Guild Supports Critics of Prison-Themed, Pride Party

Kristina Dolgin
NLGSF Law Student Vice President

On the night of Saturday June 28, six queer activists, including National Lawyer’s Guild member and legal observer John Viola, were arrested near 16th Street BART following the end of a peaceful protest of Kink.com’s prison-themed SF Pride party. Three protestors, Rebecca Ruiz-Lichter, Prisca Carpenter, and Sarai Robles-Mendez, were held in custody for three days on felony lynching charges.

The party’s promotional material invited guests to “get arrested,” “find love in the shower, “let your fantasies run wild in solitary,” while boasting “the finest correctional officers in the world to ensure your beatings are delivered with the ultimate precision.”

In an open letter to party organizers, Bay Area signatories Justice Now, CUAV, TGI Justice Project, CURB, SWOP, All of Us or None and the NLG, among others, called on the hosts to change the offensive and oppressive theme. When nearly 50% of Black transgender people have been incarcerated at some point in their lives and 67% of LGBTQI people in prison report experiencing sexual assault in prison, celebrating the Prison Industrial Complex as part of Pride festivities is more than inappropriate.

The SF Pride Commission’s mission is “to educate the world, commemorate our heritage, celebrate our culture, and liberate our people.” However, on the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion, local transgender and queer people of color are reminded that they can be criminalized and arrested for gathering in public and doing so.