The Audre Lorde Project (ALP), FIERCE, Queers for Economic Justice, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project write to express our extreme disappointment and concern with the NYC LGBT Center's decision to cancel the Israeli Apartheid Week's event and to disallow Siege Busters from continuing to meet at the Center.
Our four organizations recently hosted an event as part of the Palestinian Queer Activist Tour on February 18th. Co-sponsored by the South Asian Lesbian Gay Association (SALGA), Q-Wave, and the Gay Asian Pacific Islander Men of New York (GAPIMNY), the event featured alQwas for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society and ASWAT Palestinian Gay Women. Reflective of the history of ALP’s dialogue with Palestinian queer activists over the last decade, the panel drew over a hundred LGBTQ folks of color and allies and resulted in a rich, fruitful discussion about the intersections of sexuality, culture, race, class, nationalism, and colonial occupation. This event made clear to us that our constituencies are eagerly interested in and in need of community spaces where they can be educated about the relevant issues and debates regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and where community members can openly discuss the ways in which these issues have impacted them on a personal level.
We are aware that you have received many statements and letters detailing the many ways that the Israeli Occupation of Palestine is a LGBTSTGNCQ issue. As organizations also working in service of NYC’s LGBTSTGNCQ community and movements, we believe that the LGBT Center should be a space where all experiences of oppression and struggles for liberation are valued.
Since its establishment, the Center has been a space that our communities and movements have sought to access for support against isolation, safety from homophobia and transphobia, and access to resources that we need to survive. By canceling the IAW event, you risk alienating many members who frequent your Center by sending a strong message to our communities and allies that the issues with which we struggle such as racial justice, anti-imperialism, immigration, economic justice, disability justice and militarization are not genuinely welcome to be discussed at the NYC LGBT Community Center.
We hope you will reconsider your decision in light of the polarization that it creates amongst our diverse community. We invite you to be in conversation with our organizations as you think through this issue. Furthermore, we hope you will engage your funders who oppose the IAW event with courage and accountability in support of the concerns voiced by the very individuals and communities who use the Center.
Audre Lorde Project, FIERCE, Queers for Economic Justice and Sylvia Rivera Law Project
The Audre Lorde Project would like to make a clarification to our recent statement regarding the NYC LGBT Center’s decision to cancel the Israeli Apartheid Week’s event, which has caused some misunderstanding amongst some of our community allies. In that statement, we make reference to the Palestinian Queer Activist Tour, an event we co-sponsored with Q-WAVE and GAPIMNY. Unfortunately, this reference led to some confusion around both Q-WAVE and GAPIMNY’s endorsement of the statement. To be clear, this reference, in no way implies either groups endorsement of our statement. We apologize for any confusion.