[Ppnews] Repression against Queer Activists

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Apr 14 11:31:33 EDT 2010

The Bash Back Inifinity’s lawyer just had to drop 
their case! They are in need of a new lawyer! 
Please contact bashbackinfinity at hushmail.com


Queer activists need your help to defend against the Alliance Defense Fund.

On November 9th, 2008 activists from the 
international queer liberation group, Bash Back! 
protested the stance and actions of the 
notoriously anti-queer mega-church, Mount Hope at 
their headquarters compound in Lansing, Michigan. 
While some of the group danced, chanted and held 
signs out side of the building, a small group 
proceeded into the church to conduct a 
demonstration by hanging a banner that read “It’s 
OK to be GAY!”, and handing out support leaflets 
targeted toward the queer youth. As the activists 
had been careful to remain legal, the police made 
no charges. So in May of 2009 a right-wing legal 
group, the Alliance Defense Fund filed a federal 
law suit on behalf of Mt. Hope Church under the 
Freedom of Access to Clinical Entrances Act, 
naming 13  individuals, as well as Bash Back! as 
a whole, Bash Back! Lansing, and 20 “John” and 
“Jane Doe”s (yet to be identified).  The suit 
seeks an injunction that could seriously hinder 
future activism that resists the 
institutionalization of religious fundamentalism. 
As well as an unknown sum of money in supposed 
“damages” and trial costs. Thankfully, we can 
count on our community and allies to step up. 
Tracie Dominic Palmer, an activist attorney with 
the National Lawyers Guild has been wonderful in 
supporting the group and has been diligently 
attempting to negotiate as well as building a 
defense, pro-bono! But as everyone knows, this is 
far from free. In the end, even in victory, it 
will have cost her as well as everyone involved 
in the defense a great deal emotionally and 
monetarily. Bottom line:  We need your help.

The ADF and Mt. Hope are working double time now 
to oppress queer people and crush all those that 
oppose them. To be clear, the main objective of 
their efforts is to plant fear and hesitation in 
confronting bigotry. This is why they also 
subpoenaed 20 “John” and “Jane does” (which we 
have chosen to call Jesse Does to remove the 
gendering of anyone) in addition to the 13 named 
defendants. Allowing them to pick anyone they 
want, whenever they want, and claim affiliation 
with Bash Back! This is why the defense is called 
the “Mt. Hope Infinity”. Again, it is extremely 
important to understand that the injunction seeks 
to set legal precedence that would seriously 
restrict future activism of this nature. Imagine 
it being legally impossible to protest 
anti-choice organizations or “ex-gay” 
conferences. In fact, as attorney Tracie Palmer 
has stressed,  we may very well be making new law 
regarding these types of demonstrations. This is 
a serious concern, not just for the individuals 
involved, but for all liberation activism.
~With the queerest love and rage.
Bash Back!

* It is important to note that since the action, 
some of the websites have been altered. For 
example, you now have to input personal 
information and complete a phone interview to 
find out details regarding the Dunami sexual “support group”.

The Action

There were 3 goals of this action. One was to 
effect the youth. Many of the youth are so 
sheltered,  brainwashed and threatened that the 
thought of gays actually being in their community 
is unbelievable, while trans identity isn’t even 
in their scope. Not to mention they are taught 
that having such thoughts or feelings are a great 
perversion worthy of burning for all eternity. 
The leaflets that were distributed explained that 
not only are their feelings of same gender 
attraction or personal gender confusion are 
natural, but that we are right here and there is 
a diverse and supportive queer/trans and allied 
community  that is active, accepting and visible. 
The leaflet also provided resources.  The second 
goal was to make visible to the leaders of Mt. 
Hope that we are paying attention and we are 
outraged. The third was to bring radical queer 
organizing back into the scope of the mainstream 
person. To show that we haven’t disappeared into 
HRC or the marriage debate. That we aren’t just 
begging for scraps. That with the momentum of 
Stonewall we continue to demand total liberation for all people.

The action its self was done peacefully and in a 
way to remain legal so no charges could be 
pressed against anyone. There was no blockading, 
no confrontations with parishioners or security. 
The indoor group left before being asked, 
literally as soon as all leaflets were 
delivered.  When asked to leave, the outdoor 
protest moved directly to the sidewalk. Also, 
despite what Mt. Hope claims, no one from Bash Back! pulled a fire alarm.

The Church

To provide you with a broader understanding of 
the situation, it is important to know why Mount 
Hope Church was selected for protest. The Mount 
Hope Church is a deplorable anti-queer, 
anti-choice, mega-church with many locations 
around the world! And is a lead organizer and 
contributor to a thick network of conservative 
organizations. Mt. Hope’s headquarters (with 
hundreds of  parishioners) is in Lansing, 
Michigan. With an exclusively right-wing agenda, 
the church works to institutionalize transphobia 
and homophobia through several repulsive projects 
including “ex-gay” programs and so-called “hell 
houses” around Halloween which depict queers, trans people and
womyn who seek abortions as demon possessed or 
burning in hell.  According to Mt. Hope’s dogma 
homosexuality is considered “sexual addiction”. 
Openly lumping being gay in with sexual sinners 
such as as peeping-Toms, flashers and even 
rapists!!! These “addictions” they work 
to  “cure” through strict “support groups” such 
as Dunamai.  At times even sending men to live in 
brainwashing camps such as Pure Life 
Ministries.  They also organize with other 
“ex-gay” organizations such as Love in Action, 
Homosexuals Anonymous, and L.I.F.E. Ministries. 
It is clear that Mt. hope is complicit in the 
repression of queers, trans people, and womyn, in Michigan and abroad.

Where are we now?

The Bash Back Inifinity’s lawyer just had to drop 
their case! They are in need of a new lawyer! 
Please contact bashbackinfinity at hushmail.com

Sometime after the original subpoenas, as well as 
a letter threatening to confiscate all 
electronics from the defendants, the ADF 
announced that they would be willing to 
negotiate. Their offer was that each person named 
would pay one thousand dollars each to Mt. Hope 
Church. As well as submit official apologies, and 
sworn statements never to demonstrate at a place 
of worship again. Clearly this is a vague and 
frankly, insulting offer. Currently, the defense 
is drafting a response and a counter offer. It is 
very likely this case will proceed to trial. Then 
likely to an appeal, despite who wins, then 
 Through all of this, the defense NEEDS 
YOUR SUPPORT. None of the legal steps are free 
and everyone is understandably stressed. This is 
a great opportunity to support the queer 
liberation movement and those who sacrifice for 
it. And straight-allies, here’s a damn good time 
to show some solidarity and put your actions where your mouth is.

* The ADF has recently claimed that a threatening 
note was received by the church from a Bash Back! 
Bash Back! does NOT claim responsibility for this 
note, and did not advise anyone else to do it. 
Bash Back! has complied with the preliminary 
injunction to remain off Mt. Hope premises. 
Please note that Bash Back! is in court 
currently, and any actions taken toward the church could damage the defense.

* In Early April 2010 a former member of Chicago 
Bash Back was subpoenaed to testify.

Freedom Archives
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San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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