director of the NGLTF,  NYC Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, and a founding member of Heritage of Pride. 

Foreman’s statement includes the Twitter hashtag #ENDAisNOTequal, which is being used by Queer Nation and others who are voicing opposition to ENDA.

*  Reps. Bella Abzug (D-NY) and Ed Koch (D-NY) introduced the Equality Act of 1974, which sought to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act adding sexual orientation as a protected class thus banning ban discrimination against gay and lesbian individuals, unmarried persons, and women in employment, housing, and public accommodations such as restaurants, hotels, museums, libraries, and retail stores. The act marked the first-ever national piece of proposed legislation that would end discrimination against gays and lesbians in the United States. It did not, however, include transgender people.

Hopes were high for passage when the act was introduced because of the increased and unprecedented media coverage gay rights issues were receiving. Also, along with the protests mentioned above, the early 1970s saw the establishment of new gay rights organizations and the first pride parades, which took place in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.

Further, the overall climate in the country seemed ripe for the expansion of civil rights with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and congressional passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have prohibited the denial of equal rights under the law on the basis of sex. (The ERA ultimately failed to be ratified by enough states to be added to the U.S. Constitution).

Unfortunately, the Equality Act of 1974 never earned enough support to make it out of committee in the House.

Queer Nation Protests and Disrupts NYC Appearance Of Brian Boitano – Boitano Ignores Them

Queer Nation

Members of Queer Nation confronted three-time Olympian Brian Boitano last night, demanding he speak out against Russia’s recently enacted anti-LGBT laws when he represents the U.S. at the Olympics next month.

Boitano, who is one of three openly gay men and women chosen by President Barack Obama for the U.S. Olympic delegation, was appearing at New York’s Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea as part of “Brainwave: Mind Over Matter,” an ongoing series that pairs men and women prominent in their various professions with psychologists, psychiatrists, ​and ​neurologists to discuss how the mind and brain work.

During his introduction of Boitano, Tim McHenry, the Rubin’s director of public programs and performance, spoke with admiration about how Brian Boitano had become “a courageous champion of human rights and artists.”

“When did he do that and what is it that he said?” shouted Duncan Osborne, one of the protesters. “He’s going to a country with a record of abusing human rights, especially the rights of gay men and women, and he has yet to speak out about it,” Osborne continued.

Boitano has as yet said nothing against Russia’s anti-LGBT laws, instead insisting along IOC lines that athletes and spectators respect the laws of the country they will be visiting.

“Stand up and tell us what you are going to do what are you going to say in Russia,” yelled Jamie Bauer,” another protester from Queer Nation.

Boitano remained seated and silent and refused to acknowledge the protesters.

“Two members of Pussy Riot were imprisoned for protesting their government’s human rights record, and when they were granted amnesty ahead of the Olympics promptly denounced the amnesty and organized a protest,” said Bauer after the protest. “We haven’t seen nearly that kind of courage from Brian Boitano, who has much less to risk.”

Two audience members attempted to remove Osborne but backed away when he threatened to have them arrested.  Eventually the QN protestors were peacefully led peacefully out of the room by security guards.

“You’re a coward,” Osborne yelled at Boitano repeatedly as he was escorted away.

GO QUEER NATION!

Queer Nation & GetEqual Disrupt IOC Olympic Event In Boston – Picabo Street Shows Insensitivity

Sochi noose

Queer Nation and GetEqual Massachusetts disrupted the opening event of the US Olympic Committee’s Road to Sochi tour stop in Boston, demanding answers about the safety of LGBT Olympians, American spectators and also LGBT Russians.

Activist Sasha Kaufmann, of GetEqual Massachusetts, engaged former World Cup alpine skier Picabo Street, and got in a verbal altercation during the panel discussion that showed very little sensitivity or understanding by the former Olympian to the plight of LGBT Russians or the safety of gay and lesbian Americans attending the events in Russia.

Said Street when asked about safety concerns for LGBT Americans in Russia:

“We are Americans, we don’t live in Russia…I would take you under my arm, we will experience the Olympic games together  and have a wonderful time.”

When inquiring about what will happen to Kaufmann’s Russian gay brothers and sisters after the games are complete, Street interrupted the panel’s uncomfortable silence with:

“I don’t know. Hopefully nothing.”

The disruption of the kick-off events concluded with activists unfurling a 40-foot rainbow banner reading “Boycott Homophobia” just feet away from the main event’s stage in Boston Common, chanting “USOC protect LGBTs” and “Don’t believe Putin’s lies” for roughly 15 minutes.

*Queer Nation is a direct action group dedicated to ending discrimination, violence and repression against the LGBT community. Find out more information by visiting their website: www.queernationny.org or on Twitter and Facebook  @QueerNationNY – Facebook.com/qn.newyork.

**GetEQUAL Massachusetts is a state-based chapter of GetEQUAL,a group working to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community and allies by taking action to demand full legal and social equality, Website: www.getequalma.org; Twitter: @GetEqualMA; Facebook; http://bit.ly/GetEqualMass;

Queer Nation Disrupts Carnegie Hall Performance of Valery Gergiev Over Russia’s Anti-LGBT Laws

Queer Nation Carnagie Hall

Last night  members of the LGBT rights group Queer Nation disrupted the performance of the Mariinsky Orchestra, led by world-renowned conductor Valery Gergiev, demanding that Gergiev oppose the Russian government’s attacks on LGBT Russians and that Russia end its war on its  LGBT citizens.

Earlier in the evening, Queer Nation protested in front of Carnegie Hall. Demonstrators, including several Russian gay men and women, carried a 60-foot rainbow flag that read “Support Russian Gays” and held placards. Protestors also handed out informational flyers to arriving audience members and passersby.

The New York Times reports:

The furor in the West over Russia’s new law placing restrictions on the discussion of homosexuality continues to dog the conductor Valery Gergiev, who is one of Russia’s most important cultural exports these days. Mr. Gergiev, a prominent supporter of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who signed the law, drew protests Thursday night at Carnegie Hall, just as he did last month at the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera. Shortly after Mr. Gergiev walked onto the stage at Carnegie Hall to begin leading the celebrated Mariinsky Orchestra in a program of three Stravinsky ballets, the concert was briefly delayed by several members of Queer Nation, a protest group that has been vocally pushing for gay rights in Russia. “Gergiev, your silence is killing Russian gays!” several protesters shouted, as Mr. Gergiev, in tails, kept his back to the audience. Some members of the audience booed the protesters; others applauded. One woman yelled, “This is an artistic event!”

The protesters were removed from Carnegie Hall.  No arrests were made.

“Valery Gergiev should not be able to perform without being called out for his vocal support of Russia’s anti-gay president,” said John Weir, one of the protesters. “Gergiev’s silence about Putin’s anti-gay laws is killing lesbian and gay Russians. We’re here to break that silence.”

On October 4, Queer Nation wrote to Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s executive and artistic director, asking that Carnegie Hall condemn the Russian government’s attacks on LGBT Russians. He declined, adding that “musical events are not the appropriate setting for political statements.

“This is an artistic event!” Shut the fuck up, Muffie.

Queer Nation is a direct action group dedicated to ending discrimination, violence and repression against the LGBT community.

Website: www.queernationny.org
Twitter: @QueerNationNY
Facebook.com/qn.newyork

 

 

Queer Nation & LGBT Activist Protest and Disrupt MET Russian Opening Gala

Ann Northrup and Andy Humm

Queer Nation and LGBT activists in New York City descended on the Metropolitan Opera’s Opening Night Gala last night demanding that pro-Putin Russian performers at the Gala—and the Met itself—end their silence on the Kremlin’s attacks on LGBT Russians.

Russian conductor Valery Gergiev and soprano Anna Netrebko, who appeared in the Gala production of Eugene Onegin, which was written by the gay composer Peter Tchaikovsky, are longtime and vocal supporters of Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president and have refused to publically denounce Russia’s recent draconian anti-gay laws.

Before the performance Queer Nation NY and LGBT activists including longtime LGBT journalist Ann Northrup and Andy Humm (pictured above) peacefully protested outside of the opera house carrying rainbow flags and signs.

Inside the MET just before the opera began, delaying the start of the performance Queer Nation NY members unfurled a rainbow flag chanted “Putin, Stop, End Your War on Russian Gays!” and “Anna, Your Silence is Killing Russian Gays! Valery, Your Silence is Killing Russian Gays!  The protest was met with a mixed reaction of applause from some of the crowd within and also some boos.

Security led the protesters peacefully out of the opera house.

There were no arrests.

Singer Anna Netbrebko later wrote on her Facebook page: “As an artist, it is my great joy to collaborate with all of my wonderful colleagues — regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation. I have never and will never discriminate against anyone.” But stopped short of denouncing Russia’s anti-gay laws.

 

Queer Nation Says NYET! – Protest Set For Russian Consulate, Wed July 31st @ 12 Noon!

BOYCOTT RUSSIAN VODKA

Queer Nation will be holding a PROTEST HOMOPHOBIA – RUSSIAN VODKA DUMP PROTEST at the Russian Consulate Wednesday at 12 Noon @ 9 East 91st. Street.  I hope that all who are in the area will show up (even if you don’t have Vodka) and show your support for our LGBT brothers and sisters in Russia.

There will also be protests and demonstrations on Saturday at Russia’s consulate in San Francisco and at their consulate in Toronto and one has been  organized for August 10th at the Russian embassy in London.

QUEER NATION RUSSIA BOYCOTT