I want to be clear about the story we are telling. We were not allowed into Lincoln Hall because we used the word “racist” to the bouncer and that made two white men uncomfortable, intimidated, angry, spiteful and refused to accept the term deemed for a racist. In order for me to break down the details and speak truth to what happened on Saturday I must break it down to its core.
Me, my girlfriend and her best friend (all young queer Latin@s, two undocumented) all went to Lincoln Hall for One Queer Roof. We attend FKA, Chances, and Queerer Park regularly, and have never had an experience that made us feel unsafe at Big Chicks, The Hideout, or Beauty Bar.
At the door of Lincoln Hall was a white straight man, who asked us for ID. My gf and our friend gave him their valid government IDs from the Mexican Consulate. When he saw the IDs of my gf and her friend he leaned forward into my friends wallet and ask for any other types of identification, when my friend said he only had his matricula and school id the bouncer than continued to question the two of them… heavily. He asks for birth dates, spelling of names, and continued to have a harder tone after every one of their answers. Finally after my gf shined their ids in the light so that he can see the official seal of a consulate ID he reluctantly gave the cards back and nodded us off. As we walked away from him to each other we said “Thats so fucking racist.”
At that point the bouncer became enraged, called us back, made the man stamping give us our money back, he called his manager to come down. He kept us cornered in the hallway and we were not allowed to enter the venue or leave. When the manager came, who was another white man the two of them literally had us against the wall. I need to repeat this part, because it is crucial. The three of us were cornered by these two white men, and they began interrogating us all over again. Two women trying to get into the event asked for permission to stay and observe what was going on, and we were grateful to have witnesses. The bouncer told his manager that we used the word racist. The manager asked me if that was, if we called him racist. I said yes, he’s profiling of ID’s and belief of what IDs to trust and distrust were RACIST.
The manager then continue to say the following statement that I can quote him to because it left me in disbelief. He said, “You just forfeited your entry into our establishment by saying that, that is a loaded word. You just forfeited your entry into the whole event tonight. You need to watch out what you say and not just throw those words around.”
Through our rage we yelled our question at him, to make sure we heard him correct. We said, “Wait we can’t come in because we called you racist?!”
The manager said, “Yes.”
At this point I screamed, “Why because we called you out on your shit!?”
And we walked out, stormed out, yelled at all the other queers in line who wanted to know what happened, and as we tried to tell them, we were met with apathetic gazes and insincere apologies. “Man, that sucks.” And thats when it dawned on us that the line was all white queers waiting to get in who really just want to dance and drink anyway and definitely not wanting to be reminded that their privilege is at the expense of someone elses.
And as we tried to rally support, solidarity and love from our supposed “community” online, we mainly just heard disbelief in our experience, attention to unimportant details, and anger at even speaking up about it. And mainly from white queer ppl. It was strange how some comments even came off as being uncomfortable, intimidated, angry and spiteful and refused to accept the term deemed for a racist. Sound familiar?
What we appreciate is FKA’s official statement of solidarity, “We at FKA are sorry about the events that took place outside of One Queer Roof this past Saturday. FKA stands in solidarity with ALL of our queer friends and allies, and will no longer be involved in future events at Lincoln Hall.”
We also appreciate the private messages of apology and inquiry from event organizers. What we would appreciate more are more official statements of acknowledgement and public shame of Lincoln Hall’s racist employees. Also if FKA, Chances, and Queerer Park can organized their home locations to also give official statements of acknowledgement of queer POC experiences, a public shaming of Lincoln Hall and declaring themselves as safe spaces for queer POC’s. (We found a safe space at Big Chicks later that night).
We acknowledge that this is hard work to do, however the education of white queer folks are not queer POC responsibilities. This is when white allies step in and do the grunt work of holding themselves and their folks accountable. If white queer ppl can’t work at making events accessible and safe for POC and undocuqueers then they DO NOT NEED TO BE ORGANIZING FOR THE COMMUNITY.
I believe without a doubt this is not the first nor the last time Lincoln Hall will enable racist practices that uphold white supremacy, nor do i believe they are the only ones in Lincoln Park doing so. They just happened to fuck with the wrong Fat Boricua/Mexicana dykes. The same way they wanted to make an example out of us, we need to make an example out of them.
If queers in Chicago wanna talk more about this in a safe dialogue you can find us at Dyke March on the 23rd.
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