Anti-Gay NY Senator Diaz to Have Presence at AIDS Walk, in Drag


Activist group Queer Rising is reacting to New York Senator Ruben Diaz's plans to hold an anti-gay marriage march in the Bronx on Sunday, the same day as the New York AIDS Walk by holding a protest along the AIDS walk route.

The group writes, in a press release:

Queer Rising is inviting AIDS Walkers and passerbyers to stop by “Ruben's Drag Race" at Riverside Drive and West 95th Street to send Senator Diaz a message: HIV must end; the hatred must end; the violence must end; the bullying must end; the teen suicides must end. “There is no place in New York City for the kind of display he has organized and New Yorkers repudiate his divisive agenda of hate.”

Queer Rising will have a large cut-out Ruben Diaz figure replete with “fabulous costume changes” that people will have the opportunity to take photos with at the AIDS Walk for $1.00. All proceeds of will be donated directly to GMHC, with suggested directing of funding to HIV/AIDS work specifically in the Bronx.

“If Senator Diaz cannot be bothered to advocate on his constituents' behalf, we will have to work to make up the difference and let them know that they are not abandoned,” said Goodman.

Photos will be available on a Queer Rising Tumblr page.


  1. jamal49 says

    Baaaaad idea. If we’re going to protest this bigot and his supporters, does it have to be with such foolishness?

    Yeah, sure. Let’s confirm every worst fear that the people on his side of the fence has about us.

    Worse, let’s do it in a way that will alienate instead of educate.

    Here is a chance to make a mature, adult statement about our lack of civil equality and the consequences of Diaz’ hateful bigotry.

    We could show up at their rally, shake hands and introduce ourselves as human beings, as fellow citizens, as a diverse community who actually have more in common with our supposed adversaries than they might realize.

    We could carry placards showing photos of ourselves with our mates or our families.

    But no. We’ll have a silly cut-out of Diaz In Drag and other, unnecessary nonsense.

    If we are ever going to win over our “enemies”, we’ve got to start talking to them and stop treating them like ignorant yahoos. How many of them are firm in their religious convictions but have never really been presented with a thoughtful, reasoned opposing point-of-view?

    How many of those who will attend Diaz’ rally on Saturday have a gay or lesbian relative or neighbor or friend? How could we use that fact to convey just how important civil equality is for all God’s children?

    So, yeah. Let’s show up and stir up a fuss. Then, let’s watch marriage equality go down in flames yet again.

  2. Rob says

    Sorry, the first sentence of the post was confusing. I had to read it a few times. Seems like it needs a comma or clarification of the clause or subject of the sentence. Sorry.

  3. Jamie says

    I agree with jamal49. We can not stoop to his level. I would also not want to be pictured next to a cardboard cut out of him, in or out of drag.

  4. Disgusted Gay American says

    while I understand what Jamal49 is saying…and I dont have the Solution, BUT – the Time for Being Nice is OVER…WAY OVER!!!!!!! Im 50…how long do I have to wait for equality….or will it never happen in my lifetime???

  5. Tom says

    I don’t get why we are putting something out there that says “dressing a guy up like a girl” is something to be laughed at. How is this any different from all the commercials, TV shows and movies where we get all outraged when a man in a dress is seen as a punchline?

    I’m not transgender, but I think some may see this as a transphobic action.

  6. Clarkt67 says

    I’m sorry Jamal49, but you don’t get it.

    This is mockery of a fool, no different than people have successfully done many times against Fred Phelps. The goofy protests of Phelps win over people by showing good humor and lowering the tenor from angry confrontation to humor. And have successfully made Phelps look even more foolish and stupid.

    There’s a time and place for serious engagement with reluctant people, I absolutely agree. But if you imagine that Sen. Diaz or his fans are in the “enemies we can win over” camp, you are hopelessly naive about the local politics of New York State.

    Ruben Diaz is no more in the “enemies we can win over” camp than Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson or John Boehner. Some people should just deserved to be mocked.

  7. castaway says

    @Jamal49, also agreed. Why mock part of our own group? QR’s idea needs some more thought put into it. Lot’s more thought. It’s not too late to change it to something else with a clearer message.

    We probably can’t win over Diaz, but perhaps some others in the group. Shake hands and talk to people. Ask them how it feels to be a minority themselves.

    Maybe it also wouldn’t hurt to make them a little uncomfortable and photograph or video each and every one of them. Tell them it’s for future generations to see that their parents and grandparents marched on the wrong side of history.

  8. says

    Somebody please make Queer Rising go away! Nobody embarrasses the Gay Rights movement like this group does with its incessant media whoring and imbecilic fringe strategies. Buy the members off with money . . . sex . . . jobs . . . candy . . . any damn thing!

  9. Sugah says

    @ Stuffed Animal:

    You ain’t never lied, sugah. I felt disrespected four or five different ways … And I suspect a good many Gay men would say the same thing!

  10. Jake Goodman says

    Hi Everybody,

    My name is Jake Goodman and I am a member of Queer Rising. I’ve read through the comments here and just want to explain a little about our thinking when planning this action. (And be sure, we did think this through quite a lot and sought out many opinions.)

    Queer Rising has a long history of confronting Ruben Diaz’s bigotry. As much as our time and resources allow us, we try to interrupt bigotry wherever we see it and Rev. Diaz is often its source. At the precise time when the marriage vote is returning to the NYS government and we do not yet have the votes secured to get marriage equality, we did not feel that we had the option to let this march go unnoticed, especially when he is busing in so many people.

    More importantly, however, is the fact that he chose to organize his march on the same day as New York’s AIDS Walk, to try to steal headlines and detract from the event. AIDS is still very much a problem, particularly in the Bronx. The fact that he chose this date is particularly insulting and horrific.

    SO, our dilemma was: how do we confront Diaz but not detract from the AIDS Walk? Ultimately, we decided that we did not want to go up to the Bronx because, again, we wanted to be at the AIDS Walk. We did not want our showdown to be the news story.

    Instead, we decided that we would ridicule him and transform his bigotry into donations to GMHC. This is something that we can repeat. It is fun. It does not make his rally bigger than it has to be. It informs people about what he is doing. It is even informing people about the AIDS Walk.

    To be clear, our goal is not to win over Diaz. We do not think that is possible and our tactics are in no way attempting to do that. We want to neutralize him and show that our community has teeth. We will not stand idly by when attacked. We have dignity.

    Also, to be clear, we are not only dressing up Diaz “as a girl.” In our planning, we were very clear that some of the costumes will be gender neutral. Queer Rising is very sensitive to transgender/gender issues, as they are inseparable, indeed part of, queer issues. Our mission is to demand full equality for all queer people through nonviolent direct action.

    I understand that not all will agree, but I did want to share our perspective.

  11. lookyloo says

    “Dressing” him like a girl implies that men who dress as woman are bad and ridiculous. A trans/gay group just scolded Sprint for their ad having a burly man in a polkadot dress.

    Mocking him by implying he’s trans or a cross-dresser, or even a drag-queen is kinda a bash against those groups, yes?

    I’d also check with an African-American group before you plan on dressing him like a pimp. Because, if you remember, people cried “racism” when someone photoshopped Obama as a pimp.

  12. says

    I am writing from Artspromo.Org for your contact email. We would like to send you an email regarding our work with AIDS non-profit Red Hot Organization. The email that we will send you will include a free music download and information about the new Red Hot + Rio 2 album coming out.

    Thank you, Jaimé Campbell Morton
    ** *Phone 413-259-1111 *Fax 775-908-5785

    Present & Past projects Rde Hot + Rio 2: The Chiara String Quartet, Time for Three, Mark O’Connor, Cindy Blackman (Drummer, Lenny Kravitz), Matt Haimovitz, David Knopfler (of Dire Straits), Tenor Nathan Granner, Eroica Trio, Wallace Roney, Emerson String Quartet, Beethoven’s Wig, The Ben Taylor Band, Richie Havens, Jonathan Fishman (Phish), Dar Williams, Cathy Fink/Marcy Marxer, Simone Dinnerstein, Tingstad & Rumbel, Imani Winds, 5 Browns, Anne Akiko Meyers, E1 Entertainment & many more.

  13. says

    “Instead, we decided that we would ridicule him and transform his bigotry into donations to GMHC. This is something that we can repeat. It is fun.” – Jake Goodman Queer Rising

    Jake I am Kelli Anne Busey author of planetransgender. I have been in conversation with Natasha Dillion about this in response to my blog post and tweets.

    You are not trying to win over Diaz. You seek to humiliate him. Dehumanize him. Hurt him. You are planing to do that using a component of transgender expression, drag.

    When I asked Natasha why your group has no history of transgender advocacy she told me ‘we don’t have any transgender members to suggest transgender actions so we could consider them’

    So let me get this straight.

    A gay rights organization is planning to humiliate a opponent of gay rights using transgender expression to defame him.

    OMG WTF? Who the heck do you think you are? USE A NAKED GAY MAN’S CUTOUT NEXT TO Senator Diaz’s cutout. We all know that would piss him off. But no you will no do that because it would lessen the gay experience. Not something I advocate for but since you are a GAY advocacy group why don’t you just do that?