Thursday, June 29, 2006

Fruta Extrana TV: LGBT pride controversy in the Bronx?

We were happy when Fruta Extrana television was recently profiled in the New York Times. God knows that Eric Booth and the team behind the community cable show (and fabu website) deserve the props!

Now recently, a group of Bronx LGBT advocates were able to put together the first Bronx LGBT pride event in more than five years and Fruta Extrana was there to cover it (they have five different "channel" feeds on the site, currently the Bronx pride picnic is featured on CANAL A).

Coverage of the June 17th event includes an appearance by Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion. Jr. (who, in the video, is warmly welcomed by the Reverend Carmen Hernandez who exclaims "Look how the world turns!" saying that she would have never figured out that she'd be standing to Carrion at a pride event just a few years back).

Carrion does the political thing and congratulates the organizers. He also singles out a community advocate for a special mention:
I wanna say a special word about Lisa Winters, and I wanna say publicly as Borough President, thank you Lisa Winters for being an advocate on behalf of the LGBT community in the Bronx, for putting the Consortium together
Thing is Ms. Winters, Director of the Bronx Lesbian and Gay Health Resource Consortium, was also interviewed a week earlier by Fruta Extrana, and - in no uncertain terms - accuses the Bronx Parks Department of homophobia and says that the only reason why they got a permit for the event was an intervention by New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Lisa Winters: Up until two days ago we had not received a permit to host this pride event because every single time we went back to the Bronx Parks Department for a permit they put up every kind of barrier that they could.
Teddy Evans/Fruta Extrana: When did you ask for the permits?
LW: Two months ago... Listen to this: 'What kind of jewelry are you selling, what kind of food are you selling, no loud music, no stage, no generators' - Nothing! In other words, every single thing that we wanted to do? It was a no, a no, a no, a no
TE: And this is simply a picnic with a stage, essentially
LW: This is a celebration for the Bronx LGBT community, a celebration that we need and we deserve
TE: And the only celebration!
LW: And the only celebration!
TE: And they said no, up until two days ago...
LW: They said no, so what happened was, we decided that we needed some higher intervention than this. I called Chris Quinn's office, she's the Speaker of the New York City Council in Manhattan, and I called her office, I actually called her personally, and I said 'Chris, we need a favor. They have refused to give us a permit. We can only surmise that this must be homophobia, they have deliberately put up barriers every step of the way, we are having a pride picnic next Sunday and we STILL don't have a permit, and everything is a no. And it seems like the 'no's' are arbitrary and capricious. They are not based on what the regulations are for every other park. And we say this because Prospect Park is utilized by the Brooklyn LGBT community and their Park's Department is like 'Welcome to Prospect Park, how can we help?" Queens, their big park, St. James Park, 'Welcome to the park, and how can we help!" Staten Island! Manhattan, Christopher Street, but in the Bronx?! In the Bronx!? We couldn't even get a permit to sell gay pride memorabilia and have a stage so that our performers could act! So I called Chris Quinn's office and I said "We need a favor." They got on the phone, they made some phone calls. Seems like the Park's Department pretty quickly said "How can we help you now." Like suddenly their tune has changed.

But the point is that when most of New York City is dealing with other issues like gay marriage, fighting against a Federal "marriage protection" amendment that recently failed, we can't even reach those issues because we are dealing with real homophobia and barriers. We can't even get a permit for a pride event!
Ms. Winters reiterates her accusations again at the end of the picnic and ads "It's been a hard thing because we got no support, and I mean NO support, from elected and appointed officials."

Fruta Extrana also runs the following note at the end of the segment:
  • Why did a Bronx's LGBT group had to go to a Manhattan appointed official to get its Pride Picnic approved?
  • Where was the Bronx Borough President in this dispute?
  • If you got the answers tell us at
Some of us are still waiting for Carrion to answer past questions about his level of involvement with a specific anti-LGBT demonstration back in 2004.


Anonymous said...

Carrion and all the others like him show up when the press is there and the cameras are rolling so he can be seen as the great beneficient leader. Kudos to Lisa Winters and co. for their persistence! She's a true leader.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Andre for realizing the obvious, I was shocked when our Borough President got onto the stage and took credit for an event that I was told, (off the record) that he practically blocked. I was hoping people would watch the video and make their own conclusion. Thanks