Russia Center hastily moved the event to the Kosciuszko Foundation, which was subsequently caught by surprise by the ensuing Queer Nation protest at its offices; it sent a rep downstairs with the following statement:
“The KF is a non-partisan, non-denominational organization that raises money for scholarships. We have members of all views, religions, and sexual orientation. We understand and respect your opinion. The rental of our gallery is by no means an endorsement of intolerance toward any group.”At this point, the fed-up Russian organizers called the cops, apparently thinking U.S. police, like their Russian counterparts, exist to insulate heterosexual supremacists from the righteous indignation of people disgusted by their actions. They found out they were wrong:
Conference organizers called the police—911 the cops told us, apparently it was a gay emergency! Cops responded, spoke to us and organizers and explained to the Russian organizers that our protest was breaking no American laws, and the First Amendment of the Constitution guaranteed our right to protest on a public sidewalk.
He didn’t seem too happy he wasn’t able to have us arrested like in the old country.
We were just over a dozen but we seem to outnumber attendees.
Few people not recognizable as organizers of the conference passed through the entrance. A table of 40 or 50 preprinted lanyards still sat unclaimed 90 minutes after coffee greeting time began, a half hour after the seminar was scheduled to start.