The Bay Area Intactivists marched in the Santa Cruz Pride Parade today and found themselves immediately embroiled in controversy for taking pictures of one of their members innocuously holding a protest sign in front of a group representing the American Civil Liberties Union.
Ever since the San Francisco Male Genital Mutilation ballot measure went down in flames with the support and encouragement of the ACLU, they have been a special favorite for targeted protest among some of us here in the San Francisco Bay Area. The affront is that the ACLU is all for the civil liberties and presumably human rights of little girls born to Muslim cultures that believe in female circumcision, but completely change their tune when it comes to American infant boys. Female genital mutilation must not be tolerated, but the male version is a religious right, according to their logic.
During the incident today, Santa Cruz Pride sent their rent-a-cops over to intimidate the intactivists when the ACLU complained of their presence. The rent-a-cops told them that they were not allowed to take pictures as the ACLU and the rent-a-cops were “private.” I pointed out that the ACLU and Pride generally were in a public place participating in a public event, bringing my desire to document the event under the protection of the highest law in the land, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. They disagreed, but were unable to cite any authority to support their position.
I encourage readers to ask the Diversity Center of Santa Cruz, which sponsors and organizes the Santa Cruz Pride events, why they felt it necessary to try and stop pictures from being taken at their event. I would also encourage readers to contact the Santa Cruz Chapter of the ACLU and ask them how they feel about being party to suppression of political speech and the dissemination of said speech in these circumstances.
UPDATE: Another image of private security intimidating intactivists below. It didn’t work.