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Posts tagged with "riot"

Sep 30 '11

The AB 101 Veto Riot came after both of these, and seems to be the least known. It came after Stonewall, after the other two major San Francisco protests, and after the deaths of innumerable beloved people from AIDS. It was in response to a bill that you’ve probably never heard of — searching for AB 101 today will point you towards a childcare bill — because it never got to become real. Had it passed, it would have guaranteed statewide protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by private employers — something that, twenty years later, many states still don’t have. Instead, Governor Pete Wilson vetoed it.

The night the veto was announced, 50,000 people marched throughout the city, their protests recalling the direct action of ACT UP and Queer Nation during the 80s. The details of what happened next are obscure — there seems to be virtually no written or at least publicly accessible record of what happened between queer protesters and police that night.

The protests went on in a variety of forms for a full two weeks.

The reason that people in marginalized groups can often grow up, even go their whole lives, without knowing their history or the incredible and awe-inspiring things they’re heir to, is because that history just isn’t there. It happened, but that doesn’t mean there’s any record of it, anything to prove that the rights we enjoy (or more accurately, put up with until we can be more than second-class citizens) didn’t just blossom out of the benevolence and fair-mindedness of the figurs of authority. There isn’t so much as a Wikipedia entry on the AB 101 Veto Riots. Even the surviving, internet-archived journalism around the veto (mostly from the LA Times and other LA-based publications), while disapproving of Wilson, makes little remark about the protests. In order to read journalist records of the riots, you need to pay at least $3.95 each for a “document purchase” from the LA Times.

When it comes to things like the AB 101 Veto Riots — or really, anything else — queer history initiatives and the existence of places like the GLBT History Museum is vital — this is how we know who we are.

44 notes Tags: queer ab101 AB 101 riots rioting riot ab 101 riots queer lgbtq glbtq