Trans Activist: Boston Police Abusive at Protest

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com April 16 2012 3:13 PM ET

 A transgender activist says she was abused by a Tea Party member and a police officer while protesting a Tea Party rally in Boston Sunday and that fellow protesters were received rough treatment as well.

The Tea Party’s Patriots’ Day rally on Boston Common featured antigay speakers such as minister Scott Lively, MassResistance director Brian Camenker, and former Boston Herald columnist Don Feder, along with some focusing on economic and other issues. At least five groups demonstrated in opposition to the Tea Party message, including Occupy Boston’s Queer/Trans Direct Action Working Group, the website Back2Stonewall reports.

An altercation developed after Tea Party members grabbed a banner carried by one of the other opposition groups, Antifa, and protesters from Occupy Boston and others came to Antifa’s defense, a trans activist with Occupy Boston (pictured) told Back2Stonewall. Two of her group’s members were arrested, and as she followed them, a Tea Partyer knocked her wig off, claiming his hand slipped. Then, she said, a police officer came up and shoved her and said, “OK, take your shit and get out of here.”

“I said to him ‘Don’t shove me,’” she continued in an email to the site. “He then said ‘Don’t shove you!?’ and then choked me, for a short period of time. My comrades reacted pretty quick, taking those pictures, getting his badge number, etc. He was rough with several other people, grabbing one of my comrades’ phone out of his hand when he tried to take a picture, etc.”

The picture of the activist’s confrontation with the officer received much attention after it was posted on Flickr, and a Boston police spokeswoman told The Boston Globe the department will review the police response to the protest. However, she also called the protesters “unruly and combative.”

“As we always do after a day of aggressive protests, the department will review all of the activity that took place during the course of the day including the photos that have surfaced from the event,” she said.

The Tea Party rally’s scheduled speakers also included former New Mexico Republican governor Gary Johnson, who is pro-LGBT rights and is now seeking the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination. However, Johnson canceled his appearance after the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, which monitors activity by hate groups, posted an article on its website about the participation of antigay leaders. “With all due respect to the organizers and their right to invite whomever they wish, he has decided that participating would not be consistent with his strong support for marriage equality and gay rights,” Joe Hunter, Johnson’s communications director, told the institute last week.