Saturday, January 21, 2006

Gay v. Gay: Rosendall Spars w/IGLHRC over Jerusalem Pride

Just how lame is the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission?

So lame that in their response to an insightful opinion column in the Jan. 19 edition of Bay Windows by veteran Washington-based advocate Rick Rosendall about IGLHRC's position on world gay pride in Jerusalem this summer, his name isn't mentioned once.

Here's some of what Rosendall wrote:

> In a Jan. 9 e-mail to members of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), IGLHRC Executive Director Paula Ettelbrick and her board liaison for IAC, Adrian Coman, asked for input on whether IGLHRC should join the LGBT World Pride celebration scheduled this summer in Jerusalem. They stated that the consensus of their staff and their board’s program committee was not to participate.

> They explained, “While IGLHRC sees as its mandate the promotion of human rights everywhere, and would typically wish to support local organizations and activists, and participate in any world conference where the discussions and goals included LGBT rights, as a human rights organization, we do not feel it is appropriate to participate in a ‘world pride’ event in the middle of an occupation and in a location were our colleagues from the region could not travel to Israel to participate.”

Well, to IGLHRC, them's fightin' words and they had their spokesman, Geoffrey Knox, issue a response, posted on their site:

> The Bay Windows column cites part of a memo sent to IGLHRC’s International Advisory Committee soliciting their feedback about what the organization’s position should be. The columnist did not speak to anyone at IGLHRC to clarify where the organization was in its decision-making process. It appears that readers of his column were left with the erroneous impression that IGLHRC had decided to boycott World Pride in Jerusalem and/or had made a final decision not to participate.

In my opinion, the columnist, who is not a reporter and did not write a news story, was under no obligation to speak with anyone at IGLHRC before opining on anything related to the group. Like leaders of the Soviet Union, IGLHRC goes all out to deny legitimacy to those who disagree with their politics, literally erasing their names from the public record.

Since there is disagreement over IGHLRC's memo, cited by Rosendall, it would be helpful to this debate if the contents of the memo were posted on the web for all to read.

> One of the guiding principles of IGLHRC’s work is that the long-term advancement of human rights globally is accomplished through strengthening, supporting and collaborating with groups and individuals advocating for human rights within their own countries and engaging their social and cultural attitudes regarding sexuality.

Those are noble intentions, ones I heartily endorse, and there's no reason they should preclude IGLHRC from having a respectful and honest public dialogue with U.S. gays who work on global issues, but don't toe IGLHRC's party line.

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