Category: LGBT Issues

The #MeToo Movement in the Middle East

The #MeToo movement against sexual assault and rape has animated women throughout the world.  In the Middle East too, despite the wars led by authoritarian states, various imperialist powers,  and extremist religious fundamentalist forces, a #MeToo movement is rising. How . . .

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An Israeli twist on homophobia and racism

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At the mass rally held by the LGBT movement at Rabin Square on July 22, 2018, protesters not only demanded to be accepted as different, but also called for full equality. They cried out against the injustice caused by a government that excludes homosexual men from having children through a surrogate mother.

Intersectionality and Divergence

My Life in the LGBT and Labor Movements

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Looking back on nearly 25 years of involvement in the LGBT movement, and 45+ years in the labor movement, I am struck by the way those paths have crossed, intertwined and separated over the long term. This arc took me into unexpected territory, where queer identities, once deeply hidden and guarded, have achieved wide mainstream acceptance and support, while organized labor, once powerful and self-confident, now struggles to maintain its existence.

Labor and "Pussy Power"

 ImageThe Women’s March was glorious. Yes,  I disagree with much said in the speeches, but that wasn’t an issue because like the vast majority of people who participated, I didn’t go to hear celebrities or politicians talk.  I participated to show my rage and frustration at Donald Trump and the policies he and the GOP are preparing to impose on us. Women like me, disgusted, dismayed, enraged at Donald Trump’s misogyny, which the GOP has endorsed, flooded to this demonstration.  

We brought family, friends, supporters, male and female, protesting the human rights and climate deniers whom Trump has brought with him into office. There was some diversity but this was primarily a march of young White women who carried signs about their bodies, “Pussy power” being the most prominent at the New York march.  “Pussy power” strikes me as especially apt. Like women who fight patriarchy, it’s naughty. It evokes the strength in numbers. Most of all, the march birthed a new social movement which will owe its life to pussy.

Working Class Power & Feminism: An Interview with Alia Amirali

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Writer and labor organizer, Sara Jaffri, and left-wing political worker and the Punjab Deputy General Secretary of the Awami Workers Party, Alia Amirali talk organizing, feminism and class in Pakistan.

Orlando: Making Sense of a Mass Killing

ImageWhat could have brought Omar Matten, on the night of June 12, 2016, to coldly murder 49 patrons at Pulse, an Orlando Florida nightclub that catered to a mostly Black and Latino, gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) clientele? Primarily, his hatred of the LGBT people and the people of color he befriended discreetly at night, a hatred fueled by the hyper-masculinity, homophobia, and racism of his day work environment. He was an employee of G4S, a giant private military contractor, infamous for abuses against immigrants.

All Cops Are Bastards, Even The Gay Ones

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The Stonewall riots kicked off in protest against a police raid on the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969. Especially after Orlando, we should resist the co-optation of Gay Pride and instead remember the revolutionary spirit of the queer and trans militants who fought against oppression and violence against them.

Orlando: We Will Not Be Silenced

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On Sunday 12 June, 49 people were murdered in an LGBT club in Orlando, Florida, in the largest mass shooting in US history.

At around 2am the attacker Omar Mateen entered the Pulse nightclub and opened fire; shortly after he took a number of people hostage, barricading them and himself in a bathroom. Police used an armoured vehicle to demolish the wall into the bathroom, before engaging in a gun battle in which Mateen was killed. 53 more people were injured in the attack. The victims ranged from 20 to 50 years old, and were apparently overwhelmingly from black and Latino communities.

Same-Sex Marriage: An Ambiguous Victory

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In the summer of 1994, my partner and I happened to be on vacation in Stockholm for the Pride celebration, so we joined in.  I remember it as a rather modest, subdued affair compared to the ebullient marches I remembered from New York and San Francisco. But what struck me most was the lesbian/gay federation’s emphasis on legal recognition for same-sex partnerships, at a time when Sweden banned sex in gay bathhouses. I thought these were upside-down priorities. Swedish same-sex couples would win in fact the right to register for partnership benefits in 1995, while the ban on bathhouse sex stayed on the books until 2004. What a curious country this is, I remember thinking.

U.S. Gay Rights Movement Mobilizes, Wins Victory against Discrimination

ImageThis article was originally written for the Swiss socialist newspaper solidaritéS for which I am a correspondent with the goal of giving activists there some sense of the recent fight for marriage equality in the United States. – DL

The U.S. gay rights movement won a tremendous victory in early April as governors and the state legislatures in Indiana and Arkansas were forced to back down and revise laws that would have discriminated against gay and lesbian couples.

My Deeply-Held Religious Convictions

Dedicated to Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act

An Early Activist Critiques Stalin’s 1934 Antihomosexual Law

[This article, titled “A Chapter of Russian Reaction,” translated into English here for the first time, was written in German by longtime homosexual activist Kurt Hiller (1885–1972) from London and published in the Swiss gay journal Der Kreis in 1946. Hiller had been active in Germany’s first homosexual-rights organization, the Wissenschaftlich-humanitäre Komitee (Scientific Humanitarian Committee), headed by Magnus Hirschfeld (1868–1935). Founded in 1897, the committee was Germany’s most prominent gay group.

Queering Socialism: An Interview with Alan Sears

We’re at an interesting (and terrible) moment where we’re witnessing attacks on most every gain working people have made for at least the last half century. The curious exception to that has been the advance of marriage and civil rights for gay and lesbian couples in many U.S. states and core imperialist countries.

The Killing of Clément Méric

     The killing of Clément Méric, an 18-year-old anti-fascist activist and member of a student union, by a young fascist skinhead in Paris on May 6th has shocked French public opinion.

An Ascending Trajectory?: Ten of the Most Important Social Conflicts in the United States in 2012

     [This article was written for a foreign audience, so I have spelled out some things that might otherwise be taken for granted when writing for an American reading public.]

Multiculturalism vs. human rights?

Multiculturalism vs. human rights?

Defending multiculturalism but warning against its excesses

Multiculturalism has many positive benefits. It defends the right to the different, which is a very important and precious human right, especially for those people whose difference has historically resulted in social marginalization and exclusion: including women, black, disabled and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Symposium on Gays and the Left (Part I)

Thomas Harrison and Joanne Landy

Queer Reflections

LET ME USE MY SPACE in part simply as memory, reflections by a homosexual whose sexual orientation, at 78, is academic.

Left-Wing Homosexuality: Emancipation, Sexual Liberation, and Identity Politics

Socialism without fucking is dull and lifeless.

— The heroine, WR: The Mysteries of the Organism,
a 1971 film directed by Dusan Makavejev.

Gay Leftie Seeks Straight Friends

THE PRESENCE ON MANY CAMPUSES of a significant number of liberals ("Of course gay people are entitled to the full rights of citizenship") proved critical in allowing lesbian and gay studies to gain a toehold. But as I kept discovering, unpleasantly, a willingness to grant us basic rights wasn't remotely the equivalent of actually wanting to know about our lives — let alone of believing that our distinctive perspectives might have anything of importance to say to them.

Can the Left Ignore Gay Liberation?

THE JESUITS TRAINED ME WELL. My high school speech and debate coach taught me how to speak in complete paragraphs and to construct what he described as a "seamless" argument. Many years later, a close friend and fellow historian used the same word in reference to my historical writing. He described one of my books as a "seamless" narrative. Well, that skill, if I have it, has eluded me as I've tried to compose my contribution to this discussion. So, instead, I offer a series of disconnected, but I hope relevant, observations.

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