Queers for Palestine?

Of all the slogans chanted and displayed at anti-Israel rallies over the past month, surely "Queers for Palestine" ranks as the most oxymoronic.



The answer, at
least for some of those on the left side of the spectrum,
is one found in the early rhetoric of the Gay Liberation
Front, the leading gay rights organization to emerge
after the Stonewall riots. The GLF was, in the words
of historian Paul Berman, the “gay wing of the
revolutionary alliance” that in the 1970s challenged
the liberal consensus and came to be known as the
“New Left.”

GLF leaders, for
instance, played an instrumental role in the creation of
the Venceremos Brigade, which dispatched starry-eyed
American radicals to pick sugar cane in Cuba as a show
of solidarity with the regime of Fidel Castro. (Like
the Palestinian Authority, Communist Cuba didn’t
exactly return the kindness of its gay sympathizers;
for decades it interned gays and HIV-positive
in prison labor camps). The GLF allied
itself with a whole host of radical organizations
(like the murderous Black Panthers) whose role in the
struggle for gay equality was tenuous at best. And the very
name of the GLF was adopted from the National
Liberation Front, the moniker of the Vietnamese

Why does this
history matter now? Although you will find few out-and-out
Marxists in the leadership of gay organizations today, most
gay activists still view the world with the same sort
of “oppression” complex epitomized by
the early radicals who led the GLF. They believe gay people
to be “oppressed,” and hold that any other
group claiming the same victim status should earn the
support of gays.

It’s for
this reason that every major gay organization was so
hesitant to talk about the overwhelming support among
African-Americans to ban gay marriage in California,
and why the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force went
so far as to commission a bogus study ostensibly
refuting that disturbing statistic itself. In the
estimation of the gay rights establishment,
African-Americans, like gays, are
“oppressed,” and there is no room for enemies
on the left. 

Tags: Politics