What: Screening of “Raid of the Rainbow Lounge” at the University of North Texas. The full-length documentary recounts the 2009 controversial raid of a gay bar in Fort Worth, which resulted in national media attention.
When: 5 p.m. Oct. 3 (Thursday)
Contact: UNT Multicultural Center at 940-565-3424.
DENTON (UNT), Texas — In the early morning hours of June 28, 2009, members of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the Fort Worth Police Department raided the Rainbow Lounge, a newly opened gay bar in Fort Worth, and arrested several customers for public intoxication and detained others without arresting them. The raid received national media attention after a customer said he received a severe head and brain injury while in custody, and several witnesses in the bar began a grassroots awareness campaign and launched a formal protest.
The University of North Texas will present a free screening of “Raid of the Rainbow Lounge,” a 2012 documentary of the raid, on Oct. 3 (Thursday). Sponsored by the UNT Multicultural Center and the Media Library, the screening begins at 5 p.m. in Room 111 of UNT’s Chilton Hall, which is located at 410 Avenue C on the southwest corner of Avenue C and Chestnut Street. The screening of the 103-minute film will be followed by a moderated discussion.
The raid on the Rainbow Lounge happened on the 40th anniversary of the start of the Stonewall Riots in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood. The spontaneous, violent demonstrations began after a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a club that was one of the largest gay establishments in the U.S. at the time. The Stonewall Riots are today considered the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement.
In “Raid of the Rainbow Lounge,” director Robert L. Camina follows some of the bar’s patrons, including a former journalist, a certified public accountant and a heterosexual woman who was at the bar that evening with her boyfriend, and shows how the raid changed the patrons’ lives. The film also chronicles their search for answers about why the raid happened and how to ensure that a similar event won’t happen in the future.
In the months following the raid, Fort Worth’s city manager created a Diversity Task Force to advise the mayor and City Council members about issues related to the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community. The city now offers domestic partner benefits to city employees; requires employees, including police and firefighters, to complete diversity training; extended the city’s anti-discrimination policy and added a police liaison to the LGBT community. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission also appointed a liaison to the community and implemented diversity training.
For more information on the screening, contact the UNT Multicultural Center at 940-565-3424.