LGBTQ+++ movement characterized by racism and transphobia, it seems

The AP reports:

The recent flare-up of racial tensions comes as no surprise to Isaiah Wilson, director of external affairs for the National Black Justice Coalition, one of the few national groups focused specially on black LGBT rights. He said the broader LGBT-rights movement “has been whitewashed” — dominated to a large extent by white gay men. …

He said major LGBT-rights groups need to be frank in discussing the issue of racism, as well as recruiting and supporting nonwhite leaders.

In my experience in LGBT activism in the ’80s through the early ’90s, any person of color who walked through the door was implored to take a leadership position. As for “dominated to a large extent by white gay men,” women have dominated movement leadership from the mid-80s onward.

Diversity is vital, except when it’s not.
Jewish symbols makes some people feel unsafe, whereas Islamic symbols…oh, nevermind.

The Windy City Times reports that “Supporters added that American flags were similarly not welcome as they too are considered signs of oppression. However, flags from other nations were present.”

A bad sign.


A good sign.


Finally, Fred Litwin writes:

[Activist Tim] McCaskell claims that the issues of interest to young gay people, his so-called ‘new activists’ are “police racism, HIV criminalization, corporate power, the environment, acceptance of gender fluidity, Palestine solidarity, park sex, poverty, immigration and refugees, [and] youth empowerment.” …

Once again, McCaskell and his cohorts leave out the most important issue facing the gay community today. Our gay brothers and sisters around the globe face being tossed off of buildings in ISIS territory, being hanged in Iran and being harassed in Russia. Gay remembrances of the Pulse tragedy in Orlando rarely mention the Islamist ideology that fueled the terrorist bomber. Point that out and you’ll be called a pinkwashing homonationalist.

More. James Kirchick brings it home:

Jews are not only being made to feel unwelcome in left-leaning spaces, but anti-Semitism—masked as anti-Zionism—is becoming a marker of virtue. These episodes of ostracism are almost always undertaken to appease Muslims, which makes no sense under any circumstances, least of all for the LGBT community, which is welcomed and celebrated in the world’s only Jewish country and subject to state-sponsored harassment, imprisonment, and murder in nearly every Muslim-majority one.

It’s also cruelly ironic that Jews, of all people, would be subject to this sort of discrimination, given the disproportionate role they have played in LGBT politics and culture.

11 Comments for “LGBTQ+++ movement characterized by racism and transphobia, it seems”

  1. posted by TJ 3 on

    1. their is still a relationship between race and class in America. its certainly gotten better, but still very relevant.

    Effective leadership in an human rights interest group often requires a certain level of middle class/upper middle class education, social skills, understanding of public relations, electoral politics.

    The number of people who can do this well, is relatively small. Then you narrow that down to LGBT people and then LGBT people of color, and you are dealing with a relatively small talent pool.

    Reply
  2. posted by Jorge on

    There’s a cute little story along the same lines on the internet today.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/24/vermont-gay-bar-apologizes-changes-name/426497001/

    Unfortunately, in this case I agree with the bar owner, though I’d also agree if he’d held out longer.

    “He said the broader LGBT-rights movement “has been whitewashed” — dominated to a large extent by white gay men. …

    He said major LGBT-rights groups need to be frank in discussing the issue of racism, as well as recruiting and supporting nonwhite leaders.”

    In my experience in LGBT activism in the ’80s and ’90s, any person of color who walked through the door was implored to take a leadership position.

    I have not had that experience. I have to earn the invite.

    “In Columbus, Ohio, four people were arrested after a group set out to protest violence against minority LGBT people and the recent acquittal of a police officer in the shooting death of Philando Castile, a black man, during a traffic stop.”

    I do not think a frank discussion of the acquittal of Officer Yanez within the LGBT community will serve the cause of racial inclusion and accountability. It will only serve to further divide on racial and political lines those who agree with the verdict and those who do not. Better would be a frank discussion of the protest.

    There’s a trap here that needs to be avoided. The gay rights movement, being part of progressive platforms, is naturally going to attract people who move or come to move in progressive circles. These individuals will have broader missions, and that’s a good thing. The danger comes when the movement itself adopts the broader mission of those individuals.

    This ends in disaster. No one person, group, or even locality’s progressive social circle looks the same. In New York state that circle includes party and personal machinations that have sent dozens of politicians to prison. I will never forget how Governor Patterson was able to get a gay marriage movement I was a part of to reach out to, then snub, a future felon who actually supported gay marriage. In Philadelphia racial concerns seem to predominate. Elsewhere the transgender community has more representation. Once an organization crosses the line into ideological purity, it’s very hard not to lose control of its mission and adopt whatever the strongest member of the mob thinks ideological purity really looks like, and it’s very hard not to create bitter feelings among those whose priorities are left out. When that happens, one side is “right” and one side is “wrong”, and it’s diversity, which at its core is about a certain forced zone of neutrality, that loses.

    Reply
    • posted by TJ 3 on

      Again, if we want to look at the racial diversity in LGBT groups (leadership roles), we have to look at how such positions are filled, what education is needed to be successful in the leadership position, etc.

      Now, if we want to look at coaltion building between LGBT rights groups and black civil rights groups, that raises some different issues.

      If, we want LGBT rights groups to take a stand on police corruption, that raises different issues.

      Reply
  3. posted by TJ 3 on

    Also, Black gay people have certainly been an important part of LGBT history. shame on anyone for suggesting otherwise, or that it only began with the national black justice coalition.

    Reply
  4. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    “One reason for the tensions, according to some activists, is a racial divide when it comes to the LGBT-rights movement’s agenda. For years, many national groups focused on legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide — a goal achieved in 2015. For many LGBT people of color, there continue to be more pressing issues, such as economic inequality, policing and incarceration.”

    I quietly note, for about the hundredth time in response to similar posts over the years, that the LGBT rights movement has been fraught with controversy and competing/conflicting agendas from the beginning, and will most likely always be fraught with controversy and competing/conflicting agendas. I think that it is a good thing. We are not all card-carrying members of the tassel-loafer crowd.

    Reply
    • posted by Jorge on

      Things aren’t the same as they were 40 years ago. Social media combined with radicalism has made it easier for people of those competing agenda to punish individuals they think aren’t pure enough. Now everyone’s trying to get into that act. It is a waste of energy.

      Reply
    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      Things aren’t the same as they were 40 years ago. Social media combined with radicalism has made it easier for people of those competing agenda to punish individuals they think aren’t pure enough.

      Maybe. I’ll grant you that social media has made national communication much quicker and pervasive.

      But keep in mind that 40 years ago, the LGBT movement was mostly confined to gay ghettos in a few cities, small inbred communities in which communication was quick and often vicious, and in which radicalism (in the eyes of the old guard) flourished and punished. Read the history of the gay rights movement in NYC during the year following the “Stonewall Uprising”, in which the young radicals shoved the Mattachine Society out of the way, and you’ll better understand my point of view.

      Reply
  5. posted by TJ 3 on

    Again, part of challenge (in terms of people of color leading lgbt groups) is the relationship between race and class in America.

    Now, I am not sure that big name groups like the HRC or the LCR have been run especially well, but their leaders do have upper middle education/backgrounds.

    How many LGBT black people have those same sort of opportunities?

    Reply
  6. posted by Jorge on

    Jewish symbols makes some people feel unsafe, whereas Islamic symbols…oh, nevermind.

    Who do you think you are, Juan Williams? In liberal America such unsafe feelings should only be discussed with one’s therapist or agent, take your pick. Unless you’re talking about white, Christian, straight, or male people. Then you’re excused by the oppression rule.

    Reply
  7. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Finally, Fred Litwin writes:

    [Activist Tim] McCaskell claims that the issues of interest to young gay people, his so-called ‘new activists’ are “police racism, HIV criminalization, corporate power, the environment, acceptance of gender fluidity, Palestine solidarity, park sex, poverty, immigration and refugees, [and] youth empowerment.” …

    Once again, McCaskell and his cohorts leave out the most important issue facing the gay community today. Our gay brothers and sisters around the globe face being tossed off of buildings in ISIS territory, being hanged in Iran and being harassed in Russia. Gay remembrances of the Pulse tragedy in Orlando rarely mention the Islamist ideology that fueled the terrorist bomber. Point that out and you’ll be called a pinkwashing homonationalist.

    When Canadians are paraded as examples of the wrongheaded direction of the US LGBT movement, we have become immersed (however unwittingly) in the seething cesspool of homocon resentment.

    That is not to say that Litwin doesn’t have a point. The LGBT movement in the United States was focused on marriage equality for over a decade, largely to the exclusion of other issues, and the force of that bottom-up thrust for equality in marriage shoved other concerns aside as it steamrolled the careful state-by-state, step-by-step, little-by-slowly strategy of institutional “LGBT leadership”. Having won marriage equality, the LGBT movement in the US (as in Canada, apparently) is now struggling for a consensus about where and how to engage next, and disagreement about competing/conflicting agendas among LGBTs has been surfacing.

    It may well be that the movement, by aligning with the broader concerns of the progressive left instead of laser-focusing on outstanding areas of anti-LGBT discrimination (employment, adoption, and so on) and on conservative Christio-Republican efforts to erode the gains of recent years, is headed into the ditch at a time when “equal means equal” is under attack on many fronts.

    I know a lot of older gays and lesbians — men and women who came of age in the 1960’s and have seen the movement progress from Stonewall to Obergefell — who think that way. I’m among them, as anyone who has followed my comments over the years will realize. But I recognize that mine is a point of view, a point of view born of hard experience but just a point of view.

    Similarly, Litwin (in common with any number of homocon/neocon thinkers) argues that the movement should focus on international suppression of gays and lesbians rather than domestic concerns**. That’s nothing new, of course (read the longstanding platform of the non-defunct GOProud, which similarly focused on international suppression but was silent about domestic efforts to suppress “equal means equal” and didn’t take a position on marriage equality until it was in the last gasps of organizational life), but it is only one view among the many, and should rise or fall on its own merits, as it and other points of view (including my own) will over time.

    The current controversies are nothing new. The gay/lesbian rights movement (from the aftermath of “Stonewall Uprising” that signaled the death knell of the cautious approach of the Mattachine Society and similar groups from the 1950’s and 1960’s) has always been fraught with controversy. As I said above, I think that’s a good thing. I don’t know how it will shake out, but I don’t have a problem with a “splintered” LGBT movement in which different groups push competing/conflicting agendas. The closest the movement ever became to being unified was over the issue of marriage equality, but that unity was the temporary exception rather than the rule, and I’m good with that.

    ======

    ** For all Litwin’s focus on ISIS to the exclusion of Canadian domestic issues, I would be careful to note that Litwin makes a distinction between anti-Islamist sophisticates and anti-Islam simpletons (a distinction often lost in US politics) arguing that a people (Muslims) and a religion (Islam) are being vilified by the simpletons in the same way that Jews and Judaism have been historically vilified.

    Reply
  8. posted by JohnInCA on

    … I’m sorry, but why should I care about all these examples of local politics?

    They’ll work themselves out for good or ill.

    Reply

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