Today a group of LGBT rights and sexual freedom activists gathered just down the block from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Upper East Side mansion to protest the false arrests of gay men in NYC’s adult bookshops. Robert Pinter, a victim of this campaign, gave interviews to a number of local and national newsmedia outlets as two dozen gay men marched with placards denouncing Bloomberg and the NYPD.
On hand were a number of familiar LGBT activists: Brendan Fay, Gilbert Baker, Ann Northrop, Father Tony, Eric Leven, John Weis and journalists Andy Humm and Duncan Osbourne. It was Osbourne’s relentless pursuit of this story that brought the entire illegal campaign to light.
Also present were protest observers from the National Lawyers Guild and Susan Wright, the founder and spokesperson of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, with whom I had a chat about our mutual enemy, Peter LaBarbera. The NYPD was generally friendly and cooperative, although they did not allow the protesters within 100 feet of Bloomberg’s home.
Curious passersby and tourists exiting Central Park took photos of the protest and were handed fact sheets about the action. Many of the men giving interviews to the press stressed that the entire “prostitution” campaign was in fact meant to close the city’s adult businesses under nuisance abatement laws.
BELOW: Father Tony gets video of playwright George Tynan Crowley reading his special Valentine’s poem to Mayor Bloomberg. Go to Father Tony’s site for more on the rally, including photos and more video.
UPDATE: Robert Pinter tells his story to Eric Leven.
UPDATE II: The New York Times has published their coverage of the protest.