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September 2, 2009


Administrator Alan Steen of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) announced that the investigation into the Fort Worth Rainbow Lounge raid on June 28th has resulted in the firing of three TABC employees.

The investigation found numerous violations of TABC policies, most of which were outlined by Administrator Steen as early as last July in an interview with The Dallas Voice.

Steen said in that interview that if the agents had sought approval from the supervisor before the Rainbow Lounge inspection, it shouldn’t have been granted because he doesn’t think there was sufficient cause for the inspection. He also said that the eight law enforcement officers and the paddy wagon that were present likely constituted an excessive show of force.

In addition, some of the agents wore uniforms that read "STATE POLICE" on the back when, in fact, there is no State Police agency and those are “special events uniforms” which TABC policy prohibits during bar inspections. Agents are only supposed to dress in street clothes when conducting bar inspections.

Agent Trainee Jason Chapman and Agent Christopher Aller were both dismissed from service due to violations of department policy. And, facing the same fate, Sgt. Terry Parsons announced his retirement effective today, September 2nd.

“If our guys would have followed the damn policy, we wouldn’t even have been there," Steen said.

Numerous other internal changes have been instituted within the TABC including the complete overhaul of the cultural diversity training program to make it more effective, especially with regard to sexual orientation.

The Fort Worth police had already announced their intention to cease all such joint operations with the TABC and have instituted numerous policy changes within their department as well. They have also appointed a special liason to the LGBT community and the TABC said they're going to do the same thing.

There is still a separate investigation into the use of force that caused a serious head injury to bar patron Chad Gibson. As soon as the results of that investigation are announced, I'll let you know.

Thanks to Box Turtle Bulletin and LezGetReal for some of the information in this article.

August 31, 2009


Buju Banton is a Jamaican reggae performer whose music includes some of the most virulently violent lyrics ever written. Many of his songs advocate beating, torturing and killing gays, lesbians and transgenders.

Obviously, this is homophobia in its extreme. But given the culture Banton comes from, it's not really a very big surprise. As I've written about before, the current Jamaican government strongly supports and encourages violence towards anyone who is, or even just appears to be, gay. As many of you know, because of the intransigence of the government's position, Jamaica is still under a large scale boycott of the island and the island's exports.

Well now, because of his unwillingness to capitulate to the concerns of the worldwide GLBT community and other civil rights, humanitarian and anti-violence organizations, Buju Banton is paying the price. In fact, he may very well end up sacrificing his entire career to his homophobic hatreds.

According to a story at LezGetReal.com, Banton was scheduled to kickoff a US tour with appearances at House Of Blues locations in Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas and Houston as well as a number of other venues throughout the country.

When news of this second attempt at a US tour reached the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, a campaign was organized, with help from the liberal website change.org, to stop the tour.

In a very short period of time, promoter Live Nation, which owns the House Of Blues venues, received nearly a thousand angry calls from the GLBT community and our supporters. They quickly issued a statement canceling all of Benton's US appearances.

To give you a little background as to why Benton is still shunned, LGR also reported:

Banton has drawn the anger of gay activist groups for years, in large part because of the violently homophobic lyrics of his 1992 single “Boom Bye Bye,” which proposes pouring acid on homosexuals and shooting them in the head.

In 2004 he was also tried and acquitted on charges that he participated in the beating of six gay men by a gang in Jamaica.

Two years ago, Banton signed up to the Reggae Compassionate Act, promising not to perform songs that advocate homophobia, in a deal brokered by Stop Murder Music activists.

He later denied that he had made any such commitment.

Lorri L. Jean, CEO of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center issued a statement that said:

“I hope this victory sends a deafeningly loud message to other promoters and concert venues that singers who glorify violence against LGBT people, or any group of people, should never be welcomed. It shouldn’t be necessary for us to pressure promoters to do the right thing; people like Banton should never have been booked in the first place.”

Box Turtle Bulletin is keeping a close eye on other scheduled performances by Banton. "In addition to the four House of Blues dates mentioned earlier, AEG Live/Goldenvoic have announced the cancellations of scheduled concerts in Los Angeles (Oct. 14), in San Francisco (Oct. 10), and Philadelphia (Sept. 12)."

Check out Box Turtle Bulletin's blog story. In it, they list dates and locations for other scheduled performances throughout the country.

As more of us find out about Banton and his US Tour, more pressure will be put on the remaining venues that haven't canceled his appearances yet. If you see your city listed in BTB's published itinerary, call or email that establishment and voice your concerns. It would also be very effective if you notified your local media and/or wrote a letter to the editors of your local newspapers letting them know the kind of person who's coming to their town to perform.