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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 1, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 26
HRC store in D.C. vandalized, 'Rowdy Queers' claim responsibility
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HRC store in D.C. vandalized, 'Rowdy Queers' claim responsibility

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Washington, D.C.'s Dupont Circle HRC store was vandalized early in the morning of June 29 by a group of self-described 'Rowdy Queers' claiming to be paying homage to the Stonewall riots.

According to the Washington Blade, the damage was 'mostly cosmetic' - pink paint splattered on the windows of the store, and the word 'Stonewall' spray-painted on the sidewalk immediately in front.

Michael Cole-Schwartz, director of communications for the Human Rights Campaign, called the vandalism 'unfortunate.'

'HRC's D.C. Action Center and Store was vandalized last night with paint on the front windows and an LGBT group has claimed responsibility for the crime,' he said.

'It's unfortunate that after a marriage win in New York that represented an unprecedented coming together of LGBT groups, some are more interested in fostering division in the community.'

A group calling itself 'The Right Honorable Wicked Stepmothers' Traveling, Drinking, and Debating Society and Men's Auxiliary,' claimed responsibility for the action.

The group issued a manifesto 'in the wee hours of June 29, 2011,' calling the HRC store 'a god-awful monstrosity.'

In their statement, the group criticized HRC as part of the 'Gay Non-Profit Industrial Complex.'

'Put simply,' the group said, 'they suck. What do they suck? Cash. Lots of it.'

'What have we gotten out of this bloated carcass? Not a thing worth mentioning, and every now and then, they eagerly sell Trans people up the river. Seriously, this is an organization that hoardes money and does nothing useful. It's a sad, sick dinosaur.'

'We know you mean well,' the group continued, 'but stop giving these idiots your money. Stop putting that equal sticker on your car. Stop going to their lame galas.'

The group also criticized the It Gets Better Project.

According to their statement, the group chose to attack the HRC store on June 29 to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

'The modern LGBT movement owes its success to three days of smashing, burning, punching, and kicking - all of it happily indiscriminate - and the confrontational tactics of groups like ACT-UP that followed in the decades since. Yet, somehow we've forgotten our riotous roots,' they said.

Reaction to the vandalism was curiously muted, with even the HRC itself failing to express outrage.

The Bilerico Project, which has often been hostile to the HRC, posted an equivocal criticism.

'The arguments of the group behind the vandalism are not entirely off base, but they are easily dismissed when combined with such unnecessary behavior,' Bilerico's Adam Polaski wrote on June 29.

Even the San Diego LGBT Times, in condemning the vandalism, was more outraged by Bilerico's lack of outrage than by the action itself.

'It is this type of drivel in the blogosphere and beyond that causes these so-called activists to perform criminal acts against our community's most politically influential organization,' the LGBT Times wrote in an editorial.

'What is the most concerning is the lack of outrage by many in our community - those who are complicit in the vandalism by not repudiating the act.'

This is not the first time HRC has been targeted by leftist groups within the LGBT community. On October 12, 2009 - the day after the National Equality March in Washington, D.C. - the HRC headquarters was vandalized with pink and black paint and glitter.

The group Bash Back claimed responsibility for that act, which they called 'glamdalism.'

'The HRC is not a democratic or inclusive institution,' Bash Back said in 2009, 'especially for the people who they claim to represent. Just like society today, the HRC is run by a few wealthy elites who are in bed with corporate sponsors who proliferate militarism, heteronormativity, and capitalist exploitation.'

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