Atlanta Police Raids Atlanta Eagle

16 09 2009

Last Thursday, the Atlanta Police Department decided to stage a raid on the Atlanta Eagle. For those not in the know, the Eagle is a leather bar in Atlanta. While I haven’t been to it, Eagles are usually nice places (all independently owned) for those interested in Leather Men or the like to hang out. I was disturbed to read that the Eagle was raided on Thursday. A great writeup by the Atlanta Progressive News was written by someone who was there.

The present writer for Atlanta Progressive News–who had come to the bar to dance–witnessed as several bar staff and male dancers were arrested between approximately 12:30am and 1am and taken away in paddy wagons, but it is not immediately clear why. One source stated he believed it was because the bar did not have a license for the dancers. (CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated patrons had been arrested; no patrons were arrested).
About ten police cars and about 15 cops raided the bar, allegedly looking for drugs.
However, the police were said to have ordered all patrons to get on the ground–including patrons who were just dancing or standing at the bar–and numerous patrons said people were handcuffed indiscriminately.
Bar patrons were furious at the aggressive and indiscriminate treatment and called the incident “harassment.”

(There are a lot of details in the article that I would recommend that you read.) Politicians running for mayor have criticized the raid. And the NCSF has condemned the raid.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
NCSF Condemns the Atlanta Police Department’s Raid on the Eagle
September 15, 2009 – On September 10th, the Atlanta Eagle was raided by local police who used excessive force and voiced anti-gay slurs while handcuffing 62 patrons and 8 employees, forcing them to lie face- down on the floor for over an hour. The strong use of force included the presence of the “Red Dog unit” which typically deals with crimes such as gang violence.
Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington held a press conference yesterday afternoon stating that the gay leather bar was raided because of anonymous complaints that came through the mayor’s office. One undercover officer stated in a September 11th report following the raid that it was the “conclusion of a several week investigation involving indecency and the club was providing adult entertainment without the proper permits to do so.”
“It’s a clear violation of the civil rights of those who were detained without cause,” says Susan Wright, NCSF Spokesperson. “Instead of making an arrest at the time of the alleged offense, the Atlanta vice squad spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer’s money to raid the gay leather bar and persecute Atlanta citizens.”
NCSF demands a full probe into the alleged misconduct and the allocation of resources by the Atlanta police department. NCSF also joins state and local representatives in urging anyone present the night of the arrests to step forward and file a formal complaint. Please contact NCSF for additional assistance to ensure that this matter is investigated in an open process.
A rally on Sunday at the Eagle drew a large presence in support of the victims by the LGBT community. Another rally is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2009.

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF)
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is committed to creating a political, legal, and social environment in the United States that advances the equal rights of consenting adults who practice forms of alternative sexual and relationship expression. NCSF advances the rights and advocates for consenting adults in the SM-Leather-Fetish, swing, and polyamory communities. We pursue our vision through direct services, education, advocacy, and outreach in conjunction with our partner organizations to directly benefit these communities.
National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (917) 848-6544

Personally, I am horrified that this kind of thing goes on. If you actually live in Atlanta, I would suggest that you contact your city government and let them know how you feel.

There was a protest in Atlanta this past Sunday, I wish I lived close enough so that attending the protest would have practical for me. Hundreds showed up. That is a good start. The inquiry is expected to last until at least December or January. I only hope that this doesn’t get brushed under the rug in the mean time.

Let me know what you think, in the comments.


Where are the Het BDSM Bars?

21 08 2008

I ran across this article in the New York Blade Online, discussing the leather subculture.  I found an interesting part where it speaks about why there are no Het Leather Bars.

Why has the leather scene long been considered a sub-culture of the gay community? In every large city gay men in their leather regalia can be seen heading towards the local Eagle or Ramrod. Because there are no equivalent heterosexual leather bars (although there have been underground S/M clubs), people have come to the erroneous conclusion that the leather scene is strictly a gay phenomenon. Nothing could be further from the truth. For instance, The Eulenspiegel Society (TES) is a New York-based S/M group that caters largely to straights.

“Since there are other groups in NYC dedicated to gay males and lesbians, TES tends to get bisexuals and heterosexuals as members,” said Susan Wright of TES. (Wright is also a spokesperson for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.) “It’s true that there are more gay leather bars,” she said. “There aren’t any het BDSM [bondage and S/M] bars because you can’t play in the same space as liquor is sold. BDSM clubs that allow playing are non-alcoholic, and these clubs cater to gays as well as hets and bi’s on different nights under different promoters. Gay men don’t play in the leather bars—they go there to meet other gay men. Very similar are the many swing clubs around the U.S. that meet at bars where the members socialize, and then if they want to play they leave to go to another location.”

This makes perfect sense to me.  Let me know what you think, in the comments.


“Cruising” Released to DVD

21 03 2008

I was at a local BDSM club a few months back during a special presentation of pictures take at the Mine Shaft, a gay leather club in the famous meatpacking district of New York. (OK It was actually a year ago last February, I had to look it up.) He started it off by showing a clip of this film that was actually shot in the club, featuring real patrons of the club and scene. This film which takes a peak into the leather lifestyle at the time before AIDs has finally been released on DVD. You can find a review of it here and the IMDB info here.

From the review:

The film stars Al Pacino as a cop who goes undercover in the New York leather bar scene in order to solve a series of murders and ends up, well, becoming a little sexually confused.

Its director, William Friedkin, had already produced one of the seminal gay films of the ’70s with ‘The Boys in the Band’, but here he was dealing with a gay world where people didn’t just go to have drinks and polite chats; it was overtly, defiantly sexual. That was liberating in the mid-’80s as Britain definitely looked to America as a kind of paradise for gays, especially places like New York and San Francisco.

‘Cruising’ is carefully constructed and Friedkin visited some notorious clubs to do his research. Also, a lot of the people in the film are real gays, so in some ways it does have an authentic feel, similar to his previous ‘The French Connection’ (1971). It almost works as
a nostalgic look back to the golden age of pre-Aids New York, but there are a few too many muscle men dressed in PVC police uniforms and licking their truncheons in the background.

It is an interesting movie, and a part of our culture and history in the Lifestyle.


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