Gloria Brame, Ph.D.

Atlanta Eagle owner speaks out: Pride committee makes changes

Filed By Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | October 28, 2009 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Eagle, BDSM, Georgia, police brutality, police harrassment

What with bloggers buzzing all over the story yesterday, seems like Atlanta's Pride Committee finally decided to do the right thing.

Officer Harris will be marching in civilian clothes

I'll be blogging more about this story this week and its significance to BDSMers. Suffice to say, the Eagle was one of my favorite clubs during the 12 years we lived in Atlanta. I have all good memories of the bar, its staff, its parties, its fund-raisers and educational events, and especially all the incredible support they've offered the pansexual BDSM community in Atlanta over the years.

I strongly believe that the Atlanta PD went after them because they are a perceived weak link in world of sexual politics. Nobody ever wants to stand up and defend the rights of leather people to congregate -- except for leather people, and even then, it's amazing how empty a room can be when it's about politics instead of play-time. This is the Eagle's time of need and they deserve our support.

Here is a copy of the letter Atlanta Eagle Co-Owner Robby Kelley wrote yesterday to the Atlanta Pride Committee.


To the Atlanta Pride Committee:

As a person who was held on the floor of the Atlanta Eagle, I would like to request that Officer Harris walk in the Pride Parde in her street clothes and not her Atlanta Police uniform. After coming out and saying that APD did nothing wrong, I feel this would be an injustice to our community. As a person taken to jail I find this offensive. Most of you do not know the true horror that we went through that night and that uniform represents all of it.

To see gay men kicked, hit, and searched with no reason is wrong, and to be made to lay face-down in the floor, and have the officers hi-five each other like it's a party is wrong. To have them say "this was fun we should do this to a fag bar every week" is wrong. And having Officer Harris in her uniform saying that it's OK is wrong.

If Officer Harris chooses not to be there in her street clothes, so be it, but that will be something she chooses to do. After being released from jail she was one of the first persons we a saw. She apologized for their actions and then got up and told everyone it was OK. Please.

Robby


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I just spoke to Dani today to set up a video interview of her this Sunday before the Parade. She even mentioned this and told me she had already decide to not be in uniform for a very specific reason. She will have her 10-year-old son with her in the car and she said she did it for him.

I already have a set of questions to ask her before reading this, and the lack of uniform is one of them. I may modify the uniform question after reading this.

Just as a FYI. When Chief Pennington wanted to fill the vacant position of the LGBT Liaison, he asked a group of community leaders to interview the candidates who applied for the job. I was one of the ones who picked Officer Harris.

Monica, I hope Dani knows that this isn't about her qualifications to serve. This is mainly about the timing, coming so soon after the raid. It's unfortunate she finds herself caught up in this mess.

It is extremely honorable of her to volunteer not to wear the uniform. Hope she knows how much people like me appreciate that gesture.

Gloria

I agree, this shows exactly why she is so good for her job- she is showing the sensitivity to the community that is needed at this time.

Actually, Harris was selected well before the raid.

That aside, it's very nice that she has offered the gesture of not wearing the uniform. Some people (Mike Alvear, for instance) were in foam-at-the-mouth, head-on-a-pike mode, emphasizing that they preferred her to be kicked out completely. Problem is, that's anger being flung about just for anger's sake.

Officer Harris has been invaluable help with previous political actions, the most notable being the protest of Rick Warren's keynote speech at the King Center on MLK Day this year. She is on our side, and so is Pride. [sigh]

She has been very valuable in that position. I agree.

Yayy for gay! That's what my straight friends say to make smile.

This is a yayy for gay moment, just as important as the signing of the hate crimes legislation: it shows the compassion of a key ally: a LGBTQ community member who is also a police office and highly visible in both positions.

But it also shows the new power of the net voice given to grass roots members of the LGBTQ community by blogs and other social media.

They have to learn to listen, sometimes it takes a public calling out to do it...

Congrats and enjoy!

Yayy for gay! That's what my straight friends say to make smile.

This is a yayy for gay moment, just as important as the signing of the hate crimes legislation: it shows the compassion of a key ally: a LGBTQ community member who is also a police office and highly visible in both positions.

But it also shows the new power of the net voice given to grass roots members of the LGBTQ community by blogs and other social media.

They have to learn to listen, sometimes it takes a public calling out to do it...

Congrats and enjoy!