Sunday, September 30, 2012
(TIME Warp) The AB101 Veto Riots; 21 years later!
Last Year the GLBT History Museum in San Francisco held a program called “All the Rage: Stories From the AB101 Veto Riot,” featuring a documentary short about the queer riots in San Francisco in 1991 and a panel with organizers of the event twenty years ago and eyewitness accounts. Called the AB 101 Veto Riot, it “ended with the police in retreat and a state office building in flames.”
I had never heard of the AB 101 Veto Riot before I got this press release, or the other two that accompany it in a trio, the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot of 1966 and the White Night Riot of 1979. It occurs to me that maybe no one has told you, either. Most of us got through school without even hearing about Stonewall, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to hear about. In honor of the people who put their safety on the line so that our rights had to be recognized, let’s take a moment to remedy that.
1991 found the queer community, especially in San Francisco, full of rage after a decade of watching their loved ones, their families and their best friends mowed down by AIDS while Reagan’s administration stood by and did nothing, and straight America was mostly just concerned about the possibility of the epidemic spreading from the deviant subculture to their own — as far as they were concerned, the fate of the freaks and the sexually confused were a foregone conclusion. The whole decade was defined by a never-bef0re-seen level of queer militancy and a culture of outrage, especially in San Francisco. The White Night riot was a response to the ridiculously lenient sentencing of Harvey Milk’s murderer Dan White in 1979, which caused hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to the area around City Hall. Over a dozen police cars were set on fire. Protesters fought back against police officers who covered their badges to avoid identification using tree branches, broken chunks of asphalt, and torn off parts of city buses. (You can read first-person accounts of a protester and a police officer at FoundSF, as well as at thecastro.net.)
Bob Ostertag / Kronos Quartet: A History of "All The Rage" from Candela Films on Vimeo.
Creative Commons License
OutView Online by MK Scott is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.outviewonline.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.outviewonline.com/p/contact-us.html.