Does the headline say it all?
Of note to a lot of "the gays" this week was a rumor that the police raided a bunch of gay bars this weekend and arrested people on drug charges. (We have a certain sensitivity to police raids on our bars considering the way the modern gay right movement began at the Stonewall Inn.)
The rumor continued that some guys arrested had nothing to do with the drug dealing going on. The rumors, at least part of them, were true; in an article you might have missed in the Times today was the story that "Police Say Focus in Club Raids Was Crime, Not Gay Clientele." I was struck by the defensive tone of the headline—does it say it all?
But the police said that the raids had nothing to do with the businesses' clientele or ownership. The raids were conducted under court orders obtained by the police and signed by state justices under the city's Nuisance Abatement Law. The police sought the civil orders after an investigation that resulted in the arrests of 20 people involved in selling drugs, along with other crimes.
"I've been talking to people all day about this," said Corey Johnson, a community activist who is the political director for Mark Green, the former city public advocate who is now running for state attorney general. "It's been the buzz of not just Chelsea, but the gay community around the city."[I’ve written before that Corey should get a degree if he wants to continue his career in politics, but that’s not really relevant to this discussion.]
"There was a large amount of drugs and violations of the law taking place at these locations," Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said yesterday.
The fact that most of the establishments in question were gay or mixed (Avalon was characterized by the article as straight, which is not fully accurate) raises the question whether gay clubs and bars (and one gay gym!) were targeted, or if there is more drug use in gay clubs, bars (and gyms) than straight ones. Not ever having been part of the club culture (nor having a gym membership), I couldn’t tell you, but it’s interesting that the question is being raised by the Paper of Record.
It’s also nice to read about such things in print, when all you’ve heard is rumors for several days. Sometimes stories about our community slip through the cracks—I was happy to see this one didn't.