Step Up The Torment of Rolark
January 24, 1992
By Franklin E. Kameny
In strong disagreement with recent Blade letter writers (Stuart
Reges; and Karen Hill, Jan. 10), I enthusiastically endorse Queer
Nations Christmas caroling action at the home of Councilmember Wilhelmina
Rolark (D-Ward 8), consider Calvin Rolarks resort to violence as
unjustified, and view as an unexpected dividend the incontrovertibly recorded
unveiling of the homophobic bigotry of a public official holding minor
appointive office, so that action can be (and, in fact, has now been)
initiated to rid us of him.
The action at the Rolark home was "Rolark 2." "Rolark
1" was the demonstration at Wilhelmina Rolarks District Building
office, at which I am proud to have been arrested along with seven others. The
goal of both was to persuade Rolark to reverse her publicly-stated intention
to take no action to move Bill 9-79 (which would repeal the Districts
anti-sodomy law) through the Judiciary Committee of which she is chair, and
where it has languished for exactly one year. It is anticipated that there
will be "Rolarks 3, 4, 5, etc.," as rapidly and for as long as it is
necessary to persuade her to move this legisla1ion. 9-79 will move to
Rolark has declared war upon Gays. It has been well said that "All
s fair in love and war." Once that war declaration has occurred, all
countermeasures of every possible description are justified. Excluding only
acts which are violent to persons or destructive to personal property,
absolutely any tactics whatever are justified and we should stop at nothing.
At the time of my arrest, I stated, "This is just the beginning. It is
our intention to make of Councilmember Rolarks public and personal life an
ongoing, unceasing, never-ending, 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week nightmare of
increasing intensity, until she moves Bill 9- 79." I stand by that and am
pleased to note that others are joining in effecting it, with Queer Nation and
OUT! doing yeoman service. While practical considerations might prevent
literal achievement of that worthy goal, it remains the nominal aim. 9-79
will move to enactment!
All public officials, in all three branches of government, at every level,
are public servants, a phrase which I take absolutely literally, and
which makes each one of us their masters. For some 30 years I have said,
"One deals with the servants as one deals with little children. When theyre
good, well-behaved, and obedient. you praise em and pat em on the head,
When theyre bad, ill-behaved, disobedient. and insubordinate, you scold em
and (at least figuratively) smack em on the behind."
Rolark is a bad servant who is misbehaving and has been stubbornly and
rebelliously disobedient and insubordinate. She is being scolded and
"smacked," and that will escalate into a nonstop
"spanking" if she does not behave herself. The message is clear: A
firestorm of ever-increasing intensity will descend upon the heads of those in
the Council who obstruct enactment of this bill. 9-79 will move to
Reges misperceives the purpose of these actions. They are not taken for the
limited, merely self-therapeutic, otherwise useless purpose of giving voice to
our protest. They are being taken to achieve actual enactment of Bill 9-79. Up
until now we have been fortunate in enjoying the affirmative cooperation of
our public officials, but Rolarks stubbornness has now made resort to these
tactics absolute necessity. Reges objects to harassment and tormenting, to
confrontation and intimidation, and to punishment of Rolark. Quite to the
contrary, those are the names of the game. They should be intensified until
she finds the torment beyond endurance and moves the bill.
Never forget that in not moving 9-79 (and its predecessors since about
1984), Rolark is harassing and intimidating every Gay person in Washington,
literally on a nonstop basis; she is tormenting and punishing us beyond
endurance. 9-79 will move to enactment!
Hill objects to the singing of paraphrased Christmas carols in front of the
Rolark home because, in part, they "greatly offended ... Wilhemina Rolark"
and allegedly "trashed [her] religion." But offending Rolark is
exactly what they hoped to do! The greater the offense the better! The
feelings of others, such as Hill, who played no role in the matter, are quite
irrelevant. Actually, the paraphrasing was more in the nature of ingenious,
robust. delightfully hilarious good humor than anything else. The whole action
was absolutely appropriate! There is no way to paraphrase "The Twelve
Days of Christmas" which will rationally give religious offense. And
Rolark is offending and trashing all D.C. Gays, and therefore everything about
her, including her religion, should be trashed to the best of our ability to
do so, and should continue to be trashed until she realizes that 9-79 will
move to enactment!
I have directed my share of criticism toward Queer Nation, and will
continue to do so on a thoughtful basis, when appropriate in my view.
But in this instance, they covered themselves with glory. They are
significantly contributing to seeing that 9-79 will move to enactment!
I urge that the harassment and torment of Rolark be stepped up. We have put
up with her shenanigans for far too long. Years ago, from time to time, on
other issues, I informed certain federal government officials that whatever
business they accomplished in their offices, none of it would be by telephone,
because I would be on their telephone, nonstop, all day every day. It usually
worked, and quite quickly. It should be tried with Rolark, at her Council
office and the Judiciary Committee (202/ 562-8062, 562-8031), at her home
(preferably in the wee hours of the morning, 202/ 562-1712, 562-6507),
and at her personal law office (202/ 783-0701). Use your own ingenuity
to render Rolarks official and personal life such a nightmare that she will
recognize that it is her duty to move this bill and will decide to do so
promptly, and then, 9-79 will move to enactment!
The author is a longtime D.C. Gay activist and founding member of the Gay
and Lesbian Activists Alliance. The views expressed are his own and do not
necessarily represent those of the group.
[Home] [Editorials] [District of Columbia]