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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bringing Back Q-Patrol

Posted by on Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 8:48 AM


A lot of people seem interested in bringing back Q-Patrol, per the comments on Dom's post. But everyone seems most interested in someone else bringing back Q-Patrol. You don't get the impression that there are many—that there are any—people out there interested in doing the work of reviving the organization themselves. Or marching around Capitol Hill in pink red berets themselves. So it probably won't happen. And the chief reason it won't is that, despite the spike in gay bashings on the Hill, is this: Q-Patrol was more of a community response to the police, and less of a response to the bashers.

Q-Patrol and groups like it were queer 'hood knock-offs of NYC's Guardian Angels; the Angels were founded in New York City at a time when urban crime was out of control, people didn't feel safe on the streets, and the police were perceived as ineffectual and authorities as apathetic. You don't hear much about the Guardian Angels or groups like it anymore because circumstances have changed in urban areas. There's still crime, of course, but crime is way down—particularly in NYC—and the police are perceived as having things under control and the authorities are engaged. So the need for vigilante patrol groups—groups whose impact on crime was negligible—has long since passed. (But who knows? Maybe it'll return with this recession.) The Guardian Angels didn't really do much to prevent crime, nor did they catch many crooks. The existence of the Guardian Angels—the need for something like the Guardian Angels—shamed the police and the authorities. And that was largely the point.

Groups like Q-Patrol were modeled on the Guardian Angels and flourished in a handful of cities with large gay populations the late 80s and early 90s. It was a time when queers were increasingly visible but police departments were still hopelessly homophobic. The feeling among queers at the time went something this: We have to police "our" streets and attempt to prevent bashings before they happen, because the police don't take crimes against us seriously. Victims of gay bashings a decade or two ago usually didn't bother to call the police.

Jerry Knight, the victim of a brutal gay bashing last week, had this to say about the SPD's response: “I am really proud of our police department and how seriously they took it,” Knight told Dom. “It reinforced my faith in the police department. They really made me feel safe." No victim of a gay bashing in, say, 1988 could have said anything remotely similar.

In same way vigilante groups like Guardian Angels eventually fizzled even though urban crime hadn't been eradicated, their "pink" knockoffs fizzled even though gay bashings still happen. Because they served their function: they shamed the police and the authorities into doing a better job.


Comments (61) RSS

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This reminds me of Sweet Dee and Mack becoming guardian angels (with hilarious results).
Posted by jackie treehorn on March 3, 2009 at 8:58 AM · Report this
Yeah, when I walk around Capitol Hill it's as scary as riding the subway in NYC in the late 80's, really scary stuff. Those pink berets are really intimidating as well.
Posted by Cap Hill is worse then Cabrini Green on March 3, 2009 at 8:58 AM · Report this
You forget Q Safety Patrol (Not Q Patrol) was founded and run by lesbians. We wore red berets, white t shirts with our logo, and black pants.

The police might not be apathetic but city revenues aren't exactly increasing and the Seattle still has a freakishly small number of officers.
Posted by elenchos on March 3, 2009 at 8:59 AM · Report this
Is it really taken for granted that Q Patrol was ineffective at providing a deterrent effect?
Posted by StC on March 3, 2009 at 9:17 AM · Report this
I think something like the Q Patrol can deter some attacks, but I don't have any statistics. I think what is more important is to maintain a political atmosphere where the Police will take bashings seriously and prosecute the attackers. We have come a long way from the time where a formmer Seattle police chief in the early 70's said that we should be harrassed.
Posted by Heather on March 3, 2009 at 9:28 AM · Report this
Notes from the Unemployment Line meet Q Patrol.

Jobs, safety, community: done and done.
Posted by hairyson on March 3, 2009 at 9:38 AM · Report this
Please, please, PLEASE tell me that the pic isn't really what Q Patrol wore. Please God, let that just be a pic that Dan found randomly on the net. Because if it is, NO FUCKING WONDER that Q Patrol was seen as a joke by many. Yeah, a potential basher is really gonna be intimidated by some dude trying to look like a past-her-prime Joan Crawford! Shit, my fellow homos make me wanna wretch sometimes...
Posted by Chris down in The Couv on March 3, 2009 at 9:38 AM · Report this

I did just tell you that isn't what they really wore. God I hate the Slog.
Posted by elenchos on March 3, 2009 at 9:40 AM · Report this
@3 elenchos speaks for me. While the SPD may make victims "feel safe" AFTER they've been bashed, they're not PREVENTING gay bashings from happening in the first place. And the SPD is not going to save us by putting more officers on the street anytime soon.

Dan, the police were on our side well before Q Patrol / Q Safety Patrol "fizzled." As your rival notes, the group(s) disbanded because gay bashings were becoming less frequent. And I'd speculate that the incredible amount of time, energy and money involved also worked against the group's long-term survival.
Posted by on March 3, 2009 at 9:43 AM · Report this
@ 8 - Well, that's good to know. But, for a recent emigree to the PNW, what exactly was "Q Patrol" (no "Safety")?

If you hate it, e, why do you still comment?
Posted by Chris down in The Couv on March 3, 2009 at 9:45 AM · Report this
Does this mean we'll see a revival of vigilante movies like the "Death Wish" series with Charles Bronson?
Posted by camp lover on March 3, 2009 at 9:49 AM · Report this
@ 9

"I'd speculate that the incredible amount of time, energy and money involved also worked against the group's long-term survival."

Yeah, God forbid you might take too much time away from going to the bars and the baths...
Posted by Chris down in The Couv on March 3, 2009 at 9:50 AM · Report this
Maybe Seattle should try what worked for NYC and other cities to reduce crime:
a Republican Mayor
Posted by chad on March 3, 2009 at 9:50 AM · Report this
I absolutly LOVE the way everyone is saying to bring it back, but the people who say that wont just bring it back themselves. I've been hearing this shit for years now- who's gonna do it? Obviously not the people who whine about it.

Posted by thecatnextdoor on March 3, 2009 at 9:55 AM · Report this
@ 11 - Vigiliantism and collective self-defense are two very different things.
Posted by Chris down in The Couv on March 3, 2009 at 9:58 AM · Report this
For the last time, Q Patrol did NOT wear pink berets. Or anything pink at all.

Q Patrol wore: black pants, white t-shirt or sweatshirt with the blue Q logo on it and black (or red, designating leaders) berets. Oh, and it was started by and mainly populated by women - I often get the sense from comments that people have this mythical swishy drag queen image of the patrol that just isn't true.

I have no idea if or where there might be stats on crime prevention, especially in terms of gay-bashing. The patrol was there for everyone. But I do know first hand that there were many instances where the patrol was able to de-escalate situations or break up fights in progress - although most of the time we were a roving information booth. The Patrol worked WITH the SPD and developed a pretty good relationship with them.

I agree with Dan that the need for having a civilian patrol has changed significantly (and especially the point that lots of people are clamoring for Q Patrol to start again but no one seems to be stepping forward to do it themselves), but there are plenty of people involved with the leadership of Q Patrol still in Seattle. Why not talk to them?
Posted by Former Q Patroller on March 3, 2009 at 10:01 AM · Report this
The one thing that the patrols had that the current police don't have much at all is foot patrols. It makes a big big difference to know the community and interact with them rather than hang out in your car in vacant parking lots looking at people between emails while waiting for some action.
Posted by Trevor on March 3, 2009 at 10:04 AM · Report this
what about pink panties?
Posted by throw us a bone, for cryin out loud! on March 3, 2009 at 10:07 AM · Report this
@13 If you're referring to the Giuliani administration, you're wrong. The NYC crime rate started falling under Democratic mayor Dinkins. And it was falling in Seattle at the same time. And we sure as hell didn't have no Republican mayor.
Posted by on March 3, 2009 at 10:11 AM · Report this
i remember the q patrol from when i was young. i have to be honest, in my immaturity i thought they were kind of goofy looking. at the same time, they were a recognizable presence. that's to say, people can make fun of the berets, but just having a group of people out there -- even moreso when they were recognizable -- made it feel safer.
Posted by infrequent on March 3, 2009 at 10:14 AM · Report this
I remember reading in the SGN, (back in the day before it was completely worthless) about the amount of time it was taking up in those noble lesbians lives.
Between the classes on non confrontational confrontations, the actual patrols, learning self defense and the amount of time with community leaders discussing their effectiveness and/or their wardrobe selections...ya they didnt have time for the bars or baths. 'Cause we all know how the baths and bars are just overrun with lesbians....@12 your ignorance is astounding.
Posted by drone5969 on March 3, 2009 at 10:16 AM · Report this
So your argument is that because the patrols were originally formed for one purpose, they will not/can't be formed again for a different purpose? Also, The Guardian Angels were hardly formed to shame the police, and have not totally disappeared, as you appear to think.
Posted by Mike on March 3, 2009 at 10:16 AM · Report this
@ 16 - OK, OK, don't go all Curtis Sliwa's sister on me (sorry, forgot her name)! ;-)

Thank you for telling your story.

It's not surprising that it was the lesbians that started it. WAAAY too many gay men buy into the "weak and powerless" stereotype.
Posted by Chris down in The Couv on March 3, 2009 at 10:19 AM · Report this
@ 21 - I was referring to gay men who might think about joining Q Patrol. No slam against Q Patrol or lesbians, or lesbians who were in Q Patrol.

I'm not stupid. I may not be Mr. Gay Northwest, but I do I know that lesbians don't go to bathhouses, OK?
Posted by Chris down in The Couv on March 3, 2009 at 10:30 AM · Report this

oh right.

Dinkins and his sidekick the Easter Bunny.
Posted by tell us another fairy tale, dickwad on March 3, 2009 at 11:02 AM · Report this
@7 "Yeah, a potential basher is really gonna be intimidated by some dude trying to look like a past-her-prime Joan Crawford! Shit, my fellow homos make me wanna wretch sometimes...
@12 "Yeah, God forbid you might take too much time away from going to the bars and the baths
@23 "WAAAY too many gay men buy into the "weak and powerless" stereotype
You dont have to be Mr Gay NW to recognize internalized homophobia trying to be disguized as really bad humor. Come on up to Seattle and see how we roll up here before you make a bunch of snarky comments that just make you look like your education of "gay lifestyle" has been handed to you by BRAVO. There were gay men that participated in QPatrol, gay men who could most probably hand you your ass while wearing pumps and pink panties and lisping "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"...when you're signed up for QPatrol and your time is over taxed trying to make your commmunity a safer place from queerbashing frat boyz who believe all gay men embody "Jack" from Will&Grace THEN I'll give you a break...OK?
Posted by drone5969 on March 3, 2009 at 11:43 AM · Report this
A few points: they've been made buy others;

Dan is right, "But everyone seems most interested in someone else bringing back Q-Patrol." Too bad no one wants to do the heavy work.

Second Point: Gay men seem be taking the most beatings and who the hell stands up, with the Big Boobs and does the bulk of the work? THE LADIES!

Gay men are such whiners and babies it's an embarrassment.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on March 3, 2009 at 11:43 AM · Report this
Q Patrol was never a project of the mainstream LGBT ers and was never supported by all that corporate style board-staff- mumbo jumbo stuff.

In Seattle it was first an extension of the Guardian Angels but only for a few months, then became independant and rapidly built into a real class Queer act which was on the streets, visible, well trained and beloved on the Hill after a couple of years.

I was involved, and SGN was one of our our biggest solid long term supporters, bought us gear and gave us free space to assemble and have a desk, and keep/store our stuff.

It could be revived by ACTIVist energy, don't wait for Pride or the GSBA to offer any real help. Not their style.

The cops tried to block the patrols, very defensive about an un invited crime fighting all citizen thing as forced partner fighting crime. Again, after several years the relationship got very cozy and mutual. The East precinct worked well and very closly with Q-P. after some trust was established.

Do we need it again. I say, YES. For all the good reasons stated so far. The problem is the new activist wave is young, getting a long term project together needing some money and hundreds of hours this far - that has not emerged for any project..... now if it could be done online .....

Are the cops really much better - yes, but remember they are now really good at PR as well, so I wonder sometimes if much has changed at the nitty gritty precinct level.

Posted by Aaragon is queer on March 3, 2009 at 11:55 AM · Report this
It's impossible to say how many bashings Q-Patrol prevented just by being present. Would-be bashers might decide it's not worth the trouble with Q-Patrol around.

The bottom line: people are still getting bashed in OUR hood, and naturally, we want to do a better job defending ourselves. As helpful as the police are, they can't be everywhere at once.

Anything we can do to make the bashers feel like their being watched would be helpful, whether it's Q-Patrol, neighborhood watch signs, surveillance cameras, or more butchy gay and gay-friendly guys willing to hang around late at night and pound some basher skulls if need be.
Posted by seandr on March 3, 2009 at 11:59 AM · Report this
The Q-Patrol was a fucking joke, they spent more time trying to intimidate straight people than anything else. 10 years ago I was eating pizza in Pagliacci minding my own business, when these two Q-patrol douchebags were staring me down the entire time. So I went over to them and asked if they had a fucking problem.

When they said "No", I told them to "Knock the shit off, you ain't cops. And if you are going to try and intimidate people, make sure you can back it up with force."
Posted by givemeabreak on March 3, 2009 at 12:06 PM · Report this
Start a patrol "Gays with guns aimed at bashers balls" with the goal of making bashers scream like the little girls they are.
Posted by Vince on March 3, 2009 at 12:12 PM · Report this
When I was in college, I was suggested the student job of "blue light escort" (…) -- what this consisted of was pairs of student "escorts" who could be called from campus phones who would go meet a student who didn't want to risk walking alone. We'd be dispatched, pick up the student and walk with them to their dorm.

Maybe something like this would be more useful? Or some sort of text/iPhone/cellphone service which let people say where they were and where they were going and help people find a "buddy" to walk home with? There must be some unemployed computer genius in town who could figure this out.

Symbolic patrolling seems a little dated, but some sort of active helping presence might work.
Posted by Jigae on March 3, 2009 at 12:32 PM · Report this

That's it? Your story makes no fucking sense, dude. One night you thought these guys were staring at you and that told you how they spent all their time? Come on.
Posted by ... on March 3, 2009 at 12:44 PM · Report this
@25 Thanks for not reading my post, much less clicking through the first link I provided. Nowhere did I say (as you imply) that Dinkins was responsible for lowering NYC's crime rate. I did imply that Giuliani can't be given credit for lowering NYC's crime rate.

I realize that you are an ignorant jerk whose mind can't be changed on the subject, but maybe there are some others out there who are willing to
Posted by on March 3, 2009 at 1:14 PM · Report this
Apparently Slog doesn't like long URLs in its links, so that got cut off. Take 2:

@25 Thanks for not reading my post, much less clicking through the first link I provided. Nowhere did I say (as you imply) that Dinkins was responsible for lowering NYC's crime rate. I did imply that Giuliani can't be given credit for lowering NYC's crime rate.

I realize that you are an ignorant jerk whose mind can't be changed on the subject, but maybe there are some others out there who are willing to stop drinking the Kool-Aid.
Posted by on March 3, 2009 at 1:17 PM · Report this

It is not a story. That is what happened. It was not two dudes, it was a very butch girl and a guy.

I guess my agro appearance did not agree with them as to who should be able to walk around in capital hill. I am a traditional (non-racist) skinhead. They were staring and trying to intimidate me, it was laughable to say the least.

So a group who goes around trying to prevent people being harassed due to their perceived appearance, were harassing me because of my perceived appearance.
Posted by givemeabreak on March 3, 2009 at 1:54 PM · Report this
Wait, you got your panties in a bunch because two people LOOKED at you?
Posted by Geni on March 3, 2009 at 4:18 PM · Report this

To The Homophobes It May Concern:

I am Q Patrol. I am a patrolman of one. I do not wear a baret of any color or a T-shirt with a logo. What I do wear is a Glock matches my handbag. I'm that femme-boy you yell "faggot" out the car window at as you speed by. Fine. You do that...but remember the "speed on by" part. Because if you and your buddies do decide to, oh I dunno, pull over and jump out of your car and beat down a girly faggot the size of a 12 year old, well I AM a Q Patrol of one and you'll see just how tough a faggoty looking kid with hardware is. I assure you that lavender bullets kill just as efficiently as a straight guy's bullets.

Just an FYI.

Enjoy your evening out, but stay the hell away from me.


Oscar Wilde-Childe
Posted by Oscar Wilde-Childe on March 3, 2009 at 5:21 PM · Report this
@38: Now that's what I'm talking about. Capitol Hill should have a gay gun club.

All it takes is one or two front page stories about a homophobe getting taken out by a badass twink and the bashings will stop.
Posted by seandr on March 3, 2009 at 7:07 PM · Report this
@36 You're fucking skinhead? Well no fucking wonder.
Posted by go back to where you belong on March 3, 2009 at 8:04 PM · Report this
@37: There is a big difference between looking at someone, and being stared down for 10 minutes.

@40: Skinheads as a whole are not racist, only a small faction that co-opted the dress are.

As a note, I have defended plenty of gay friends. But the Q patrol might have started out as something good, but it turned into something REALLY stupid, just like the Guardian Angels did.
Posted by givemeabreak on March 4, 2009 at 9:02 AM · Report this
@37: There is a big difference between looking at someone, and being stared down for 10 minutes.

@40: Skinheads as a whole are not racist, only a small faction that co-opted the dress are.

As a note, I have defended plenty of gay friends. But the Q patrol might have started out as something good, but it turned into something REALLY stupid, just like the Guardian Angels did.
Posted by givemeabreak on March 4, 2009 at 9:03 AM · Report this
For once, Dan hit upon the crux of the problem. Everyone is waiting for someone ELSE to bring it back. Shit or get off the pot, people. We don't need an existing organization in order to bring QP back. They didn't have one in the early 90's.
Posted by Shit or get off the pot on March 4, 2009 at 11:06 AM · Report this
@ 26 - First and foremost, my hat's off to EVERYONE that was in Q-Patrol in its first incarnation!

Here's where I'm coming from: I'm a gay guy, but I don't really fit into any gay "mainstream," which, honestly, is mostly geared toward twenty- and thirty-somethings. But I do go to the bars about once a month (and am able to tolerate the soulless club music for a few hours), and I see enough to be able to recognize some general truths about the gay male community. (I can't and won't say anything about the lesbian community because, frankly, I don't know enough about it.)

For one thing, I really do see more shallowness and materialism among the gay male population than I do among the general population.

Another thing is, you see SOOO many guys buying into the stereotypes (benign and not-so-benign), and yes, you can argue that it's straight society throwing that stuff at us, but we, as independent, thinking individuals, DO HAVE the option of rejecting that shit and saying, "Fuck you, I like the way I am!" Too many don't take that option. I guess it's just the same conformism that you see among straight folks, but it makes me sad to see it. And to see a young gay guy buy into the "I'm weak and helpless" stereotype is even sadder. (Major props to Oscar Wilde-Childe! I hope that you're for real, kid.)

Finally, there's the issue of nobody wanting to step up to the plate in gay organizations, which has been brought up by others. In my (out) life, I've been very disappointed with the vast majority of gay organizations I've joined or tried to join or looked into joining, so I'm skeptical of the attempted start-up (or revival) of ANY gay organization. In my experience, they're either falling apart when I join, or don't get off the ground at all. A problem of "nobody stepping up to the plate"? Maybe. But maybe not; I see other factors, like gay male bitchiness, at work here.

Now, it IS fair to ask, "Why didn't YOU step up to the plate?" Well frankly, I never saw enough interest or committment on the part of the rest of the membership (or potential membership) of any organization I've looked into to make it worth my time. And the few that WERE well-run and drama-free didn't need me to step up like that. I doubt that I'm alone in saying this.

I know I'm pretty pessimistic in my attitudes towards "my community" (I know there's the old taboo of not washing your dirty laundry in public), and I wish I wasn't that way, but I can't help what I see.
Posted by Chris down in The Couv on March 4, 2009 at 1:18 PM · Report this
@ 26 - One more thing. Obviously, I think everyone has the right to decide what percentage of their lives is leisure time, as well as the right to decide how to spend it. What I see is the majority of the gay male community spending HUGE amounts of their leisure time drinking at the bars, and a smaller but still significant minority spending ridiculous amounts of time at the baths, which I have no moral qualms about whatsoever. But to me, there are many, many ways one could use one's time more productively.
Posted by Chris down in The Couv on March 4, 2009 at 1:38 PM · Report this
givemeabreak, the q patrol was created to protect gay people, from the likes of you. Where did you get the idea they were there to protect people from being harassed due to their appearance? That they were created to protect skinheads? Are you insane?

You keep repeating that you're not one of those racist skinheads -- but nobody asked if you were racist. The problem is that even "traditional" skinheads who claim to not be racist are still violent, and they still target queers.

Nobody wants skinheads around. Least of all in a gay neighborhood. You fucks can't even be around each other without somebody getting stabbed. Tell the truth: it isn't just the Q Patrol that gives you the stink eye. Every-fucking-body gives you the stink eye. Take the hint, dumbass.
Posted by go back to where you belong on March 4, 2009 at 2:07 PM · Report this
I'm a little scared to agree with Chris, but I think he has a point. Anything I've read on here about restarting Q Patrol or these rallies have turned into squabbling and attempts at including EVERYONE that end up with no one feeling satisfied.

If I could get five buddies of mine to go patrol the streets, I think that could be great. But attempting to form some big queer coalition with a mission statement would only result in me walking off angry after watching it degenerate into arguments over socialism, gender identity, and gay white male oppression.

And that's if things went well.
Posted by Jigae on March 4, 2009 at 2:17 PM · Report this
@46: You're profiling some guy because he has a shaved head and MAYBE dressed like he listens to ska music... Are you listening to yourself?!?
Posted by Jigae on March 4, 2009 at 2:35 PM · Report this
@ 47 - I knew I wasn't the only one, and that this wasn't just another manifestation of my delightful streak of misanthropy.
Posted by Chris down in The Couv on March 4, 2009 at 2:37 PM · Report this
@ 46 - What was it I was saying about how poisonous stereotypes were?...
Posted by Chris down in The Couv on March 4, 2009 at 2:43 PM · Report this
@ 47 - What you see there is the far-, far-left legacy of the early gay rights movement. At the time of Stonewall, the "new Left" was really big, and it was basically socialist (not that there's anything wrtong with that, it was the tenor of the times). Most of the "power to the people" type movements that sprung up at this time used this new Left model. (Did you know that the founders of the Mattachine Society back in the 50's were mostly hardcore communists?) And, like you say, it's continued to today: any gay organization that's in the tiniest bit political seems to get this dogmatic dialectical bullshit dumped on it, and, more often than not, it's very disruptive.
Posted by Chris down in The Couv on March 4, 2009 at 3:00 PM · Report this
@48 Well, that and the "I am a skinhead" statement kind of clued me in too. In fact, without a photo I have no idea if he has a shaved head, nor do I have any means of knowing what his music is. "I am a skinhead" is pretty much all we've got.

I know a lot of skinheads claim to be nice people, but nobody else says that about them. Kind of like Crips, Hells Angels, Nazis and other type vermin. If somebody says "I am a Crip" or "I am a Nazi," I don't really care if they say they're the nice kind of Crip or Nazi. Everyone knows there isn't a nice kind. Only suckers believe that PR bullshit about how it was those other guys who ruined their sterling reputation.

But if you like them so much, invite some fucking skinkeads over for tea. No doubt it will be fun for all.
Posted by go back to where you belong on March 4, 2009 at 3:48 PM · Report this
@46, 52 - I am a gay guy and was protected by a skin head years ago from when I was still in high school. You obviously do not know what you are talking about re skin heads. There are good skin heads - you are just ignorant on the subject.
Posted by there are GOOD skin heads!! on March 4, 2009 at 9:30 PM · Report this
@53 Really? Guess what. I don't believe you. I think you're yet another skinhead telling lies. Who are you?
Posted by go back to where you belong on March 6, 2009 at 12:46 PM · Report this
@38: WTF is a Glock 9?

This came up in an earlier post, but I want to repeat it. Your situation may be different, 38, but for most people enjoying a night out on Capitol Hill, carrying a weapon is impractical, illegal and potentially dangerous. Weapons are prohibited in any 21+ area of an establishment, CPL or not. Handling a weapon after drinking is irresponsible. Brandishing a weapon is rarely a good choice for deterring an attacker. Furthermore, in a dense neighborhood, the chance of having a safe shot without injuring nearby people is practically non-existent.

Posted by kai on March 6, 2009 at 3:10 PM · Report this
Guns are more likely to be used to shoot you than you are to use them to shoot people who have actually committed crimes.


And Glock 9's are worse for a number of reasons, all having to do with people being, on average, really really stupid about gun safety.

Just. Say. No.
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 6, 2009 at 11:58 PM · Report this
we need to put something out there
as all the police seem to want to do is be the PORN POLICE Lately
Posted by upaboveitall on April 22, 2009 at 7:54 PM · Report this
As a het guy who wandered the hill sloppily drunk at all hours in the 80s and 90s I remember the Q Patrol fondly. They created a sense of place and community the hill is sorely lacking nowadays and they were ALWAYS great to run into.

It wasn't necessary that they prevent or intervene - just there presence and eyeballs were enough to keep people civil. I would love to see the Q Patrol return. I'll take them cookies and juice when they pass by :)
Posted by AgingHipster756 on September 15, 2010 at 8:43 AM · Report this
Seriously, this is starting to get on my nerves. I belonged to Q-Patrol for several years. I was one of the leaders for a time as well. The berets were BLACK. There was no Pink or Red in the uniforms at all. Red was the Guardian Angels, and pink comes from the "Pink Panthers" from a gay movie..not reality. The article is written in a way that makes you think some sort of research was done, but apparently not. I suppose the color difference shouldn't annoy me, but it does. It adds to the belittling attitude of the writer. Q-Patrol actually did intervene on patrols a lot. It wasn't just about being a presence, although we hoped each night that it would be. We were out there, doing whatever we could, to protect our community. I recall many instances where violence was directly countered by the Q-Patrol. It was a serious commitment, and should be given more respect.
Posted by Former Qpatrol member "Tenor" on March 7, 2011 at 11:17 PM · Report this
Absolutely back what "Tenor" said (Hey brother, it's Tower - how ya been?) and as someone who was an active part of the Q Patrol from 1997-2002, here's my meager 2 cents...
As I recall, from what I learned after joining in '97, the Q Patrol came out of a desire by several people to DO something about the violence in-and-around Capitol Hill. Initially, the training appeared to be more "traditional martial arts" type of stuff, but at some point early on - the Guardian Angels heard about this and offered to train them in the tactics and methods that they had developed over years. This "co-habitation" of GA and QSP lasted for some amount of time, with members alternately wearing either the GA uniform or the QSP (red berets vs black, red "Angel" symbol vs the coiled snake, black fatigue pants, non-steel toe combat boots). Evidently, at some point in...late 1996? The QSP more-or-less "broke away" from the GA and at that point, all you would see were street patrols in QSP uniforms. Some might have thought we were "goofy", there were even some folks who thought we were a "rap group". But "Group recognition as a visual deterrent" was very real, and incredibly effective.
Did it make a difference in the community? More than, I honestly believe, could EVER be measured. There were numerous times when we would be walking along Broadway and someone would say, "Hey, you know when you were all down at Pine? A fight was about to break out and then you all came around the corner and everyone suddenly found somewhere else to be instead." Did we break up fights? Absolutely. Did we also help people who needed a blanket, or an escort to their car in the dark, or information on somewhere to go to get something to eat or shelter? All the time. Some of the most rewarding, meaningful "work" I have ever done in my life. But people change, environments change, I don't know - exactly - but there is that stigma where when nothing is happening, people wonder why should there be a patrol? We had so many QSP members in the height of it - "25 brothers and sisters you never knew you wanted" and any sacrifice was completely ignored in the opportunity to be a part of something bigger then any of us. Does that "spirit" still exist? Who knows. Are there that many people willing to walk in the freezing rain for hours and not feel like quitting when *nothing* happens by the end of the night? Probably. Wasn't any of us, but that's just how it was back then. It saddens me that the patrol fell apart after I moved away (not that I was the "glue" holding the group together by ANY means), and I cheered every time I saw an article talking about the QSP coming back....but it doesn't seem like it has really happened yet.
Posted by QSP's Tower on September 8, 2011 at 7:36 PM · Report this
The Guardian Angels in New York City were in effect (I can't vouch for intent) racist, homophobic, macho and right-wing. Back in the day, the news media -- and therefore nearly every New Yorker & all nationwide observers -- gave Curtis Sliwa and his vigilante-ish crew a free ride. Except for wary minorities, gays, and left-wingers. The Guardian Angels, upon launch, immediately focused their wrath on a terrifying, citizen-endangering new urban menace: PUNK ROCKERS! You see, punk was just being invented, and the City was plagued, held hostage, destroyed by satirical t-shirts, sensible shoes, colorful hair and that old devil Rock & Roll! What dopes. The Q-Patrol here in Seattle demonstrated their own political unreliability by acting as an unaccountable arm of the lovely Seattle Police Department. Claiming to be a force of street order, they lost any Queer credibility they started out with (i.e. zero) when they aimed their muscle toward -- not the trending anti-LGBTIQ bigots who were threatening our community at that time -- but toward Queers who protested against the haters & bullies! Seriously. A genuine queer people's defense organization would eschew cop complicity, and independently protect us from all who do violence to us; that includes the SPD. Take a page from the (original '60s) Black Panthers: empower ourselves by ourselves and don't play nice with the brutalizers and oppressors.
Posted by Jacky on March 20, 2014 at 10:46 AM · Report this

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