Friday, December 03, 2010

Sen. Leno Backs Dec. 11 SF Protest
Over UN Vote on Gays & Killings

(At UN Plaza in October, gays read a solidarity letter signed by leaders from every continent, calling for protections of gay marchers in Serbia. We'll be back there next Saturday.)

More people are stepping up to help make for a successful December 11 noon protest at San Francisco's United Nations Plaza against the UN vote in November deleting gays from a resolution on extrajudicial killings.

From Sacramento, my friend openly gay state Sen. Mark Leno sent a note endorsing the protest:

I thank you Michael for organizing this action. The UN should be ashamed of its vote in disregarding the humanity of LGBT people. Unfortunately I am unable to be with you though I applaud the effort and lend my voice to the chorus of righteously upset protesters. If a written statement from my office would be of value, let me know and we will get it to you before the event.

On behalf of Gays Without Borders/SF, which is organizing the protest, I wish to express our thanks to Mark for adding lending his support. And gratitude also goes out to Billy Bradford, a gay youth activist with Marriage Equality USA, because he's volunteering in a number of ways:

I will help you out with this event. I have flags (not enormous) but 3 feet X 5 feet American, Rainbow and I just ordered a UN flag for this. I have flagpoles. I have a bullhorn and a portable sound system. I have cardboard stock for signs, but you'd need to round up markers, come up with slogans and make the signs yourself, or with your group before the event. I've copied two other strong equality minded folks who would likely help as well.

Permit me to now call attention to the president of the United Nations Association of SF, Sue Zipp, who has graciously agreed to send out a notice to her members, helping us to recruit more bodies. Speaking for herself and not her group, Sue offers assistance with publicity:

I also personally appreciate your good fight on behalf of the LGBT community, civil and human rights. [...] What I can do for you is email your press release to our membership. Those individuals who are interested in participating can do so on their own. [...] UNA-SF is a totally volunteer organization.  In general, we are not designed to take on specific causes, no matter how worthy. [...] I wish you much success on 12/11 in SF.

We also have gay artist and activist Clinton Fein committed to being there and taking photos the action. I will also press him to speak and share his perspective on his native country's role in the vote:

Great that you are taking this action, Mike. I shall be there with camera in hand.

Having been born and raised in Johannesburg, I believe South Africa, with a new and enlightened constitution, ought to be ashamed. Whoever represents South Africa at the UN should be recalled. South Africa should be leading the world when it comes to civil rights, not aligning itself with the likes of Zimbabwe, Uganda, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Longtime lesbian advocate Tanya Domi, writing from New York City at the New Civil Rights Movement site, chillingly summarizes part of the vote's impact and some of the nations that cast ballots against us:

In other words, the UN General Assembly [...] voted to allow LGBT people to be executed without cause. [...] For a UN committee that addresses human rights questions that affect people all over the world, by removing protections for LGBT persons from a category of arbitrary executions, belies the objective and purpose of a committee whose focus this year is “on the examination of human rights questions,” [...]

Another region that unanimously supported the removal of sexual orientation from the resolution were the Caribbean nations. Most noteworthy was the support from the Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica. [...] 

We gays and our allies must show the UN, world leaders, and our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters whose lives are jeopardized by the UN vote, that we will act up until the world body fully and perpetually works to protect the lives and human rights of gays everywhere.

Come out on December 11 to UN Plaza at noon in San Francisco, and be visible and loud for global gay solidarity.

For activists in the New York City area, please show up on Friday, December 10 at noon at Dag Hammerskjold Plaza for a rally against the UN vote. That action is being organized by Gays Without Borders/NYC.

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