About 150 members of the group “Gay Shame” collected outside The Armory to protest Kink.com’s prison-themed “Prison of Love” Pride Party last week which resulted in 3 of protesters getting arrested.
Mary Lou Ratchet, a Gay Shame representative, tried to draw a parallel between the protest at the Pride party and Stonewall, saying: Like the Stonewall rebellion 45 years ago, last night’s attack reminds us how trans and queer people of color are criminalized and arrested for simply gathering in public space, like the 16th St. BART plaza [where the arrests took place].
The three protesters – Rebecca Ruiz-Lichter, Prisca Carpenter, and Sarai Robles-Mendez – remain in custody, allegedly on “trumped up charges.” Ruiz-Lichter and Robles-Mendez’s bail is set at $50,000 each (if you’re asking how does bail work – here’s a little guide); Carpenter’s bail is $78,000.
In an open letter to Kink.com owner Peter Acworth and party organizers prior to the event, Gay Shame called attention to the fact that trans women are often housed in men’s prisons, where they are vulnerable to assault.the protesters were offended that the organizers of the party would try “to [turn] the genocidal practices [of prison rape] into a cash-making joke.”
Kink spokesperson, Mike Stabile told SF Weekly, “While the protestors were largely peaceful, some were more belligerent and attacked security guards at the event. One of the guards was spit on, another was punched twice in the stomach. The guards did not retaliate in any way.”
Stabile says the arrests occurred outside Kink.com’s headquarters at the Armory, where several protesters lingered after the rest dispersed. He says that one party attendee had his phone smashed and another collarbone was broken by protesters.
“We share the protestors complaints about the prison industrial complex, and respect their right to engage in public dialogue about the nature of Pride, BDSM, trans rights and prisons. (In fact, we’ve engaged with them on it repeatedly.) But physical attacks on people at a Pride party — whether celebrants or workers — are outrageous and unacceptable. We need to meet any violence, whether in the prisons or in the streets, not with more violence, but with love,” Stabile said. He added that Kink and Shaw Security were not planning to press charges over the alleged assaults on security guards.
Talk about GAY SHAME.