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Queer vandals target Wells Fargo; bank to remain in Pride Parade

 

By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly

 
A group calling itself the “Queer Attack Squadron” has claimed responsibility for throwing a Molotov cocktail into the window of the Wells Fargo bank branch at 5730 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. in Portland in the early hours of June 6 via an anonymous posting on the Puget Sound Anarchists website and emails sent to local television stations.

The apparent vandals wrote that the action was a “small gesture of solidarity” with CeCe McDonald, a trans woman who was recently sent to prison for killing a man she says was threatening her and using anti-trans slurs.

“Banks like Wells Fargo continue to profit and flourish at the expense of people like CeCe, funding the police and prison industrial complex which protect banks’ interest and profit through brute social control,” the message said.

Following the attack, KPTV reported that Wells Fargo would no longer march in the Portland Pride Parade due to safety concerns. According to Pride NW President Debra Porta, this is not true.
“After speaking directly with Tom Unger, spokesperson for Wells Fargo today, we have been assured that Wells Fargo will be in the 2012 Portland Pride Parade,” Porta said in a June 9 press release.

Though the group said the explosive was lit, police say it did not detonate and was found outside the building. Arson investigators are looking into the incident but have not yet identified any suspects.

The incident, as well as the tone and content of the message claiming responsibility, bears striking resemblance to the vandalism against Mars Hill Church. A group calling itself “Angry Queers” claimed responsibility via messages posted to anarchist sites and sent to TV media for throwing rocks through the church’s windows in act of solidarity with deceased trans women.

Lt. Robert King said he was not aware of any connection between the two incidents.

PQ Monthly will continue to cover this incident online.

LOCAL

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Norm Costa

Pride NW is honoring three people for their exceptional contributions to the local LGBTQ community. The 2012 Spirit of Pride Award — which recognizes leadership, commitment, advocacy/education/services/organizing, and coalition building — goes to Norm Costa. His many contributions to the community include board member for the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) of Oregon, past president and board member of Veterans for Human Rights, steering committee member for the Coalition Against Hate Crimes, and past co-chair and active member of the Portland Police Sexual Minorities Roundtable. The 2012 Pride Youth Award — which recognizes and seeks to encourage the leadership of a youth age 16-24 — goes to Alex Horsey. A senior at Wilson High School in Portland, he is a student journalist and the founder of Project Believe in Me!, a youth-led anti-bullying initiative. Special this year, Pride NW created a Pride Pioneer Award to recognize the trailblazing contributions of Renee LaChance, who founded Just Out with the late Jay Brown in 1983. The publication went out of business in Dec. 2011 and the brand assets were purchased by Jonathon Kipp, who launched a glossy monthly magazine in June.

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Erin Janssens

Speaking of trailblazing, Portland’s first female — and lesbian — fire chief was sworn in June 5 on the step of City Hall. Erin Janssens, a 24-year veteran of the Portland Fire Bureau, will take over for retiring chief John Klum.

Cameron Whitten — the queer Occupy activist and fifth place finisher in the Portland Mayoral race — is staging a hunger strike outside City Hall to call attention to issues of poverty and homelessness. As of press time (June 12), Whitten was on day 11 of consuming only juice and vitamins. Whitten is asking the city to do three things to addresses the needs of the homeless and those soon-to-be. He wants City Commissioner Dan Saltzman to withdraw the fines against co-owners of the Right 2 Dream Too Rest Area, City Council to add a housing levy measure to the Nov. 2012 general election ballot, and Sheriff Daniel Staton to issue a one-year moratorium on Multnomah County home foreclosures.

A new radio show giving voice to Latino LGBTQ Oregonians has launched. Causa’s LGBT Alliance Building Coordinator Christian Baeff hosts “La Voz de Todos,” which airs every Wednesday at 4 p.m. on 95.9 FM Radio Movimientoin the Woodburn area and at pcun.org/radio/listen.

NATIONAL

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Kylar Broadus

A U.S. Senate panel held a hearing on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) June 12. It was the first hearing on the act, which would bar discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, in nearly three years. The hearing also marked the first time an openly transgender person has testified in Senate. Kylar Broadus, founder of the Trans People of Color Coalition of Columbia, Missouri, shared his experiences with employment discrimination in front of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

WORLD

There will be no (legal) Pride celebrations in Moscow, Russia this year, or the next 100 years, if the Moscow City Court can help it. The Court recently upheld the decision of a lower court to ban Pride parades until 2112. The decision was prompted by a request by activist Nikolay Alekseev, who submitted a request to hold parades for the next 100 years. He knew the request would be rejected and apparently took the action to expose the absurdity of the system to the European Court of Human Rights.

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