Beyond The LGBT Platitudes: Democrats Over The Rainbow

As the historic Democratic National Committee Convention (DNCC) ended in Philadelphia, with the delegates, celebrities, elected officials, and the candidates returning to their daily lives, as the campaign rhetoric of four days died down and began to fade from memory, and as the LGBT community at large reflects on its unprecedented level of visibility during the proceedings, it’s a propitious moment to look beyond the flowery platitudes and high-flown pronouncements of equality and diversity, to examine the real issues facing LGBT people and the Democrats, as they seek to retain the White House.  Each session of the DNCC was marked by acknowledgments of the LGBT community and our ongoing struggles to be free of fear, free of injury, and free to be true, equal participants in American life.  Political figures from all levels of the party celebrated the accomplishments of the LGBT rights movement, and the dangers we still face, invoking Stonewall and Orlando, polemically decrying the massacre, even as they promised a brighter future ahead.  As Hillary Clinton enters the fight of her public life against Republican nominee Donald Trump, how does she, and her party, take us over the figurative rainbow once the election has been won?

Read More

LGBT Refugees Flee ISIS, Find Nowhere Safe

Among the massive tide of refugees desperately trying to escape the sinister depredations of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria(ISIS) terrorist organization, as it continues to occupy large areas of Iraq and Syria, despite the loss of nearly a quarter of the land it previously captured, are many members of those countries’ LGBT communities.  As they evacuate their former homelands, where ISIS has executed gay men in utterly horrifying ways, these uprooted individuals are discovering there may be no real sanctuary for them, as they seemingly face violence at every turn.  In countries like Turkey, young gay men are arriving daily, often without documentation, frightened, uncertain of their futures.   Believing they’ve left the worst of the horror behind them, the nightmare often catches up, with sometimes fatal outcomes.  One such young man was Mohammed Wisam Sankari, who arrived in Istanbul last year, just ahead of ISIS forces.  Understanding the danger he faced, Sankari left his native Syria, looking for a sustainable place to call home, where he could live as his authentic self without fear.   It was not to be.

Read More