LGBTQ peoples protest for Palestine
Published Mar 10, 2011 9:17 PM
Photo: desertpeace - Bud Korotzer
Hoisting signs proclaiming “Using queers to oppress Palestinians [is]
just not fabulous,” “Don’t censor queer organizing” and
“We need solidarity, not bigotry, Don’t lock out pro-Palestinian
queers,” activists gathered in front of New York’s Lesbian Gay
Bisexual Transgender Community Center the evening of March 5 to protest
cancellation of an Israeli Apartheid Week event.
The demonstration culminated two weeks of outrage that began when LGBT Center
Executive Director Glennda Testone unilaterally ousted the group Siege Busters
and its planned “Party to End Apartheid.” Testone had acted after a
small coterie of reactionaries, apparently backed by one or more wealthy
financial donors, issued a news release calling IAW “anti-Semitic”
and threatened to organize a boycott of the Center.
LGBT organizations and activists around the country denounced this move against
queer solidarity with Palestine. Statements and letters demanding that the
Center rescind its ban on Siege Busters were issued by groups including the
Audre Lorde Project, Palestinian Queers for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions,
Aswat-Palestinian Gay Women, Jews Against the Occupation-NYC, Irish Queers and
by authors Sarah Schulman, Judith Butler, longtime activist Cleve Jones and
More than 1,500 people have signed an online petition titled “Save New
York’s LGBT Center! Don’t Let Wealthy Bigots Shut Down Free
A multinational crowd of young activists and longtime organizers attended the
March 5 protest, which took place at the same time that the banned meeting had
been scheduled. They were loud, determined and energetic. Backed by the music
of the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, they chanted “We’re here,
we’re queer, and we support Palestine” and sang “Boycott
Israel” to the tune of Lady Gaga’s song “Bad
At the demonstration’s end, organizers promised to continue the struggle
against the Center’s racist exclusion of pro-Palestine groups.
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