Raid on Fort Worth Gay Bar on the Anniversary of Stonewall

28 06 2009

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a 1969 riot in which patrons of the Stonewall Bar fought back against police brutality and harassment against gay people by the NYPD.  On this day 40 years ago, a raid of the Stonewall Bar by police turned into a riot and is widely considered to have been a major catalyst for the modern US gay rights movement.  Sarah.of.a.lesser.god has a good post about remembering Stonewall on The Pursuit of Harpyness blog.

Unfortunately, I have bad news to bear on the anniversary of Stonewall that reminds us that hate, violence, and homophobia are alive and well today and the fight against injustice must continue on with fervor and bravery.

Apparently, a Fort Worth bar, Rainbow Lounge, was raided by police early this morning.  Seven people were reportedly arrested there for “Public Intoxication.”

The Daily Kos has some info, and there is also a facebook group about the raid.

Witnesses report that police arrived at the club about 1 a.m. this morning and arrested seven people.  One of those arrested reportedly suffered a fractured skull and is at a local hospital.

Fort Worth police released a statement saying that the Rainbow Lounge was among several bars investigated, and that nine additional people were arrested at other bars.

At Rainbow Lounge, a police statement claimed, an “extremely intoxicated patron made sexually explicit movements toward the police supervisor,” and was arrested.  The statement claimed that a second man made explicit gestures and a third grabbed an agent’s groin, thus spurring their arrests.  Police reported that another intoxicated person was placed on the ground by officers to control him while resisting arrest.

However, the general manager of the Rainbow Lounge and several witnesses are claiming that officers used excessive force to make arrests.

“He was just walking to the bathroom when an officer grabbed him and shoved him against a wall and pulled his head back,” said Chris Hightower of Fort Worth. “He (the injured man) was then thrown to the ground and three other officers were on him.”

Several witnesses are claiming that the officers were never assaulted.  One patron described the routine inspections usually performed by police.  “Usually, they’re very orderly and respectful – they work with the bar staff and check IDs, it’s quick and painful and then it’s over and then they’re out.  This was not that. This was harassment, plain and simple.”

For an up to date feed on the details of the raid and scheduled protests, check out the Dallas Voice. Read the rest of this entry »

Vibrator use is more common than you may think

28 06 2009

According to The New York Times , the first academic peer-reviewed studies of vibrator use reveal that “it is nearly as common an appliance in American households as the drip coffee maker or toaster oven.”  Two August 2008 national surveys from Indiana University published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine report that 53% of women and nearly half of men have reported using a vibrator.

The vibrator is also being used much more often for shared pleasure among couples.  81% of women and 91% of men reported using the vibrator with a partner.

Other interesting data indicate that among women ages 45 to 60, 46.3 percent reported having used a vibrator at some point in their lives.  59.5 percent of women ages 23 to 44, and 32.7 percent of women ages 18 to 22 reported having used a vibrator.  Among men, 45.2 percent ages 45 to 60 reported having used a vibrator while 51.5 percent ages 23 to 44 and 15.5 percent ages 18 to 22 reported vibrator use.

The researchers suggest that the increasing use of vibrators (the 1953 Kinsey report reported that vibrator use was “less than one percent”) may be partly due to the increasing availability of the device and changing cultural opinions of sex toy use.  The vibrator has become more mainstream, and is now being marketed towards couples, older people, and even couples with children under 18.  The move away from the X-rated taboo public opinion of the sex toy industry may have helped spur the increasing interest in sex toys.  The New York Times also reports that:

Men and women who had used a vibrator in the last month scored higher on sexual pleasure scales that measured arousal, orgasm, lubrication, pain and erectile function than those who had never used one.

The study of course probably has its downfalls.  93% of the 2,056 women and 1,047 men interviewed were heterosexual.  There is also the question of whether volunteer bias and the specific makeup of the sample may skew results.  However, this study may be indicative of a shift in social attitudes about sexual practices.  If the survey results reflect even slightly that sexual pleasure is becoming less taboo and more often discussed and sought in the mainstream (for both women and men), this is good news indeed.