I've taken the liberty of editing this slightly to remove parts that weren't necessary for the story and corrected some basic punctuation. Emphasis is Catherine's.
As many of you know there was a large protest Sat p.m. in front of the St Francis Hotel in Union Square, We were to here to protest The Human Rights Campaign's fundraising event. The reason for the protest was because HRC will not support including the entire Queer community in proposed legislation to end discrimination against our community - ENDA. HRC favors legislating this civil right for Gay Men and lesbians alone. They state that others must wait until the US public is ready to accept them, (no transgender or any others may apply).
Our community - allied with organized labor (quite queer as well) - kept every elected official from attending this travesty of "Human Rights" except, for some unknown reason, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey. This left two transgender speakers, the staff of HRC and Lynn Woolsey.
Another part of the protest was for 2 people to buy tickets and peacefully leaflet the crowd. Unfortunately the tickets were expensive and cheapest ones ($125.00) sold out quickly. So only one person went in - me. As you all know I am nearing 64 and not as lithe as i once was (like right after the Korean War).
So I went in, under dressed but undaunted. I circulated and had some good conversations with some decent people who were confused about the protest and didn't understand about the ENDA legislation. Nor did they seem to know that the event had been either boycotted or "ducked" (by people like Dennis Herrera, Jeff Adachi, Antonio Villaraigosa, Kamela Harris, Carole Migden, Mark Leno, the entire Board of Supervisors, Congresswoman Pelosi (a duck), Mayor Newsom (a goose) - and others.
We sat down to eat, 1000 people, the lights went down and a program that would have put Shell Oil to shame began. The faces of Bayard Rustin and Harvey Milk flashed on multiple screens. Diego Sanchez gave his talk (which sounded to me like he was saying that we should include everyone on the community in ENDA, but I am naive and he did buy me a Johnny Walker. Next was Joe Solmonese, Executive Gay Man of HRC. So this was it.
The following is what happened to the best of my recollection. I have been in a little shock since then and occasionally I remember things I didn't remember before:
As it was pretty dark, I just quietly started walking to the front of the room, intending to leaflet. As I started I heard a security man behind me say into his microphone, "We have some movement here (very on patrol in Baghdad)." I was about 3/4 ways to the front when 2-3 (I think the final number was 3) large men came up behind me and said, "You have to leave." I asked why, I showed my ticket to them. They repeated, "You have to leave," a few more times.
Clearly this was the time to start to exit, although I had been given no reason other than 3 threatening men looming... At this point I had not distributed a single leaflet or spoken a word except to security. Unjust as it was, it became obvious that threatening men were going to prevail over justice. So, I said OK and began to hand out my leaflets on my way out. Before a single page could land on a table, both my arms were jerked back VERY HARD so that the leaflets flew out of my hands. My right arm was twisted behind my back and my right wrist was crushed in fully bent. The old police technique of hurt them but don't leave a mark! Well, I guess they flunked that part of their security training (which is maybe why they work for this company). They left plenty of marks!!
At this point there was no more reason to remain a lady and I began to call out something like "shame on you, we all go forward together or not at all." At least that is what I would like to think I was saying - I might have been saying something less lady like such as, "Fuck you, you white corporate self hating *##*#*#."
Soon I was yelling,"Stop, you're hurting me." Now this is often a good tactic - but in this case it was a mild understatement... I soon found myself on the ground and being dragged through the exit.
HERE IS WHAT I FIND THE MOST APPALLING PART OF THE EVENING! (other than their politics and tacky black tie). I am older than 80% of the people who were in that room. The room had a minority of women but still several women, Congresswoman Woolsey (a person with a decent reputation) was present along with 2 transgender people. However, no one responded to my screams of pain and when I went down I screamed for help. I asked that somebody help me and stop them (security) from hurting me. NOT ONE PERSON SPOKE UP! NOT ONE PERSON FOLLOWED US OUT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENED. Who are these people???
So there is more to it than that. they jerked me to my feet, frog marched [me] through part of the hotel, down the stairs (off my feet again at this point) and pushed me out the Post Street door. The St Francis refused to allow me to file an injury report and also escorted me out.
FIRST A FEW ENLIGHTENING PHOTOS TAKEN BY MY PHYSICIAN TODAY AND THEN WHAT YOU CAN DO - AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO MUCH (sorry about the aging arms):
WHAT CAN I DO? I AM GLAD THAT YOU ASKED. BUT FIRST, REMEMBER THIS ISN'T ABOUT MY GETTING THE "BLACKWATER MASSAGE." This is about:
- A group that calls itself a Human Rights Group and lobbies with millions of dollars to deny civil rights to any other queers except themselves!
- It is about any group that hires thugs to enforce "security" at their events-thugs hired from outside the area, who have no accountability as would on site (union) hotel security.
HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO AT THE LEAST:
- Call or email HRC and protest their legislative policies, leaving transgender people behind and protest their use of "mini-Blackwater" security thugs. Tell them to support ENDA legislation that includes everyone. Tell them not to use hired goons to try to silence their critics. Call 1 (800) 777-4723 and ask for Joe Solmonese or Josh Meyer (he is their "event coordinator" - ie he hired the goons). He told me that he was in the room when I was dragged out and had no answer when I asked him why he let that happen to me.
- Call Lynn Woolsey, "feminist" and "liberal," and ask her what she was doing while a 63 year old woman was assaulted in front of her. Tell her to support an inclusive ENDA. If she says that she does, ask why she was the only elected official at HRC's event. (415) 507-9554 (or her campaign office 415 454-3316) or better yet her DC office - (202) 225-5161
- Perhaps the City of San Francisco should discuss the use of these private companies to terrorize people. The Police Commission (who oversees private security policies and The Human Rights Commission will be asked to investigate this - please urge them to do so.
Finally - don't dis my flabby triceps. Hasta la victoria siempre!
PS - Thanks to Supervisors Ammiano and Peskin for their support.