This week read about two senators introducing a resolution that would lead the Senate to apologize for LGBT discrimination, and activists demanding closure of a gay D.C. bar after a Black woman was dragged down a flight of stairs by security.

Senate to Consider Apologizing for Decades of LGBT Discrimination

Two senators have introduced a resolution that would lead to a formal apology from the Senate over decades of discrimination against LGBT individuals who served in the Armed Forces, the Foreign Service, and the Federal Civil Service.

Introduced by Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who is lesbian, and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, the resolution is based on a 28-page document by The Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., which details the ways in which the federal government caused “untold harm to those individuals professionally, financially, socially, and medically, among other harms” for over seven decades.

The resolution accounts for the effects of government-sanctioned acts like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the Defense of Marriage Act, and Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s Lavender Scare, which the report says encouraging discrimination against LGBT individuals in both the federal government and the private sector. The Senate has apologized to marginalized groups for its actions before, including the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the genocide of Native Americans, and the upholding of slavery and lynchings against African Americans.

Kaine said in a statement, “It’s time to acknowledge the harm caused to these Americans, their families, and our country by depriving them of the right to serve as federal civil servants, diplomats, or in the Armed Services.”

Local Activists Seek Permanent Closure of D.C. Gay Bar

Nellies

Photo by Ted Eytan, Flickr.

More than 100 protesters gathered outside a popular D.C. gay bar last Friday, calling for a boycott of the space after videos surfaced of a Black woman at the venue being dragged down a flight of steps by security personnel.

Nellie’s Sports Bar closed for a week in response to the incident and issued a public apology, but local organizations Harriet’s Dream and the DC Ward 1 Mutual Aid have come together to issue a series of demands for the bar, including a direct apology from bar owner Douglas Schantz, followed by the staff and owner’s attendance at a community listening session, and the perpetual closing down of the bar to make room for “a Black trans and queer-led safe space in its place.”

In 2018, Nellie’s drew criticism for flying the “thin blue line” flag, a symbol used by groups to show opposition to the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Collective Action for Safe Spaces Co-Chair Preston Mitchum told the Georgetown Voice, “Nellie’s has been taking Black dollars from Black people for years without investing in Black communities, without investing in Black people, without caring about our bodies and our humanity.”

While still waiting for the bar to reach out to her directly, 22-year-old Keisha Young said she is pursuing legal action against the bar and told the DCist, “The public didn’t really get dragged down the stairs. I did. The public doesn’t have bruises. I do.”


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