WASHINGTON — The Dupont Circle Human Rights Campaign store was vandalized last night by a group claiming to be paying homage to the Stonewall Riots.
The group, which called themselves “The Right Honorable Wicked Stepmothers’ Traveling, Drinking and Debating Society and Men’s Auxiliary,” claims to have “poured pink paint into light bulbs, grabbed hammers,” before vandalizing the store, which according to HRC offers “a unique fusing of education and grassroots advocacy with HRC’s signature merchandise.”
All damage appears to be mostly cosmetic, with paint splatters visible on the windows of the store, and the word “Stonewall” spray-painted on the sidewalk immediately in front of the store.
Michael Cole-Schwartz, Director of Communications for the Human Rights Campaign, said in response to the vandalism, “HRC’s DC Action Center and Store was vandalized last night with paint on the front windows and an LGBT group has claimed responsibility for the crime. 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.”
The full text of the offending group’s press release is bellow:
ROWDY QUEERS TRASH AND GLAMDALIZE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN GIFT SHOP IN WASHINGTON, DC ON THE 42nd ANNIVERSARY OF THE STONEWALL RIOTSThe word Stonewall painted on the sidewalk in front of the HRC store. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)
(In the wee hours of June 29, 2011)
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) gift shop in Dupont Circle in Washington, DC is a god awful monstrosity. We were in there yesterday and between wiping our genitals on the clothing and discovering that the snow globes wouldn’t properly fit up our bums, we got to thinking:
“This place would look great with a bit of shattered glass and splattered paint.”
So we strapped on our riot chaps, poured pink paint into light bulbs, grabbed hammers, and went party party party! all over that tacky testament to the transformation of radical queer liberation into consumer junk.
We’ve got good reason. This week marks the 42nd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
On the night of June 28, 1969, New York City’s Public Morals Squad did a routine raid of an East Village gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. Everything was going fine until, in the midst of the standard genital check that police forced on draq queens, a lesbian beaned a cop straight in the head with a ripped-up parking meter. And so queer liberation was born.
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.
Gay Pride, for example, wasn’t always a suburban county fair with less fanny packs and lined with banks and politicians. The first Pride was the 1970 Christopher Street Liberation Day march, a celebration of the riots the year before (and to this day, Pride festivals the world over are celebrated in June).
But we’ve been snorting ritalin and drinking whiskey all night and this manifesto tomfoolery is wearing us down so let’s bring it home, shall we?
Why, you’re asking, did we specifically target the HRC, a massive national gay rights non-profit as opposed to vomiting urine on Rick Santorum or something equally fun?
Put simply, they suck. What do they suck? Cash. Lots of it.
The HRC rakes in something approaching 50 million dollars a year in revenue–their executive director, Joe Salmonellamayonaisemanese pulls in a salary of several hundred grand. 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 hordes money and does nothing useful. It’s a sad, sick dinosaur.
Meanwhile, in Washington, DC violence against the LGBT community is on the rise; DC’s only LGBT center is forced to go hat in hand to real estate developers and beg for space, only to face eviction a few years down the road; We lack a homeless shelter for queer youth and services for our community are the victims of budget cuts. Can you think of something better to do with a few million dollars?
(Did you know that 50 million dollars can buy about 300 thousand pounds of glitter?)
Everyone: We know you mean well, but stop giving these idiots your money. Stop putting that equal sticker on your car. Stop going to their lame galas. And for the love of Judy Garland’s Ghost and Robert Mapplethorpe’s Zombie Bones, stop saying “It Gets Better” and hoping for a miracle from up on high. We don’t expect you to riot (although we swear you’ll love it once you get going!) but it’s time for us to quit with the passivity, move to action, build community and care for each other instead of hoping the Gay Non-Profit Industrial Complex will ever get anything done.
THE RIGHT HONORABLE WICKED STEPMOTHERS’ TRAVELING, DRINKING AND DEBATING SOCIETY AND MEN’S AUXILIARY
The group posted a copy of their press release here.