Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



VIEWS: MARK MY WORDS Insensitive, anti-Semitic protests
by Mark Segal

This article shared 4621 times since Wed Feb 3, 2016
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

When I was a boy of 13, my grandmother took me to my first civil-rights demonstration to teach me about racism and social justice. She knew those issues well: Our family fled from the pogroms in Russia, others in our family perished in the Holocaust and Grandmom even fought for women's rights.

On that day, I marched with Cecil B. Moore and Robert N.C. Nix. Five years later, in 1969, I'd be a member of New York's Gay Liberation Front and, in the name of justice, we'd march with The Black Panthers to free Angela Davis from her arrest and detention, chanting "Hey hey, ho ho, House of D [New York's Women's House of Detention] has to go." But last week, when I heard LGBT activists at the National LGBTQ Task Force's Creating Change conference in Chicago using part of that slogan against our own community, it was a sad day. And it sickened me to the pit of my stomach.

Creating Change is the largest gathering of LGBT activists across the nation. Typically, all issues affecting our communities are discussed, with people being able to agree to disagree with respect. But a major controversy happened this year. And what usually is and should be a place for dialogue became unsafe. This incident was at the very least insincere, and at its worst anti-Semitic.

A Wider Bridge, which promotes ties between LGBT Americans and Israel, was scheduled to have a reception at Creating Change. But some conference participants complained about an event featuring a group with ties with Israel. Presto, the Task Force cancelled the event. This led to a debate about anti-Semitism, apartheid and political correctness. Eventually, conference organizers did the right thing and reinstated the session. After all, this conference was about "creating change," and change occurs with communication. However, the event led opponents of Israel to protest; such protesters essentially urge people to boycott any LGBT event relating to Israel, not due to its LGBT laws, but because of how it treats Palestinians. They use terms like "apartheid" and "racism."

Here's what they don't state. While Israel is welcoming to LGBT people, Palestinian law criminalizes homosexuality. If you call the Palestinian Authority at the UN Office and ask about LGBT rights, as I did, you'll be treated to hang-ups ( first call ), laughter and a "Don't you understand our culture?" question ( second call ) and finally, "We don't talk about that." A fourth call offered a phone number in the Palestinian state for me to call.

The protesters want us to support people who laugh at and criminalize us. They don't explain that LGBT Palestinians escape to Israel for protection. It is so unsafe that the group fighting for Palestinian queer rights is located in Israel. Why? The Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip has declared homosexuality punishable by death. Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar has said, "You in the West do not live like human beings. You do not even live like animals. You accept homosexuality. And now you criticize us?"

I've visited and written about the region on many occasions. In fact, I spent time with the first out LGBT organization in Beirut, writing about lesbian women in Jordan and the oppression in Egypt, among other topics. I know the people on both sides well. I was embraced in Beirut and spit on in Jerusalem.

I was at Creating Change to speak about my just-published memoir, which speaks of my numerous arrests and nickel rides fighting for social justice. In many of the cities on my book tour, a young LGBT person asks, "What can we do today to create activism?" So I appreciate many in that crowd at the protest who were there wanting to do something. Unfortunately, they weren't given the facts. They were misled into what became an ugly anti-Semitic rally.

The first question we should ask protest organizers is: If you're suggesting a boycott of Israel because of non-LGBT issues, why not speak out about Palestine's anti-gay laws? Why not explain that many LGBT people have had to escape antigay violence in Palestine? If you were fair, the position should be boycott both, but instead you single out one. And that one place has become a safe haven for LGBT Palestinians. That is anti-Semitism, with a dose of self-hatred. Supporting those who wish LGBT people—us—dead is the definition of self-hatred.

The next question to ask protesters is even simpler: Why are you not protesting the anti-LGBT position of the Palestinian state? Do you approve of the draconian laws of Putin's Russia, or those of Uganda? Palestine is equally as, if not more so, antigay as those countries.

Then there's the issue of racism. That same term has been used to describe our country by the "Black Lives Matter" effort. Have you called for an international boycott of the United States? No, you single out one entity: Israel, the Jewish State. Yes, "Jewish." We all know why Israel was created, as a safe haven for Jews. We also know how Palestinians have fought Israel, at times suggesting it be wiped off the face of the earth, along with its people, the Jews. Yasser Arafat coined that into a slogan: "From the [Jordan] River to the Sea." To Jews, that slogan represents extermination. Now, imagine being a Jew in a room with 200 people outside banging on the doors yelling that slogan, or wrapping a Palestinian flag over the head of a Jew trying to make his way into the room. That is what happened in Chicago. Windy City Times did a great job of capturing most of the demonstration on video ( ).

Many of us would gladly protest Israeli treatment of Palestinians—I myself support a Palestinian state, the so-called "two-state solution"—but that is different than supporting the Palestinian government that wants you put to death if you're LGBT and live on the Gaza Strip. But trapping Jews in a room yelling what is as close to a death slogan as there is … Does that conjure something? Look up "Kristallnacht." Insensitive, at the very least...

It's great to see this generation wanting to protest injustice, but people need to understand the issues and the lessons of our early fight for equality. Fight first for our community's rights, since, if we do not, nobody else will. LGBT Palestinians can't speak out in their homeland, and your protests only embolden those who keep them from speaking out.

The Task Force acknowledged its mishandling of the situation and said it will work to prevent future incidents. While they may have been unprepared, protest organizers are the ones who need to apologize—not just to those in that room who were forced to leave through a back door for safety, but to the entire LGBT community for their insensitivity and for supporting those who support our oppression.

The term these individuals use is "pinkwashing." From this time on, pinkwashing equals self-hating anti-Semites.

We members of Gay Liberation Front have varied views on Israel and Palestine, but one thing we would never do is act with such insensitivity and suggest support for those who wish to put LGBT people to death or eradicate an entire race of people. Shame on you!

Mark Segal is editor of Philadelphia Gay News. His memoir "And Then I Danced, Traveling the Road To LGBT Equality," is available online or at your favorite bookseller.

This article shared 4621 times since Wed Feb 3, 2016
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Vallas speaks at event of group known for anti-LGBTQ+ views [UPDATE] 2022-08-01
- Former Chicago Public Schools CEO and current mayoral candidate Paul Vallas spoke at a fundraiser for Awake Illinois—a group that has been criticized for its transphobic and homophobic rhetoric, The Chicago Reader reported. The group hosted ...

Gay News

VIEWS Can gay men dial back sex until our monkeypox vaccinations? 2022-07-28
- Years from now, there will be gay men who made it through a case of monkeypox who will have the scars up and down the shaft of their penis to prove it. Let me repeat that. Scars. On their cock. For ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT Now, they're gunning to take away our vote 2022-07-20
- It took them 50 years to get the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe. It might take them only two years to get the court to take your vote from you. In addition to all the efforts to make voting difficult ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT Nothing is more American than a 4th of July parade 2022-07-07
- Nothing is more American than a 4th of July parade. And tragically, nothing is more American than a mass shooting with a high-powered rifle. Our hearts go out to the families of the seven victims of ...

Gay News

VIEWS How same-sex couples can ensure parenting rights if Supreme Court reverses Obergefell 2022-06-30
By Jeffery M. Leving - After the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade last week, many are now wondering if the court would go after same-sex marriage next. Justice Samuel Alito, in his majority decision, wrote that nothing in its ...

Gay News

Survey: Americans hold complex views on gender identity and trans+ Issues 2022-06-29
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 28, 2022) — As the United States addresses issues of transgender rights and the broader landscape around gender identity continues to shift, the American public holds a complex set of views around these ...

Gay News

VIEWS Workers' rights are LGBTQ+ rights 2022-06-27
- June usually marks a joyous month for the LGBTQ+ community and our allies as we reflect on the decades of hard work that our community and movement have put into securing and promoting our civil rights. ...

Gay News

WORLD Japanese ruling, Pride events, Colombia election, Boris Johnson 2022-06-26
- A Japanese court ruled that the country's ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the constitution, and rejected demands for compensation by three couples who said their right to free union and equality has been violated, ...

Gay News

How Coming Out in the 1970s Helped Me Make Brave, Life-changing Decisions 2022-06-25
By Edith Forbes, author of Tracking A Shadow: My Lived Experiment With MS - As a child growing up in Wyoming in the 1960's, I did not know any actual person who was gay. I knew exactly one fact about gay people, a fact universally accepted but never talked about: Gay people were strange. Even ...

Gay News

VIEWS The gay general at Valley Forge 2022-06-18
- Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von Steuben was born on Sept. 17, 1730, in Magdeburg, Germany. Son of a military father, Friedrich joined the Prussian army— considered the most advanced professional army in Europe at the ...

Gay News

VIEWS Introductory speech at the IML/IMBB 2022 contest 2022-06-04
- Note: International Mr. Leather (IML) 2022 and International Mr. Bootblack (IMBB) 2022 took place May 26-30 in Chicago. At the culminating contest on May 29, Chuck Renslow Charitable Foundation President ...

Gay News

LETTER Homophobia on The Maze Jackson show 2022-06-02
- NOTE: Maze Jackson—who hosts"The Most Dangerous Social-Radio Show in Chicago" on weekday mornings at WBGX 1570AM—is the husband of Metropolitan Water Reclamation District President and Cook County assessor candidate Kari ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT: LETTERS Pride: Remembering who we are 2022-05-30
- The LGBTQAI community echoes the mantra of secular society: Happiness comes from sex, money and power. Life is too busy with work and leisure to have time for religion and/or values. During this period of Pride ...

Gay News

VIEWS Another 'Handmaid's Tale,' or sex and the supreme Catholics 2022-05-24
- Amy Vivian Coney Barrett was confirmed as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by the U.S. Senate on Oct. 26, 2020. Barrett is only the fifth woman ever to serve on the Court. She is also the sixth Catholic ...

Gay News

'LGBTQ Rights on the Line: The Role of Communicators Advocating for Equality' event preview 2022-05-22
-- From a press release - Celebrating, honoring and acknowledging Pride Month is more important this year than ever (and it should be celebrated all year, not just during one month). The expected Supreme Court ruling that will undermine the right to ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.