Wednesday, April 08, 2009

NGLTF Slams Sully;
Silent on NYT Gay Iraqis Story

The New York Times today prints a front-page above-the-fold story about the deadly problems facing Iraq's gays, as they struggle to survive against horrific odds and fatalism. High up in the piece is the statistic that gay murders are in the solid double-digits:

The relative freedom of a newly democratic Iraq and the recent improvement in security have allowed a gay subculture to flourish here. The response has been swift and deadly.

In the past two months, the bodies of as many as 25 boys and men suspected of being gay have turned up in the huge Shiite enclave of Sadr City, the police and friends of the dead say. Most have been shot, some multiple times. Several have been found with the word “pervert” in Arabic on notes attached to their bodies, the police said.

“Three of my closest friends have been killed during the past two weeks alone,” said Basim, 23, a hairdresser. “They had been planning to go to a cafe away from Sadr City because we don’t feel safe here, but they killed them on the way. I had planned to go with them, but fortunately I didn’t.”

There once was a time when professional gay advocacy organizations in the USA would read a terrifying story like this, and at minimum, put out a statement condemning the killings of gays.

Now, such a story warrants no comment whatsoever from the Human Rights Campaign and the allegedly progressive National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Both multimillion dollars organizations are too busy fighting for sugary wedding cakes and bridal showers to give a damn about dead fags in Baghdad, still under occupation by American armed forces.

On the other hand, NGLTF, a few years ago, did devote organizational staff time and resources to inveigh against gay conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan, over the, ahem, war in Iraq and the community's approaches to the invasion:

What isn't reasonable is when Andrew Sullivan attempts to bolster his argument not by articulating a rationale for why GLBT organizations should be silent on issues like the war, but by writing a scattered diatribe against NGLTF that promotes blatant falsehoods about what we are and what we do. It is interesting that Sullivan didn't write his piece about the Log Cabin Republicans, who came out in favor of the war long before NGLTF took a position, or about the numerous other national GLBT organizations that came out against the war before NGLTF did. Instead, he waited for NGLTF to take a position and attacked NGLTF alone.

To those who know Sullivan's right wing political perspective (e.g., opposing abortion rights and civil rights legislation) and long-standing bias against NGLTF, this is no surprise. To those who are just learning about Sullivan and NGLTF, here are the facts: ...

Sullivan's inaccurate, misplaced and conservative harrumphing to the contrary, NGLTF has an unprecedented and indisputable record of accomplishment on behalf of GLBT freedom, justice and equality--a thirty-year record of doing work that is relevant to the lives of millions of GLBT people and our families and which continues today. ...

Hundreds and hundreds of words trashing Sullivan, and not one word from NGLTF expressing outrage and concerns for gay Iraqis. This tells me, yet again, that the task force is rancid and has no reason for existing, other than to raise funds to keep its offices open, staff paid nicely, and put on an annual conference that gets more gay people laid than actually doing any hard organizing.

Creating change? Not for gay Iraqis or any gays beyond the USA's borders from this formerly politically vanguard group. The NGLTF leaders are too busy maintaining the all-glam all-glitz party circuit fundraisers they hold every month around the country.

How many dead fags have to turn up on the streets of Baghdad before NGLTF raises a peep?


Lyndon Evans said...

Actually it's a shame a paper like the New York Times took so long to do a story on this.

Many of us have been covering this either on LGBT blogs or in my case my LGBT Newscenter and my LGBT blogs since March 30 when Ali of Iraqi LGBT first made many of us aware.

I have been corresponding with Ali for a year now as have others here in the US and have given the horrible state of Iraqi LGBTs the important and due coverage during that time while the mainstream press all but ignores it.

I would dare say with respect Mr. Petrelis, what have you done to assist in making awarness of this situation ?

I see by your bio you have appeared on FOX, CNN, ABC and NPR Radio.

Funny I don't recall seeing you on the networks, much less standing on a soapbox on in front of the United Nations, yelling that no one is doing anything about this or bringing the Iraqi LGBT situation to the attention of the American public.

Until now that is.

Before you start blaming the LGBT community for not having the outrage over what is going on in Iraq, and Iran I might add, how about starting with the network news organizations you say you have appeared on. Where has their coverage been over the past year ?

Lyndon Evans
LGBT Rainbow Links

John Bisceglia said...

It seems that FAR TOO MANY in the public eye, whether it's Obama or Well-Known Queer Activists - all seem terrified to stand up and publicly declare things like,

"Gay is O.K."
- or -
"Killing Gays is Wrong"

It ALL (all) ALL seems so "political" to dodge speaking up for what it RIGHT, and instead speak out only when it is advantageous to one's particular cause. David Mamet mentions in a book on screenwriting how "people speak because they WANT something". So true.

Unfortunately no one wants to be seen as 100%-Gay-Positive-Without- Exceptions-or-Fine-Print. That would make their life a bit more challenging.

But your article speaks more about the petty bickering and crap that fills most gay blogs, since too many queer writers seem hell-bent on protecting their own egos and "being right" much more than working PRO-ACTIVELY towards Full Federal Equality. I've seen some gay bloggers spend DAYS just going back and forth over what is often TRIVIAL PERSONAL SH*T. Now I realize MANY of us are F*CKED UP in major ways psychologically due to a lifetime of H8 - that's quite "normal" given the 24/7 messages we're assaulted with daily, but why not the BIGGER PICTURE? Think the end of CHICAGO - Show Business is ONE business where 2 people can HATE each other but still work and produce results and success.

Why can't gay rights be the same?

Lyndon Evans said...

Well said.

Thank you for posting my comment even if unfairly a "bit of a tirad" against you.

This is one thing I myself detest when one of "us' goes against another.

There are enough of "them" against "us".

Thank you for your comment back.

Lyndon Evans