A gay performance artist who goes by the name Qween Amor says he believes D.C. police officers sided with an anti-gay group when they arrested him while dancing on the sidewalk in Chinatown on Dec. 14 on a charge of indecent exposure.
He said police arrived on the scene after he began dancing in front of members of the Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge, a religious sect that denounces homosexuality and which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as a hate group.
Amor said people on the scene told him members the group, who were preaching from a microphone hooked up to a speaker, called the police to complain about his “immoral” dancing.
A police incident report says Amor “was viewed with his penis exposed through a hole in his pants” by police officers as he was “gyrating” in front of a group of onlookers.
Amor, who said he prefers not to be identified by his birth name, told the Blade he was unaware that a small split developed on the bottom seam of the pants he was wearing as he danced to music he played from speakers attached to his iPod.
“I would never do something like that,” he said. “I didn’t know the hole was there. I would have covered it immediately.”
He said his intent was to peacefully confront the members of the religious group.
“They were preaching hate,” he said. “I felt if I have to listen to them denigrate people I love I would do something. So I decided to dance in front of them.”
His dancing and his arrest were captured on video by an onlooker who posted the video on YouTube, which has attracted a large number of viewers. The hole in his pants cannot be seen in the video.
Amor must appear in court on Jan. 3.
He said he performs as part of his support of a national campaign called Love Music Hate Homophobia, which seeks to fight bigotry, intolerance, and injustice “using the power of art.”
He said he also performs regularly at the weekly Monday “open mic” night hosted by the 17th Street gay bar Cobalt.