Late last week, reader Brian Heiss shared this letter with me:
With President Obama visiting Saudi Arabia [Friday and Saturday], why has the media not covered how Saudi Arabia treats gay men and why President Obama remains silent about this?
“I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.” - Obama (The Tonight Show, August 6, 2013)
FACT: In Saudi Arabia homosexual conduct is punishable by death.
"Instead of targeting our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, we can use our laws to protect their rights." - Obama (Brussels, March 26, 2014)
FACT: In Saudi Arabia gays are often banned from schools, thrown in jail, and even whipped simply for the crime of being gay.
As the President visits Saudi Arabia, the complete silence from LGBT groups and the media is baffling. The voices that protested Russia’s laws should be a million times louder against Saudi Arabia’s laws yet the world remains silent as Saudi Arabia executes gay men.
Unfamiliar with the killing of gays by the Saudis, I asked Brian for more info and he shared links from the BBC and Reuters about such executions. I also read the latest U.S. State Department human rights report for the country and the desperate situation for our brothers and sisters in the kingdom is noted:
Citing paragraphs that disparage Christians, label Jews “pigs,” and teach that execution is an Islamic response to gay sex, some Americans are asking President Obama to demand that Saudi Arabia remove religious bigotry from its official school textbooks. [...] Led by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based think tank, American groups are also pressuring the president to release a 2012 State Department report that details offensive material within the books.
One source has reported on Obama's silence, the Kremlin-funded propaganda machine Russia Today, from a hypocritical perspective but at least it reported something about gays and executions:
The American president did not raise concerns of human rights violations during his dialogue with King Abdullah, despite the kingdom’s notoriously abhorrent human rights record, which includes the severe repression of women’s rights and capital punishment (often by beheading) for engaging in apostasy, adultery, sorcery or homosexuality.
If the gay advocacy groups raised their voices last week, I can't find proof of it and if you have some, share the evidence, please.
For now, we have silence from Gay Inc over LGBT oppression in Saudi Arabia related to the president's state visit versus an iota of attention from Putin's news agency and advocacy from a conservative think-tank. That says plenty about the state of global LGBT advocacy.