February 1, 2017 at 2:32 pm EST | by Ayaz Shalal Hassan
Trump’s ban means I can’t attend HRC conference
Ayaz Shalal, gay news, Washington Blade, Trump travel ban

Ayaz Shalal, on right, a human rights activist from Kurdistan who advocates for LGBT and women’s rights, visited the U.S. in August 2016. (Photo courtesy of Ayaz Shalal)

I still cannot call Donald Trump the president of the United States. I have been dreaming of him lately. It is so scary how this guy has the ability to enter your dreams too. This man is a danger to humans and all humanity. He is making the most irrational decisions in United States history. I still do not understand barring people from entering the country when the United States itself is the country of immigrants. Syrians cannot enter the country when Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian immigrant. Albert Einstein was an immigrant, and his own wife too! Almost the whole nation is immigrants.

Trump prevents Iraqis from entering the country because he thinks they might be terrorists, but he does not prevent anyone from all of the Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia even though Sept. 11 was done by Saudi citizens. Osama bin Laden himself was a Saudi. These kinds of decisions will really hurt the U.S.

There is absolutely no reason to prevent me from entering the U.S. I have been there more than seven times before and each time was a great success for me personally and was very beneficial for the organizations I was visiting. I have given speeches at the White House, Congress, the World Bank, the U.N. and many other international and local organizations and companies in the U.S. Those speeches changed my life and contributed to my personal and professional growth. They made me the powerful person I am today. They helped me achieve what I have always dreamed of.

I am in touch with more than 300 young leaders who have similar stories like mine. Now, I cannot come to a Human Rights Campaign conference in April that I was invited to attend because of Trump’s decisions.

The United States is powerful because of its relationship and connection with the rest of the world. We are not in the Middle Ages and should not be building walls around our cities and countries. We are in 2017. If Mexicans want to come to America, they will do it even if Trump builds 10 walls.

You cannot make America great if you repress LGBTQI people. If there is no fairness, no respect and no freedom, there will be no development and no prosperity. The LGBTQI community around the world is very powerful and it is not something you can forget because of your personal problems and preferences. If you think LGBTQI community members do not deserve to be respected because of who they are, then you really have educational problems and need to do more research. I can volunteer to help you with that.

You also cannot prosper as a country if you disrespect women. Very simply, women in the United States are more than half of the population. Do you know what you are you losing?

Dear Mr. Trump, you are not a man living with his beautiful wife in his fancy house anymore. You are the man responsible for the lives and futures of millions and millions of people. Please, please, please think twice or even more before making your decisions and take into consideration those who are different than you and those who you are affecting. There might come a day when you will be in their place.

Ayaz Shalal Hassan is the deputy director of programs for the Rasan Organization, which advocates on behalf of women and other minority groups in Iraqi Kurdistan. He is based in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq.

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