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Safety in NumbersJune 29, 2004

I found out that after the dyke march on Saturday, one of my pals was bashed. She was beaten up, kicked and punched by a drunk male who broke her nose, threatened to rape her friend, then went on to beat up the same friend and punch three other women. He was arrested, that’s the only good part of the whole story. He’ll have a felony hate crime permanently on his record. Forever. District attorneys aren’t pleading out hate crimes right now, thank god. It’ll stick.

I think a lot of people picture Gay Pride as a parade full of queens wearing boas and tiaras and little else. But that’s the smallest, most colorful side of it, and it’s all the news cameras care to catch. What it really is: It’s the grouping of women and the people who love them on the lawn in Dolores Park on Pink Saturday, before they march through the streets, peacefully and joyously, with no corporate advertising or sponsorship, just regular women walking with their friends, safe. It’s the families who gather on the lawn at the Civic Center on Sunday, dads with their children, grandparents and friends and co-workers who picnic and people-watch and apply sunscreen. It’s seeing the way you love reflected, for the only time all year, back to you in hundreds of different happy faces, faces that look just like yours, or look very different. It’s being able to kiss your girlfriend without doing that tiny look-around first – that safety check that we do without even registering that we’re doing it. It’s being able to dance together outside, in the sun. It’s safety in numbers. It’s pride.

Bashed. In San Francisco. On Pride weekend. No one’s safe, and it makes me terribly, awfully sad.

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Comments

We had a bashing up here, too, on a gay man. Sigh. Just when you think things are taking a turn for the better. What is WITH these people?! My heart is racing just thinking about what happened to your friend and the man.

Hey, new banner! What happened to my kitty with the broken neck?

This year was the scariest pride here in philly for me.. I didn't hear of any bashing, but I know that I wrote on my blog that I wouldn't be surprised that it happened. Just when I feel like we took a step forward we takes too many steps back. Hope your friend is ok.

Thanks for sharing this Rachel...we all need to remember there's a lot of hate out there and not be lulled into a feeling of false security.

It all just makes me so sad.

No,we are not safe but then that is true for too many millions of other human beings too, gay- strait-black-white-rich-poor-female-male. Whatever privilidge we are given by some label or other there will be someone ripping it out of our hands and throwing it in our faces with malice.

No, I am not safe but I have a secret...it doesn't matter a fig because I discovered this thing that changes, transforms and leaves THE most awful circumstance behind and that is such a small thing that it is often disregarded, degraded and despoiled more often than would seem possible for it to survive but it does because unlike many other four letter words this spells freedom. Oh yes the word...love. Which of course stands for Lesbian Overcoming Virtually Everything and when she can't there are others, THERE ARE OTHERS! and though bodies be broken and lives destroyed minds and hearts run free and no closet, cage or prison will hold love.

1) I hope your friend is okay. I'm glad that the asshole GOT CAUGHT. Like you, I'm sad.
2) It sickens me that this country, esp the current leadership of this country, can be so bombastic and self-righteous about "fighting terrorism" when women get raped, dykes get bashed, black men get beat by the police and SO ON and so on.
3) I really hope your friend is okay.

Oh fuck that. I like to think that in this day and age, and in a positive environment like PRIDE (of all places), we are safe from those sort of horrible horrible acts of violence.

I guess not yet.

Argh.

I really hope your friend is ok. That's so horrible.

I am so sorry that this kind of stuff is still happening/has ever happened. I know your friend's physical wounds will heal, I just worry about her emotional wounds. No person should have to experience that kind of irrational hatred.

A (white) guy who has his power threatened (*perceived* to be threatened) is a scary thing.

So sorry to hear about the bashings that took place. It's all so awful and incomprhensible (spelling?).

Just yesterday I was trying to explain the concept of gay marriage to my 4 yr old son. He had a hard time with the concept of two daddies/two mommies. It's a hard one to explain to such a little guy. I just tried to get across the idea that no one has the right to tell people who they can love.

Rachael.... I too hope your friend is OK.

Sending you Hugs. Things like this should never happen.

OMG, I am so sorry about your friend (and her friends). San Diego's Pride Week is coming up in July, and I'm praying it's a peaceful celebration. I'm glad the *sshole was caught and sentenced. Hugs to you and healing thoughts to your friends.

Rachael - so very sorry for your friend and all involved in that awful incident. What a sad reminder there is still so much ignorance and insecurity in our society - even in SF. Really sobering to realize he had to come seeking a confrontation. Thankfully, he was caught. My thoughts are with you and your friends.

I'm so sorry about your friend. I hope she comes through this okay. And you.

Why do people react to love with such hate?

I'm sickened, and I just don't understand these people. And I'm (maybe irrationally) afraid for so many people I love, though I guess that's not new.

I'm glad he was caught, and in SF, a place likely to prosecute him with everything they've got.

Oh, what a downer to end such a glorious day...

Oh, how awful. I'm just sickened. There is no rational reason, no reason at all, for this kind of behavior. I know, I know, perception of threat to manhood or whatever. But no one has the right... grr... what an awful way to end a lovely day.

Sigh.

So very sad.. so very sickening...

Oh, I'm so sorry. I truly hope your friends are okay. That man will die with his hatred. I'll being praying for your friends' speedy healing.

Rachael - I'm appalled and disgusted and so weary of trying to understand why people are cruel and hateful and so damned unable to let folks be who they are - love who they want - live how they please. Why is it so hard?

Prayers and love to your friends and to you, too.

so sad. so wrong.
so a reflection of how the world is going these days, don't you think. led by the Biggest Basher of All, GW.

on a completely frivolous and brighter note, i am loving the new yellow/orange colorway.

This really sucks. To think that there are people out there capable of such anger and hatred towards others - it really sickens me too.
The hard part is seeing beyond one person's rotten actions and realizing that there are many more people out there who don't suck so bad. It is important to rise above it all.
Sending good wishes to your friend and you.

I was too overwhelmed by this to comment last night. I don't even know what to say.

You and your friends are in my prayers.

It sickens me to hear about stuff like this -- it really don't get people sometimes. Give yourself a big hug from me. Just because.

Events like this are why I'm SOOOO GLAD that the "new" Conservative (Reform Alliance) Party leader Stephen Harper did not get elected Prime Minister of Canada .
This "new" Conservative party is also known as the Crap party.
The Conservative Party of Canada merged recently with the misogynistic (sp?), racist homophobic Reform Party of Canada (made up mostly white born again type bible thumpers and mainstream ultra Xtians who hide white hoods in their virtual closets).
Their offical paper work says their name is The Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party and the news papers just jumped all over that when they filed their offical papers after the two parties officialy merged...the CCRAP party...the Crap party.
Somebody's PR people where asleep at the switch !

Debbie in Ontario Canada

How awful! My heart goes out to your friends.

Rachael...i add my voice to all the others to send light and love, and HOPE to your friends and to your hurting self, too. People who act from fear and violence, for all the damage they do, also give us at least one very great gift.. that is to push us even further into resolve, determination and belief in love overcoming fear...Daisy-Winifred is right, it can happen anywhere but the point is that there are more of us (people of good heart, that is) than there are of them... it's hard to see when you're hurting and yet it is still true. Time was the crime would have gone unpunished, just for one example of that. Anyway, I send you hugs and healing and to your friends.

Oh my god, that is just horrible. I can't believe that in 2004, in San Francisco forgodssake, that this type of thing still happens. Not that it's okay anywhere, ever, but you would think that SF would be one of the last places to hear news like that. I hope your friend is ok, and I'm glad the guy was caught. I hope karma gets him good.

Pardon my French, but WHAT AN ASSHOLE! I don't know the penalty for a first time offense (if it IS a first time...guys like that usually have a record a mile long), but I hope he gets jail-time. Blessings on your friends, I hope they are both ok.

I am so sorry for your friend - that guy deserves to rot in prison! My husband and I went to the Pride March here in NYC. A man had been bashed a couple a days earlier, but the march seemed pretty joyous and peaceful. The most humbling moment of the day for me happened when we were walking home, and a car full of women heading home shouted to us, "Happy Pride! Thank you for coming!" It made me sad that a hetero couple celebrating Pride was notable at all. When I went to work on Monday (I'm a public school teacher), and shared with my colleagues how much fun we'd had, I heard over and over again, "My husband/boyfriend wouldn't ever go to something like that." These women are educators, for fuck's sake! Sometimes it's the least notable acts of fear that make me most embarrassed to be lumped in with the larger hetero community.

That's completely disgusting! I can't believe that happens. I hope your friend is doing better.

I remember in high school I used to have to walk one of my gay friends to the bus because he was less likely to get beat up if he was with a woman. nice, eh?

BTW- I second everything Debbie says about the CRAP party. I wanted to vote for the OLD conservative party - not this thinly disguised Reform party.

There are tears in my eyes and I don't even know what to write. It makes me feel so helpless. And the thing that makes me really furious is that we are not in the wrong. This was a violent crime perpetrated on an innocent woman. A woman guilty only of openly being who she is. What kind of crazy world do we live in that people feel threatened by who other people love? I just don't get that. Love is hard enough to come by. When you find someone you can share that with you should celebrate it, dance in the streets, sing at the tops of your lungs! Love, not shame. That's what Pride means to me. Love of yourself, love of your chosen partner, love of life and all its possibilities. Prayers to your friend for the recovery of her body and spirit.

It is always sad and sickening when ignorance crops it's evil little head. I am so sorry that anyone in this supposedly "enlightened" day and age was the victim of hate crime for simply being. It just brings it home how far we still have to go. Good thoughts and love to you, your friend and everybody else affected by this horrible act.

I am so sorry to hear about what happened. How awful!!! Please know that not everyone who agrees with your lifestyle would EVER condone such hatred. Jesus said to love one another, NOT hate one another. That idiot-jerk is in a tiny minority of conservatives, believe you me. Unless I'm crazy, but I don't know anyone in my circle of friends who would ever do such a thing. May God bless you all, and I hope everyone heals quickly.

Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you for your eloquence in this post. I teared up reading your description of what Pride is all about. Breathtaking.

You got my number, iff'n you need it.

as amazing and inspirational and fun and loving as joyful and supportive and kind as people may be, there are some that are just plain old stupid and mean and ignorant. I'm so sorry that your friend met up with one of the stupid and ignorant ones and I hope more of the kind and supportive ones will find her and help her mend.xomj

Oh my god, what a horrible thing. I'm so sorry that this happened to anyone, never mind friends of yours, and I really hope she's OK. I am horrified at hate crimes but then I think, I hate that bastard who did this and would love to get a punch at him myself.

I know it's already been said, but I hope your friends are alright, such an attack, for any reason, is unforgivable, be the reasoning skin color, sexual orientation, etc.

Let your friends know we send our love and support.

I've never understood why some idiots have to resort to violence to try to get their point across. I mean, okay, this guy obviously had a problem with homosexuality. But even if you're an intolerant jerk who doesn't think it's acceptable, that doesn't mean you need to beat up women over it! Why can't those who disapprove just keep their fists to themselves?!!!

i am so sorry too- i hope your friends are all right. no one should ever have to feel that fear.

hugs to everyone -

How horrible. Thanks for sharing this in such an eloquent and moving way. You and your friends are in my thoughts and prayers...sending happy vibes and hugs your way.

I know i'm late to the commenting,

but hugs. Any act of bashing is an act against the whole community. We all feel it.

Also late, and new to this blog -- but hugs and support to you and the women who were attacked, and seething anger to the shit who did it. I don't have words foul enough to describe that beast who attacked them!

*sending good thoughts your way*

(And I _loved_ your article in Knitty!)

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.

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