Fort Worth Mayor Apologizes for Gay Bar Raid at City Council Meeting

The Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission and the Fort Worth Police Department raid of the Rainbow Lounge late last month was the centerpiece of an emotional Fort Worth City Council meeting attended by 500 people last night during which the mayor apologized and several activists were led out after interrupting the proceedings.

The Houston Chronicle reports:Moncrief

"[Mayor Mike] Moncrief
told the meeting neither the TABC nor police had finished
investigations into the raid, which initially had been called a routine
license inspection. But the mayor said he has asked the U.S. Attorney's
Office to review the department's findings. Someone in the audience then called out for an apology. 'If
you want an apology from the mayor of Fort Worth: I am sorry about what
happened in Fort Worth,' Moncrief said, as the crowd erupted in
applause and stood."

Seven members of the Dallas-area activist group Queer LiberAction were escorted from the meeting after demanding the Rainbow Lounge incident be moved up on the meeting's agenda, reports the Star-Telegram:

"'Hear us now! Hear us now!' five men chanted in a hallway outside
City Council chambers. The men, believed to be members of Queer
LiberAction, a Dallas-based gay rights group, were led out of the
building by city marshals. Inside the meeting, the group's founder, Blake Wilkinson, repeatedly interrupted Mayor Mike Moncrief. 'We're sick and tired of being put on the last of the list,' Wilkinson said. Moncrief,
at one point banging his gavel to try to regain order, attempted to
explain the 'house rules' to Wilkinson, stating that the agenda would
not be changed but that everyone who wished to speak would be heard."

Additionally, Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead has named "an interim liaison to the GLBT community.": "

Officer Sara Straten, a 17-year police veteran, will fill the role
by attending meetings, events, and various GLBT functions and report to
the chief. Meanwhile, the police department will search for possible funding
for a full-time position at which time Chief Halstead will seek input
from various community leaders to ensure their involvement in the
selection process."


  1. Brian says

    Please don’t include Queer Liberaction as part of the gay community in Dallas-Fort Worth. Most of us are embarrassed by their behavior.

    We appreciate the Mayor’s comments and soon we will learn more.

  2. Wayne says

    I live in Dallas and Queer Liberaction is NOT part of our community. They are a fringe (at best) gathering of psychos along the lines of the Westboro Baptist Church, except they claim to represent the gay community. The local news here is ONLY carrying the story of them being arrested and carried (yes, carried) out of the meeting. There wasn’t a single mention of the mayor’s apology because this group made themselves the news.

  3. John M says

    So are we just going to completely ignore the fact that Jeff Halstead said the guy deserved to have his head cracked open and lied about the circumstances of the raid at the beginning?

    Why isn’t the major publicly admonishing his behavior and calling for consequences?

  4. says

    I don’t know anyone in Queer LiberAction, and they might be a fringe group with a little bit of the crazy. But in this instance, they seem to be doing a good job in expressing the outrage that all of us, particularly those who live in the DFW area, should be feeling. I think it’s refreshing to see GLBT folks out there who are willing to make things uncomfortable sometimes in an effort to get things done. Nice, polite words spoken in a breathy yoga-teacher voice have never worked by themselves as a catalyst for action. We need everyone… the calm conservative Brooks Brothers types as well as the loud, angry, pissed off ActUp types. The mayor’s apology was tepid at best considering the assault and injury that was perpetrated by those who are sworn to protect and serve the entire community, so I’d much rather see the media portraying our community as so seriously pissed off that we’re willing to be carried out of the city council meeting. Frankly, what happened in Ft. Worth deserves a little bit of psycho screaming.

  5. Willie says

    Brian and Wayne … since when do you get to declare who is and who is not part of the gay community???

  6. Brian says


    Read the comments about Queer Liberaction – it’s clear that everyone, except the dozen or so in Queer Liberaction, see them as part of the DFW Gay Community.

    Most of us just rolled our eyes when they were mentioned. Then, we expressed our opinions that they should “go away.” Finally, they have made themselves a laughing stock.

    The end.

  7. says

    Those people at whom you roll your eyes are the ones who are fighting for your rights. You might not think they’re using particularly polite tactics, but their hearts are in the right place. I’m sure that you and your friends are doing your part in your own way, right? You’ve written or called your city/state representatives? Did you go to the city council meeting? I hope so. It takes all kinds… so don’t be hatin’ on people who are fighting for your side. Those “freaks” are the ones who started it all, and maybe we should all act like we fucking know it.

  8. Wayne says

    Milkman, these guys are not fighting for our side. They are fighting for attention and television air time, nothing else. The only time they make news is when they get arrested or create problems. They haven’t done anything to aid our community, our causes or our rights. In fact, they’ve gone a long way to weaken our cause in Texas. I not only write to my city, county and state representatives but also volunteer my time and money locally and in our state Capitol. These people do not represent me. If you want them, you are welcome to them. I hope you’re not one of these people that believe everything you hear simply because the word “gay” is used to describe it. Just because they are gay doesn’t make them right. These people are bad news for my community and my personal rights.

  9. says

    Wayne, I assume you’ve spent some time with them in order to be able to make those assessments about their objectives. I can’t imagine that they are simply out for attention and TV air time, but I’ll defer to your experience with them. Were there any GLBT representatives speaking at this meeting who were more palatable? If these folks were the only people expressing the righteous outrage that should certainly be loudly expressed, then that would certainly concern me.

    However, I hesitate to condemn those GLBT activists whose protests are loud or obnoxious. Sometimes that’s the only way to be heard, and the only way to show just how wrong the instigating action was. Remember Stonewall… those folks were some pissed off drag queens, and they fought dirty. Thank God for them.

    Good for you for volunteering time and money, and for being an active participant in the political process. More people should follow that example.

  10. MB says

    The sad fact of the matter is that the country at large probably doesn’t understand that Fort Worth and Dallas are night and day from one another. Dallas has an established and proactive gay community and Fort Worth does not. There is no gay neighborhood, there is no gay community center, and there is no gay spokesperson for the city.

    The city has made some progress, adding sexual orientation to their anti-discrimination laws, yet there is a lot of work to be done. But…it needs to be done by the actual people living here!

    These people who are protesting what happened here…some of them don’t even live here! While I appreciate our brothers and sisters from Dallas coming to add their voice, the fact remains that THEY DON’T LIVE HERE. They get to go back to their gay bungalo while we have to live with the people we just pissed off.

    Until the investigations are complete and whether the public is satisfied with the outcome, all this crying and moaning for answers is plain silly. It’s even more silly because the people doing all the screaming and yelling are imported rent-a-protesters. They certainly don’t speak for me, my 10 year partner, or the people I associate with.

    Let’s all keep in mind that while the Rainbow Lounge is new, the place is not. The place has had at least four different owners and names in the last 10 years and is located in one of the worst areas of the Downtown area. It’s not in an affluent part of town, it’s not a place that caters to many of the gay people living in the city, and it certainly isn’t innocent of wrongdoing. I applaud someone trying to revive it again, but until we have a real community in this city, this kind of thing won’t stop.

    Lastly, before someone acuses me of being a self-hating homo, let me say that I’m probably a hell of a lot braver than some of you because I choose to live in a city that’s not very open about gays in an interracial relationship and hold my head up high. That means I am living what I want people to see, not screaming for them to accept me.

  11. Brian says

    Queer Liberaction has decided to dis-band. They will cease operations. I wish they would also apologize. But, i’m not going to “demand” that.