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West Bank, Gaza no haven for LGBT Palestinians

‘Pink washing’ allegation against Israel doesn’t wash

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Tel Aviv, Israel, gay news, Washington Blade, gay pride

Tel Aviv Pride. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

The recent opinion editorial “Seattle mayor’s trip highlights dangers of pink washing” tried to make the point that the gay mayor of Seattle’s address in Israel at the 40th anniversary of Tel Aviv Pride was done to distract attention from Israel’s control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and its impact on Palestinians.

The author contends that the mayor’s visit to Israel and the West Bank was nothing more than “pink washing” a pejorative term for highlighting Israel’s pro-LGBT policies without recognizing the pain and suffering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has caused to both sides. This is nonsense.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray visited the only Democratic state in the Middle East and the only one that protects the rights of all minorities, including gay and lesbian citizens. His visit to Israel as well as time spent in the West Bank, where he experienced firsthand the challenges facing the Israeli and the Palestinian populations is one that is often taken by American elected officials to understand the daily security threats the Israeli people endure. As the Syrian war continues to rage on at Israel’s northern border and the threat of ISIS grows throughout the Middle East, Israel’s strong and vibrant democracy is needed more than ever.

While in Tel Aviv, Mayor Murray spoke at a conference marking the 40th anniversary of Tel Aviv Pride, which reflected the accomplishments and continuing work that Israel needs to do to achieve true equality. This conference was hosted by the U.S.-based NGO A Wider Bridge, which promotes LGBT support for Israel and the Agudah, Israel’s version of the Human Rights Campaign. Israel’s record on LGBT issues has been one of the strong hallmarks of a democratic and civil society and includes being one of the first countries to allow gays to serve openly in the military, allowing equality at workplaces and recognizing same sex marriages performed outside of Israel. Tel Aviv’s vibrant gay community is known for its 150,000 strong Pride march as well as a vibrant LGBT center supported by politicians of all stripes.

Finally the author talks about the treatment of the Palestinian people. While the majority of Israelis recognize the need for a two-state solution, the gay community has been some of the most vocal in their support. While pointing fingers at Israel though, and the Israeli people, the author seems to miss the fact that to be gay in the West Bank or Gaza is a very scary proposition for most Palestinians. Since the Oslo Peace Agreement, Israel has given the Palestinian Authority civil authority over the West Bank, and since 2005’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas has been the governing authority there. Neither the Palestinian Authority nor Hamas recognizes LGBT rights and has maintained a hostile environment for gay citizens forcing them to flee their homes. Many of these gay Palestinians have found refuge in Europe and North America.

Israel is not perfect, and Israel has much further to go to provide equality for all, but to say that Israel’s acceptance, recognition and freedom of LGBT citizens is somehow “pink washing” is trying to divert attention from the poor record for LGBT Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

 

Christopher Scott McCannell is a member of the advisory board of A Wider Bridge, a group that promotes connections between LGBT Americans and Israelis. In addition he serves on the board of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington.

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Kyle

    July 10, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Yes, LGBT people in Tel Aviv have it better than they do in Nablus. But everyone person in Tel Aviv has it better than people in Nablus. Are we really going to accept the tiny token of better acceptance of LGBT people as license to overrun the remainder of Palestine? I’m pretty sure enacting a slow-motion genocide of the Palestinian people is how NOT to win the Middle East over the progressive thinking on social issues.

    • Imho

      July 13, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Pretty distorted way of presenting your concerns. You can accept that Israel has done a tremendous job at evolving lbgtq rights and cultures. It is not a tiny token. And…. Accepting that would not diminish your other concerns. Rather, you would sound more credible rather that simply “anti Israel.”

      • Kyle

        July 14, 2015 at 9:10 am

        The thing is, I am pro-Israel. As in I want Israel to continue to exist. But Israel is doing everything in its power to alienate any allies, actual or potential, by its unchecked elimination of the remainder of Palestine. The West Bank settlements need to end and need to be dismantled, and the lands restored to the Palestinian people. Gaza needs to be freed. It is essentially an open air prison, into which Israel rains down destruction at will. How can I celebrate the “freedoms” of gays in Tel Aviv when Palestinian children are mowed down while playing soccer on the beach?

    • zionist&proud

      July 14, 2015 at 3:01 am

      As a gay man living in Tel Aviv, I cherish the rights that I have that no gay man living in Nablus could dream about, like openly criticizing my government while holding my boyfriend’s hand at a pro-marriage equality rally.

  2. Brooks Austin

    July 11, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    I find it hypocritical that this author decries pink washing as nonsense, then engages in pink washing themselves. This article is a textbook example of the hypocrisy of pink washers. And the notion that the people of Israel face daily threats to their security is such a load of rubbish, I find it hard to think anyone takes it seriously.

    • Imho

      July 13, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Seems like you’re just hurling the term without questioning. The reality is that Israel is a relatively welcoming place for queers. The Arab world, anywhere, is unwelcoming and often dangerous. This is not “pinkwashing,” it’s the reality for lbgtq people in these very different cultures.

      • uhhuhh

        July 13, 2015 at 3:57 pm

        I don’t call it welcoming for Netanyahu to use our electronic eavesdropping to identify gay Palestinians and out them if they don’t become Israeli snitches.

        • Imho

          July 13, 2015 at 4:26 pm

          Perhaps true, though I doubt it. More importantly, queers in Palestinian territories and Arab countries in general are hounded, harassed, threatened and sometimes killed by their own families, and thrown off buildings by extremists in the name of Islam. In Israel, sodomy laws were overturned even before in the U.S., there are anti discrimination laws in employment, right to serve openly in the military and the legislature. Yes, there’s a ways to go in this area and others. But painting a black and white picture and demonizing Israel is dishonest, distorts credibility and doesn’t help anyone.

          • uhhuhh

            July 13, 2015 at 6:07 pm

            First, I’m not sure why you think I need “educating” about any of that. I also know that there is no such thing as civil marriage because marriage has been handed to the ultra-orthodox to control, and they don’t permit same-sex marriages. I also know that gay Israelis thus have to scour the planet for another country that will allow them to marry if they wish to get married. I also know that a bill to allow civil marriage was just rejected in the Knesset.

            Second, I don’t know what it is that you supposedly doubt. The campaign to identify and out gay Palestinians was widely reported, including in the Guardian and New York Times.

            You and this article author are the one painting black and white picture. I notice you didn’t mention the ultra-orthodox throwing their own feces at Jerusalem pride either.

          • Imho

            July 13, 2015 at 6:31 pm

            Right…. Worst country in the world. Probably best you don’t visit after all. Cheers.

          • uhhuhh

            July 13, 2015 at 7:54 pm

            “Worst country in the world”? LOL! Omg listen to yourself. “Watch me set up a straw man and play victim!” I posted one negative comment to provide a hint of balance to this ridiculous article, and you launch into a massive propaganda crusade. Please don’t kid yourself and imagine that you have any semblance of balance.

            P.S. I like how you couldn’t refute anything I said.

          • Imho

            July 13, 2015 at 8:02 pm

            “Negative” is your operative word. Cheers! Bye.

          • uhhuhh

            July 13, 2015 at 8:57 pm

            “Propagandize” is yours. I didn’t re-elect the warmongering racist.

  3. uhhuhh

    July 11, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    I’m soooooo over the sniveling sycophants for that racist warmonger Netanyahu demanding that American LGBTs hate Palestinians as much as they do and fawn over that Likud bigot. The Israelis re-elected the bigot. The only remaining alternative is divestment and boycotting.

    • Imho

      July 13, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      This is not about demanding that we should hate Palestinians. It’s about recognizing that the situation there is not black and white. You can sympathize with both “sides”, recognize wrongs committed by both, and still recognize that Israel has a pretty wonderful queer scene that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else in the region.

      • uhhuhh

        July 13, 2015 at 3:53 pm

        I disagree. It is all about propagandizing the gays and goading us into praising Netanyahu. This clumsy campaign to exploit our sexual orientation has been going on for several years now. In its most toxic form, it smugly attacks us as bad gays and accuses us of not caring about gay rights. I find the entire marketing strategy crass and insulting.

        • Imho

          July 13, 2015 at 4:17 pm

          I disagree. It’s really not “all about propagandizing”. It really is a different culture and different mindset around queer issues. Perhaps you’ll find yourself visiting there sometime. I think both “sides” would appreciate people visiting with an open mind.

          • uhhuhh

            July 13, 2015 at 6:03 pm

            Sorry, but I have no intention of visiting and subjecting myself to the barrage of intelligence-insulting propaganda that visitors are subjected to.

            And, yes, exploiting gay rights is a propaganda tactic that’s been around for several years. Netanyahu cares about gay rights only to the extent they can be used as a political wedge. Then he suddenly forgets about gay rights when interfering with the US presidential election in an effort to show an anti-gay bigot down our throats as president. Spare us the propagandizing.

          • Imho

            July 14, 2015 at 3:35 am

            It’s not about “propagandizing.” And yes, activists across the spectrum in both communities would love for people to visit and have expressed that.

            Interesting that you have “no intention of visiting” but are so sure of the “propaganda that visitors are subjected to.” Sounds like you have NO first hand knowledge. Perhaps you’ll find an opening in your heart some day.

          • uhhuhh

            July 14, 2015 at 12:23 pm

            “Perhaps you’ll find an opening in your heart some day.”

            LOL! Yeah, it’s so heartless of me to oppose the construction of illegal settlements and the endless warmongering, anti-Muslim bigotry, and anti-Arab racism of Netanyahu and the Israeli right.

            OMG, OMG, OMG, I posted non-flattering observations to give mild balance to a ridiculously one-side glorification of Israel. I must be stopped! That must be shut down! It’s undermining the aggressive propaganda mission!

            Save your condescension for someone who is vulnerable to your pathetic effort at manipulation.

          • Imho

            July 14, 2015 at 12:58 pm

            Have a nice day.

  4. zionist&proud

    July 14, 2015 at 2:57 am

    As a gay man living in Tel Aviv, I can openly kiss my boyfriend in the streets while wearing a t shirt critical of my government and not get harassed by the police or the public. I would not be allowed to do that in any of my neighboring Arab countries or in the West Bank or Gaza Strip.

    That’s not ‘pink-washing’. That’s just stating the obvious about the homophobic, anti-free speech region I live in.

    • Kyle

      July 14, 2015 at 10:22 am

      The facts of your life in Tel Aviv are not pinkwashing. You have a good life and I’m happy for you.

      Pinkwashing is when governments and other entities take the facts of lives like yours and use those to try to propagandize the public and insure US complicity in whatever policies the Israeli government pursues, up to and including the elimination of the Palestinian territories. That doesn’t change the fact that the facts of your life are good. It just means that there has been the selective choosing of those facts, to the exclusion of other facts, for propagandizing purposes. That’s what pinkwashing is.

      • zionist&proud

        July 15, 2015 at 2:08 am

        Pinkwashing is a term developed by critics of Israel who wanted to portray Israel in the worst way so they go after every positive element of Israeli society accusing it of ulterior motives.

        Pinkwashing denies the tens of thousands of Israelis who bravely came out to their parents and friends before ‘coming out’ was a socially-accepted form of expression.

        Pinkwashing was a term coined by a college professor at a university in NYC who had a history of anti-Israel rhetoric.

        You call it pinkwashing. I call it for what it is: Good old-fashioned anti-Semitism.

        • Kyle

          July 15, 2015 at 9:13 am

          Criticizing Israel is not the same as anti-Semitism because Israel is not the same as the Jews. The Jews are an ethnic group who are found all over the world. Israel is a nation state in the Middle East which has a population consisting of Jews, Muslim and Christian Palestinians, etc. When people conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, they are not offering anything substantive to the argument. They just want to shut the whole discussion down. Well, guess what? You’ve succeeded. The discussion is shut down. It’s clear we cannot even agree to disagree.

          • Imho

            July 15, 2015 at 12:26 pm

            That’s not entirely true. Sometimes, there is obsessive criticism of Israel to the point of demonizing or holding her to standards not applied to other countries. And sometimes, yes, criticism of Israel does indeed serve to mask anti-Semitism. When there are more resolutions at the UNHRC against Israel than all other countries combined (China, Syria, North Korea, Saudi Arabia included) something is askew. When there are calls to boycott Israel, while ignoring abuses elsewhere, it indeed smacks of more than meets the eye.

  5. James Menop

    July 30, 2015 at 12:41 pm

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Opinions

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ clouds Powell’s legacy

A final act of redemption

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Former Secretary of State Colin Powell (Photo by Susan Montgomery via Bigstock)

The legacy of General Colin Powell is complicated for those in the LGBTQ community. On the one hand, we celebrate that Powell was the first African-American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State. On the other, he is also the person who disobeyed the strategic choice of his Commander in Chief, Bill Clinton, on gays in the military. 

Powell stood on the steps of the Pentagon reporting how many calls had been received opposing lifting the ban. He testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the service of openly gay troops would harm unit cohesion. He argued that race was a “benign characteristic” and being gay was not. Congress codified into statute what had been a regulatory ban on gays in the military, making the law that much harder to change. Almost 14,000 lesbian, gay and bisexual service members were dismissed under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a rate of two-four service members every day. Some were subjects of witch hunts. Others faced criminal charges. Many endured harassment, assault and threats. Private First Class Barry Winchell was murdered.

Michelle Benecke and I knew when we founded Servicemembers Legal Defense Network that for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to be repealed, we would have to either win the support or neutralize the opposition of Powell, one of the previously undisclosed strategies described in my new book, “Mission Possible.” Michelle and I first met him at the Arlington, Va., headquarters of America’s Promise. We offered to brief him on the ban’s implementation as he was being asked on the Sunday shows about the law’s efficacy. He agreed to see us.

The question was whether we could find common ground on which to build a new consensus. My theory was that Powell genuinely believed that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a better policy than the one before it. After all, he had testified before the Senate, “We will not ask, we will not witch-hunt, we will not seek to learn orientation.” 

“General Powell,” I said, “we have received nearly a thousand calls from service members who have been impacted by ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ We have documented that most are being asked point blank about their sexual orientation in contravention of ‘Don’t Ask.’” 

“That’s not supposed to happen,” he said.

That was our first conversation. We might have been able to better enforce some of the meager gains under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” if we had been able to prevail upon Powell to help us, but he wasn’t ready. 

In 2003, he told Teen Ink magazine that while discrimination is wrong, “I think it’s a different matter with respect to the military, because you’re essentially told who you’re going to live with, who you’re going to sleep next to.”

Four years later, he called me, prompted by an opinion essay in The New York Times that I had sent him. “Second Thoughts on Gays in the Military”—written by retired Army General John Shalikashvili, Powell’s successor as chairman of the Joint Chiefs—called for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Powell and I spoke for 45 minutes. “I agree with General Shalikashvili that America has changed and is ready for gays to serve openly,” he said. My heart leapt. “I am not convinced, however, that military commanders are ready for that change.” My heart sunk.

It was clear to me, though, that he was moving in the right direction.  I put it on the line. “Sir, you will be a critical voice on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ when it comes up for debate again. I need you to support repeal if we are going to win. Do you know that?”

“Yes,” he said.

Finally, on Feb. 5, 2010, 10 months before final repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and days after Admiral Mike Mullen had testified before the Senate that he supported repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Powell released a statement. “If the chiefs and commanders are comfortable with moving to change the policy, then I support it. Attitudes and circumstances have changed. Society is reflected in the military. It’s where we get our soldiers from.” The stage was set for final repeal.

We too often look for heroes and villains when the record can be complicated. Powell deserves opprobrium for defying Clinton, rallying opposition, and allowing 60,000 troops under his command to suffer the indignity of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He deserves credit, though, for changing his mind. I admired his willingness to speak with me over nearly two decades. I find that the best leaders engage in a lifelong process of learning and challenging assumptions. Powell will receive deserved accolades for his service to our nation, but for us, his legacy includes a profound betrayal with a final act of redemption.

C. Dixon Osburn is author of ‘Mission Possible: The Story of Repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’’

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‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal serves as a guide for enacting equality legislation

Equality Act supporters should take cues from Senate moderates

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Equality legislation is close to passing in Congress, but close isn’t good enough. “Close” won’t change anything for the LGBTQ Americans who face discrimination every day. Senate Democrats and Republicans must make a push to negotiate. With a reach on both sides to find common ground, we can move equality legislation from “close” to “done deal.”

Some Democrats are waiting for the filibuster to end—despite clear evidence that they lack the votes to end it. Some Republicans are practicing a tried-and-true brand of obstructionism. To break this deadlock, we should look to the successful, bipartisan repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) as a guide.

The DADT repeal is the single reference point for LGBTQ advocates for overcoming the Senate filibuster. Other victories have been in the courts; notably, the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell decision that made gay marriage legal nationwide.

Before Obergefell, advocates had success in the state legislatures. I worked on campaigns for the freedom to marry in Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York and elsewhere, finding common ground between Democrats and Republicans who thought it was impossible to negotiate on marriage. Eventually, enough people from both parties came together to pass marriage laws in a majority of states.

Working together at the state level is one thing. Congress is another.

Despite Democrats’ control of the White House, Senate and House, negotiations are failing at the federal level. So, we lets look to ancient history—the 2010 repeal of DADT—for guidance on reaching 60 votes in the Senate.

The most important lesson from the DADT repeal is that Senate moderates must champion the cause and lead negotiations. The more partisan figures on both sides need to step back. Overcoming the filibuster is a job for moderates, not ideologues.

As it happens, the hero of the DADT repeal is still a senator and can help. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine led the negotiations on DADT repeal.

Senator Collins supports the Equality Act in principle and even sponsored a version of the bill in past. However, the current version is too extreme for Sen. Collins, as a result, she has withdrawn as a co-sponsor. The current bill has also foundered with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, another important figure in the repeal of DADT.

The fact that moderate, pro-LGBTQ senators are unable to back the current version of the Equality Act should send a clear message to Democrats that we need to make reasonable changes to the bill. So far, the message is being ignored.

On the Democratic side, independent Sen. Joe Lieberman was essential to the repeal of DADT. There certainly were passionate, liberal Democrats who could have asserted themselves during the debate. But then, the bill would have taken longer to pass, or even might have failed.

The lesson is clear. Listen to the moderates. Let them lead this charge.

Another important lesson from the repeal of DADT is to be flexible in the legislative strategy. DADT repeal was originally an amendment to a large defense authorization bill. Rather than give up, Collins and Lieberman fought and saved DADT repeal from defeat by pulling out key provisions they knew could pass on their own and making them a standalone measure. Repeal passed with bipartisan support.

The current version of the Equality Act tries to do too much. That’s why it can’t win support from moderate Republicans who have legitimate concerns the bill might suppress free speech or shut down religious charities.  

Over 60 senators can agree on the basic premise of the Equality Act. They would gladly vote to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ Americans in employment, housing, and public accommodations, so long as the law didn’t intrude on the First Amendment.

If the far left believes that our country has too much religious liberty, they can deal with that in future legislation. But so long as we have a filibuster—and, there’s no indication it will end any time soon—the Equality Act needs to reflect our society’s current views on religious liberty.  

The DADT repeal passed with 65 votes in the Senate, overcoming the filibuster. Let’s replicate that victory by using the same playbook. Moderates: Take the lead.

Tyler Deaton is the senior advisor to the American Unity Fund, a conservative nonprofit organization working to advance LGBTQ freedom and religious freedom

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LGBTQ people are being hunted down in Afghanistan

Homosexuality punishable by death under Taliban Sharia law interpretation

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Two men in Kabul, Afghanistan, in July 2021 (Photo courtesy of Dr. Ahmad Qais Munzahim)

Kabul was known as one of the few “liberal” cities in Afghanistan. The word liberal is in quotation marks, and inflected, because it is liberal compared to the rest of the country. Now that the Taliban has taken over, most people who expressed themselves differently and openly are forced to adhere to Sharia law, completely change their ways, hide their identity, or be killed.

The U.S. State Department reported in 2020 that even before the Taliban took power in August, LGBTQ people in Afghanistan faced “discrimination, assault and rape” and “homosexuality was widely seen as taboo and indecent.” Laws against lesbian, gay and transgender people made their existence illegal and punishable by up to two years in jail. Those laws were not always enforced, but they did leave LGBTQ people at risk of extortion and abuse by authorities, as reported by the U.K. government.

Even with the discrimination and abuse, LGBTQ people still had a sliver of space in society. Nemat Sadat, an LGBTQ Afghan author living in the United States said that gay, lesbian and transgender people helped the country’s cultural life develop since the Taliban’s last rule 20 years ago. But, most of these people built their lives quietly.

Now with the Taliban regime, their sliver of space in society is gone, there is no room to live quietly as an openly LGBTQ person. Under the Taliban’s interpretation of Sharia law, homosexuality is punished by death.

In an interview with Reuters, Waheedullah Hashimi, a top decision maker for the Taliban said, “there will be no democratic system at all because it does not have a base in our country,” and continued to say, “what type of political system should we apply in Afghanistan is clear. It is sharia law and that is it.”

One source spoke to a 20-year-old university student who is lesbian in Afghanistan. Her family accepted her as a lesbian, but now the new Taliban leadership has put the lives of all of her family at risk. There is a new surge of violence against any lesbian, gay and transgender people. This includes anyone speculated of being lesbian, gay, or trans, and those who support them.

This young lesbian woman has gone into hiding. She is part of hundreds of LGBTQ people in Afghanistan who are pleading with advocates and organizations outside Afghanistan for help to escape the Taliban tyranny.

Nemat Sadat shares stories of lesbian, gay and trans people in hiding. He shared a story of a gay man who watched from his hiding place in the ceiling as Taliban fighters beat the friend who refused to disclose his location.  

LGBTQ people in Afghanistan fear the risk of being arrested, beaten and killed. The Taliban made it clear that it is enforcing its strict religious laws against Afghanistan’s LGBTQ citizens. In an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper, one Taliban judge said there were only two punishments for homosexuality: “stoning or being crushed under a wall.”

LGBTQ people in Afghanistan are reporting that their friends, partners and members of their community are being attacked and raped. They also stated that Islamic fundamentalists and riotous groups are encouraged by the new tyranny and are on the hunt for LGBTQ people.

Another source shared that a gay man was targeted for his sexuality and then raped by his male attackers. That is a terrible paradox. He was raped by his male attackers, who criminalizing him for having same sex relations.

LGBTQ people are in hiding, desperately trying to get out of the country, and trying to erase any proof of their queer identity.

They feel abandoned by the international LGBTQ community. The Taliban is proving that the Western nations have normalized relations to their government. The Taliban and their supporters see this a proof of their victory. This leaves LGBTQ people defeated and fearing torture and death.

The U.S. government and other Western countries evacuated many people out of Afghanistan, including journalists, women’s rights activists and those who worked with foreigners. But, LGBTQ activists said that nothing has been done for them. A source says about her situation, “we will definitely be killed. We are asking to be evacuated immediately from Afghanistan.” To date, no safe route has been found.

Even underground measures to help LGBTQ people are challenging and near impossible. The Rainbow Railroad is a non-governmental organization helping LGBTQ people around the world escape persecution. Executive Director Kimahli Powell said evacuating LGBTQ people from Afghanistan is especially hard as they are often alone, in hiding, and unable to contact each other. If routes to get them out is nearly impossible, that still means those routes are somewhat possible. As difficult as it may be, we must find pathways to save these people and get them out.

The Taliban regime has established itself, knowing with certainty that the world will stand aside, albeit condemning and protesting, but not intervening. This is empowering jihadists across the world, especially in the Middle East. The Taliban has many allies and admirers, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas. 

The leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, travelled from Palestinian territories to meet with Taliban leaders in Qatar. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad has a history of ties to the Taliban, even with radicals joining each other’s organizations. Very public statements of congratulations were made between leaders of the Taliban, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and all with full Iranian support.

The increase in brazen forcefulness of these groups reaches beyond Afghanistan, and spreads to the lands dominated by other similar groups. This causes an escalation of the threats to anyone who opposes Sharia law or who lives differently than what Sharia law allows. LGBTQ people in these lands are in peril. 

If we do not help LGBTQ people in Afghanistan, the lives of LGBTQ people under other similar tyrannies face increased uncertainty and danger.

Since posting this video, I have been receiving direct messages from LGBTQ people in hiding in Afghanistan, and those who are seeking to be evacuated. They all share harrowing experiences of being attacked, raped, and threatened by Taliban, Islamic State and bullying groups.

Yuval David is an innovative actor, host and filmmaker with a creative mantra to entertain, uplift and inspire. He is a captivating performer and compelling storyteller who uses his platform for sharing narratives that affect social change, specifically on behalf of highly respected U.S. and international organizations that raise awareness for the marginalized and under-represented, inspired by his LGBTQ+ and Jewish identity, and his Israeli-American roots.

He can be reached through social media

YouTube.com/YuvalDavid

Instagram.com/Yuval_David_

Facebook.com/YuvalDavid

Twitter.com/YuvalDavid

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