Tag Archives: Andy Thayer

LGBT Activist March In Massive Chicago NATO Summit Protest

Marching along side several thousand others protestors involved in the protest against the ongoing NATO Summit in Chicago.

A group of nearly 100 LGBT activists marched and demonstrated as a “queer contingent” in solidarity with such groups as Occupy Chicago, Students for a Democratic Society and the National Conference of Black Lawyers.

“We need to take our movement to the streets rather than be diverted by the ballot box like we were in 2008,” said longtime LGBT rights activist and Founder of Gay Liberation Network Andy Thayer. “This is the way we’re are going to be able to claw back some of our lost civil liberties will be held in the streets.”

Thayer also criticized “so-called professional gay activists” for not participating in anti-war and direct action demonstrations such as ones against the Chicago NATO Summit.

“This is a golden opportunity to bring our movement back into the streets where civil rights are always won,” Thayer said.

While the LGBT protestors followed the anti-war, anti-NATO narrative, they also focused much of their message on the controversy surrounding Bradley Manning, recent cuts to LGBT health clinics and services and demands for full LGBT equality.

LGBT Activists Protest Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral, Porno Peter LaBarbera Protests The LGBT Protestors

20 LGBT activists protested outside of the Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, Ill yesterday Feb. 12, a protest which is held every year outside the church around Valentine’s Day held in conjunction with National Freedom to Marry Day.

Protesters marched outside the church for more than an hour during mass, chanting “equal rights for everybody” in temperatures that were only in the upper teens.

“This is not an anti-Catholic demonstration,” said Andy Thayer of Gay Liberation Network, one of the groups that organized the protest. “This is a demonstration against the Catholic leadership.”

Catholic Cardinal Francis George compared Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade to a Ku Klux Klan gathering in December.

A small handful of anti-gay protesters also showed up including Illinois’s’ holy fraudster and scam artist Peter LaBarbera (“Porno Pete” who likes to go deep “undercover” at gay leather conventions) whose group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality is labeled a hate group by the Southern Law Poverty Center and also who lost their 501 non-profit status with the IRS last year

LaBarbera came bearing a sign with an arrow pointing to protesters that read “Gay K-K” on one side, and “The Real Haters”.

Hysterically if you look at the picture the way hes holding his “Haters” placard. It loks like Porno Pete is pointing it at himself.

You got that right Petey!

Photo: Kate Sosin

Guest Op Ed: Who Cares Who Wins The Elections?

Who cares who wins the elections
by Andy Thayer – Co-Founder of The Gay Liberation Network

Either way, we will not win on November 2nd. Sure, party hangers-on hoping for sweetheart contracts and other favors care, and are working overtime using the issues we care about, and fears about what “the other guy” might do to us, to try to make us care who wins as well. But these party operatives have horses in these races that the vast majority of us don’t, because when their candidates win, they will go back to screwing us the way they have before the elections.

Take the race for Illinois’s open U.S. Senate seat. On the one hand you have a “friend of the people” banker Democrat whose only major accomplishment to date was landing a job at the family bank (no doubt there was rough competition to get that gig) and then handing out “loans” to mobsters before the whole thing went bust. He got his current entrée into statewide office largely because he’s a fundraiser for and friend of the Obama administration, a repeat of that merit-based hire into the banking vice presidency. His opponent is a political chameleon who will say anything to get into office.

Both candidates are utterly lacking in care about anything that could be described as principles. Power, and the means to augment it, is its own principle. And this is the best that both major parties could come up with for the top of the Illinois ticket? The race not only with statewide, but national implications?

The real question to ask this November is not “Who should I vote for,” but rather, “How do we bring about real change,” and the voting booth has precious little to do with this.

But that’s the last question Democratic operatives want their base to be asking.

Instead they try to scare us. Their main message is one of “my opponent is so so SO bad, you may not like me, but if you don’t vote for me, you’ll get HIM!” It’s blackmail by fear of an even worse “alternative.”

But what has happened in the past when oppressed communities and other progressive voters stayed home rather than let this blackmail do its electoral magic? The most dramatic national example unfolded in 1968 with Chicagoans getting front-row seats. An anti-war movement disgusted by the war escalations of Democrat (sound familiar) Lyndon Johnson and the thuggery of the 1968 Democratic Convention gave up on the voting booth. Along with the burgeoning Black Power, Latino and women’s movements, they focused their efforts on protesting and resisting established power in the streets of America.

A notorious racist, anti-Semitic, sexist, war-mongering Richard Nixon – “the greater evil” – squeaked into the White House in the 1968 election and tried to carry out his program of escalating the war on Vietnam. As we learned later, he secretly wanted to nuke North Vietnam. But he couldn’t, because the power of the international movement against that bipartisan war forced him not to. He then won a landslide reelection in 1972 (the biggest Presidential landslide in history up until that time), and yet still, he and his successor were forced to pull out of Vietnam.

Many other important gains were won during the Nixon presidency that make him look far more liberal than any president since – Food Stamps, Affirmative Action, the Environmental Protection Agency, a Nixon-packed Supreme Court legalizing abortion, to name a few. All because there was a movement in the streets forcing these changes.

Today, President Obama is looking very similar to Lyndon Johnson, but without the civil rights and Great Society legislation. Obama promised to repeal NAFTA and make it easier to join unions (“card check”), but instead we got the bank and other corporate bailouts – the largest transfer of wealth from working people to rich in world history. And a jobless recovery, no foreclosure relief worthy of the name, and a freeze on domestic spending (but not military spending) — all while he surrounded himself with the Goldman Sachs alums and other corporate cretins who gave us the financial meltdown in the first place.

Obama promised to stop the Bushite attacks on civil liberties, close Guantanamo and amend if not repeal the USA PATRIOT Act. Instead he has launched FBI raids on anti-war activists, assassinations abroad, subjected a 15-year-old Guantanamo detainee to a military tribunal, and aggressively campaigned to expand executive spying power with no judicial oversight.

The Obama “peace” alternative to George Bush and John McCain continues the American occupation of Iraq, with mercenaries upholding a hapless “government” instead of troops. With record military spending he has dramatically escalated the Afghanistan war, with Special Forces and drones in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. He’s supported a brutal coup in Honduras, is building threatening new U.S. military bases in Colombia, and lets Israel commit war crimes against the Palestinians and those seeking to aid them.

Whether the issue is gay rights (hanging with bigots like Rev. Rick Warren, arguing in court to uphold Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, etc.), immigrant rights (greatly increased deportations, no reform while his party had solid majorities in Congress), or the environment (“drill baby drill” on the Atlantic seaboard, opps, until the BP disaster), President Obama has been the George W. Bush “third term” we were warned we would get with McCain/Palin.

Fortunately, many supporters of peace and civil rights have begun relearning the lessons learned by late-1960s activists – that the Democrats, no matter what they say, are not your friend. That they are as active an impediment to peace and civil rights as their more honest Republican opponents.

In a few days time Obama and the Democrats are going to get the thrashing they richly deserve, and I for one will have no pity for them. And there will be no Ralph Nader scapegoat this time (not that the Greens deserved it the first time).

Instead of staying home in disgust, I hope that people around the country vote Green Party and for other third party progressive candidates regardless of whether it throws the elections to the Republicans or not. The Dems continuing as the dominant party in power will only give us nicer rhetoric, while escalating the retrograde policies of the previous administration, as they have during the two years they’ve had the control of the presidency and Congress.

I am not Pollyannaish about the Left’s prospects for the next few years. The most critical lesson our current generation still needs to learn is that however difficult they are to construct, only movements independent of both major parties can win the changes that most of us want.

That means that peace activists, gay rights activists, labor activists, civil rights activists, etc., need to begin treating Democratic Party politicians, regardless of their rhetoric, with the same justified wariness and contempt as their Republican opponents. That means demonstrating against both Tea Party racists and Democratic excuses for “progressive” politics.

The power of the early Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, spiking to an incredible height of effectiveness in the 1963 March on Washington and the flood of civil rights legislation which followed it, was not in its inspiring rhetoric, but its determined independence from both parties. Civil rights principles trumped parties.

Only a progressive movement completely independent of, and opposed to the Democratic Party and its operatives can begin to emulate that marvelous legacy.

———————————–

* Andy Thayer is co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network (www.GayLiberation.net) a Chicago-based LGBT direct action group. He’s been a leading organizer of most of the city’s large anti-war protests over the past decade, including a march of 15,000 on Lake Shore Drive at the start of 2003 Iraq war. He’s been arrested numerous times in various protests, including at a 2009 gay pride demonstration in Moscow. He can be reached at LGBTliberation@aol.com

** Back2Stonewall welcomes ALL submissions for Guest Op Ed pieces on all LGBT related topics. We welcome all viewpoints and discussions and comments are encouraged.  If you would like to submit an Op-Ed please contact me at freewil@hotmail.com

*** Guest Op Ed pieces posted on this site do not directly reflect the opinions of Back2Stonewall.com

Gay Groups To Protest Peter LaBarbera’s "Americans For Truth" Banquet And "Gay Hate" Academy Kickoff On August 4th, 2010 – CALL TO ACTION!

The AWESOME Andy Thayer, Bob Schwartz and The Gay Liberation Network joined by DuPage NOW, Woodstock/McHenry County PFLAG and La Voz de los de Abajo, and others will be protesting “Porno” Peter LaBarbera’s America For Truth Banquet in Carol Stream, ILon August 4th which be the grand kick-off for AFTAH’s ‘Truth Academy’to “train young people (as well as older pro-family advocates) how to answer ‘gay’ activist misinformation and fight the homosexual-bisexual-transsexual agenda.” 

AFTAH has a long history of telling lies about LGBT people and recently was designated a ‘hate group’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center,” said Bob Schwartz of the Gay Liberation Network (GLN), the group which has initiated a 5:30 PM, August 4 protest against AFTAH’s opening banquet lecture at their headquarters, 25W560 Geneva Road, Carol Stream, IL.

LaBarbera has has gathered the scum  anti-gay hate mongers from across America to be his “instructors” including: Fat Matt Barber of the Liberty Counsel, Laurie Higgins, Illinois Family Institute, and Cliff Kincaid, who has been a vocal proponent of a notorious Ugandan bill which not only would proscribe the death penalty for gays, but also imprisonment non-gays who fail to report the gay people whom they know.

If you are located in or near Carol Stream, IL (And Hell even if you aren’t) and want to be involved and stand up against these hateful so called “Christians” PLEASE email the Gay Liberation Network at LGBTliberation@aol.com or call 773.209.1187 for further details.

Read the FULL Press Release from GLN by clicking the blue “Read more…..” below and to pass this Press Release along.
For Immediate Release – July 23, 2010
For Information – Bob Schwartz, Gay Liberation Network, 773.878.3697
Andy Thayer, Gay Liberation Network, 773.209.1187, LGBTliberation@aol.com

Gays to Protest “Academy” Encouraging Youth to Hate Gays

Carol Stream, IL — On August 4th a group which calls itself Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) is hosting a banquet / lecture to kick off what they call an “academy” to “train young people (as well as older pro-family advocates) how to answer ‘gay’ activist misinformation and fight the homosexual-bisexual-transsexual agenda.”

Advocates for legal equality for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people (LGBTs) counter that the gathering is aimed at promoting continued legal and social discrimination against gays, and worse, aims to promote this bigotry among young people

“AFTAH has a long history of telling lies about LGBT people and recently was designated a ‘hate group’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center,” said Bob Schwartz of the Gay Liberation Network (GLN), the group which has initiated a 5:30 PM, August 4 protest against AFTAH’s opening banquet lecture at their headquarters, 25W560 Geneva Road, Carol Stream, IL. Joining GLN in the protest will be DuPage NOW, Woodstock/McHenry County PFLAG and La Voz de los de Abajo.

“Using typical far-right scare rhetoric about gays, AFTAH’s literature about their forthcoming ‘academy’ calls the LGBT rights movement ‘destructive to America’ and invites people to donate money to fund scholarships for people as young as 14-years-old to attend their event,” said Schwartz. “What they are really trying to do is inculcate the next generation with a religious, sectarian-based hatred of gays.”

“Particularly in difficult economic times, it is vital that opponents of discrimination remain vigilant and forthrightly oppose any attempts to scapegoat any group for the failings of society,” said GLN co-founder Andy Thayer. “Youth should not be taught to hate their peers and thus fuel the cycle of self-loathing, depression and suicide which too many LGBT youth experience. Bigotry must be vocally and publicly opposed, especially when haters like AFTAH try to recruit young people.”

Recently AFTAH announced that one of the “instructors” at its forthcoming event will be Cliff Kincaid, who has been a vocal proponent of a notorious Ugandan bill which not only would proscribe the death penalty for gays, but also imprisonment non-gays who fail to report the gay people whom they know

“With the inclusion of a ‘kill the gays’ spokesperson like Kincaid, the AFTAH youth academy is an attempt to legitimize a set of politics so vile that even leading figures on the religious right have felt compelled to condemn them,” said Schwartz. “If AFTAH’s Executive Director Peter LaBarbera were just a lone kook, then I would say just ignore him. But to say that would be to ignore the fact that LaBarbera was the leading proponent of two attempts to get anti-gay referenda on the Illinois state ballot.”

“Harvey Milk and other pro-equality activists defeated Anita Bryant and her anti-gay referenda a generation ago not by ignoring, but by highlighting and making infamous her anti-gay bigotry,” said Thayer. “This is what needs to be done against LaBarbera, and which is why we have called this August 4th protest. Learning from the failed, polite campaigns to defeat California’s anti-gay Proposition 8 and Maine’s Question 1, we must instead loudly highlight the bigotry of our opponents as Milk and others did, and thus politically marginalize them.”

For more information about the August 4th protest, email the Gay Liberation Network at LGBTliberation@aol.com or call 773.209.1187

Andy Thayer Of Chicago’s Gay Liberation Network Explains How Russian Gay Activists Outwitted the Secret Police

*Gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev of Russia attends a press conference in Moscow. Russian gay rights movement leaders annouced they will go ahead with their planned march despite permission being denied by the Moscow

Chicago activist Andy Thayer with the Gay Liberation Network traveled to Moscow, Russia a week ago and not only participated in but helped organize and report back via blog posts and articles about the preperations for Russian Pride and how they actually pulled it off against all odds without violence or interruption by neo-nazis, the Russian Secret police or the Russian Goverment,

In Andy’s final post from Russia he explains HOW they did it.

As a result of this and other measures, Russian gays and lesbians accomplished their most successful Pride yet – a highly visible event with lots of press coverage, no arrests and no beatings, despite government bans and a police dragnet.

Here is the main purpose of my final blog from Moscow: Now that the action is over we can finally tell the truth about how Moscow Pride activists accomplished this remarkable feat. The aim is to share the experience with other activists within Russia and elsewhere who are facing difficult circumstances. All content of this particular blog have been cleared with Moscow Pride organizers so that no organizers are put in additional jeopardy.

It’s a truly inspirational and inspiring blog post and a MUST READ.

Back2Stonewall wants to congratulate and thank Andy Thayer for his involvement and reporting with Russian Pride and we salute all our LGBT Russian brothers and sisters for thier tenacity and courage in standing up for thier rights and hope and pray that one day that thier oppression will be over.

Moscow Gay Activists Defy Police, Stage Two "Flash" Gay Pride Parades – Chicago Activist Andy Thayer Of The Gay Liberation Network Participates

Even though Moscow has banned gay pride parades for the last five years, yesterday activists, including Andy Thayer of Chicago’s Gay Liberation Network who earlier this week flew to Russia to participate  defied riot police and staged two small “flash” parades without incident. Strategic planning by the activists managed to keep the events below the radar of anti-gay nationalists and neo-nazis. For once.

The two Gay Pride parades were held without arrests in Moscow on Saturday, the first time the notoriously intolerant Russian authorities have not intervened since the inaugural attempt to hold the event in the capital in 2006. The activists’ spokesman claimed that the absence of harrasment, beatings and detentions was due to their “military planning” rather than any kind of warming toward non-traditional orientation among officials. Moscow riot police typically disperse such gatherings with brute force, emboldened by declarations from city Mayor Yury Luzhkov equating homosexuals with the devil. The activists also blame Russia’s resurgent Orthodox Church, which publicly and sternly denounces gay culture, for fomenting homophobia. About 25 activists held a short demonstration on The Arbat, a pedestrian street lined with shops and cafes that is one of Moscow’s main tourist draws. They marched for about 10 minutes, holding banners and shouting slogans such as “No discrimination on the grounds of orientation.” Some observers waved and laughed, and there were no signs of hostility. Police did not try to disperse the march, but when the demonstrators saw a line of uniformed officers blocking the street ahead of them, they scattered.

Besides Thayer, British activist Peter Tatchell took part in one of the parades. Tatchell sustained permanent brain damage when he was beaten by Moscow police at a Pride demonstration in 2007.days

I am hoping that Andy will send me an updates and pictures of the days events……..

In the meantime, heres some video that was posted on Youtube