Showing posts with label Gay Death. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Death. Show all posts

July 24, 2019

Russian LGBT Activist Knived To Death


A prominent Russian LGBT activist who had been featured on a blocked website that encourages people to “hunt down” sexual minorities has been killed in St. Petersburg.
The website, inspired by the “Saw” horror film franchise and which encourages visitors to track down and assault people believed to be LGBT, was blocked in Russia last week. 
Yelena GrigoryevaDinar Idrisov / Facebook
Yelena Grigoriyeva was found with multiple stab wounds and signs of strangulation near her home over the weekend, fellow activists said on social media.
The activist had regularly received death threats and reported them to the police, who did nothing to protect her before she was murdered, fellow activist Dinar Idrisov wrote on Facebook on Monday.
“A reminder: Yelena was listed on the homophobic ‘Saw’ website which has long threatened LGBT activists across the country,” photojournalist Georgy Markov wrote.
Grigoriyeva had been stabbed at least eight times, the St. Petersburg Fontanka.ru news website reported.
A suspect in her killing was reported to have been detained. 
Grigoriyeva had maintained an active stance on a range of issues, according to the Mediazona news website. It reported that over the past year she had been detained at rallies against torture and the Chechen-Ingush land swap, as well as at LGBT protests.
Rights activists say violent homophobic attacks have become more frequent since Russia banned “homosexual propaganda” toward minors in 2013. Recent polling suggested that Russian attitudes toward equal rights for LGBT people were at a 14-year high.

             Image result for Yelena Grigoryeva




LGBT rights campaigner Yelena Grigoryeva Yelena Grigoryeva, an LGBT rights campaigner in Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg, has been killed, the local online newspaper Fontanka reported citing police.

She was found dead with multiple stab wounds on July 20 near her house and apparently was strangled, according to Fontanka as well as a Facebook post by opposition campaigner Dinar Idrisov and the Russian LGBT Network.

Idrisov said Grigoryeva had received multiple threats both online and offline.

Aside from LGBT causes, Grigoryeva opposed Russia’s seizure of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and took part in rallies in support of political prisoners.

"Recently she has frequently been a victim of violence and received murder threats," Idrisov said. Grigoryeva "filed complaints to the police regarding the violence and the threats, but there was no reaction."

It is not clear whether the police are investigating her death as a hate crime.

Based on reporting by the AFP, Fontanka, and Meduza.

Protests in Moscow Against "Putin, Lier"


More than 10,000 people have gathered in Moscow to protest against the controversial ban of some opposition candidates from Moscow city-council elections set for September. The July 20 rally was addressed by leading figures of the Russian nonparliamentary opposition, including anticorruption activist Aleksei Navalny and Lyubov Sobol, who is one of the excluded candidates.

{Radio Free Europe}

July 17, 2019

The Death of Michael Stewart At The Hands of Cops Changed That Community




  • By Matt Barker

It was just before three in the morning on 15 September 1983, and Michael Stewart was on his way back home to Brooklyn after a night out at the Pyramid Club in the East Village. Waiting for a train at the First Avenue station at 14th Street, the 25-year-old whipped out a pen and tagged one of the station’s tiled walls. He was spotted by a New York Transit Police patrol and after a brief chase, caught. Witnesses then reported seeing him beaten while cuffed, though the cops who detained him later claimed he simply fell while attempting to evade them. Heavily bruised and suffering from a cardiac arrest, he was taken to the nearby Bellevue Hospital, where he fell into a coma and died 13 days later.

The downtown arts community was possessed by a new-found spirit of solidarity and rage 
The arresting officers, all of whom were white, were charged with criminally negligent homicide, assault, and perjury, but those same witnesses who claimed to have seen the incident first-hand were unable to identify any particular officers as the perpetrators. Charges were downscaled and the policemen were put on trial solely for allowing Stewart to be beaten while in their custody. An initial seven-month grand jury investigation than had to be dropped after one of the jurors decided to do their own investigating, jeopardizing the whole case. A retrial was held on November 1985, and the officers acquitted.
Even more so after this outcome, Stewart’s death reverberated as a symbol – and none more so than among New York’s art scene.  As soon as news of Stewart’s vicious arrest began to filter through, and to a backdrop of growing racial tensions in the city, the once determinedly apolitical downtown arts community was possessed by a new-found spirit of solidarity and rage, galvanized into action by the brutality of the police and the fear of further clampdowns.
(Credit: Getty Images)
Basquiat’s Defacement: The Untold Story, a new exhibition that has just opened at the city’s Guggenheim Museum, relays how artists in the city reacted to Stewart’s death. Centring around Jean-Michel Basquiat’s searing painting The Death of Michael Stewart (widely known as Defacement), alongside other works of the artist related to police brutality, it also includes responses to the incident by Keith Haring, Andy Warhol (one of his screen-printed Headline series paintings from 1983 featuring a New York Daily News article on Stewart’s death) and the social realist David Hammons (his 1986 stenciled print The Man Nobody Killed).
Before #BlackLivesMatter
Meanwhile, contemporary news coverage and some of the protest posters that were put up around Lower Manhattan provide the exhibition with extra context. They record the fear and anger from more than 35 years ago that still resonates depressingly strongly today when racialized police brutality has led to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Stewart was not a core member of the city’s art scene himself – more one of those types who hung around on the outer circles, waiting to find a way in, his ambitions not yet fully formed. On nodding terms with many East Village personalities, the artists, musicians, club owners and filmmakers who had gravitated towards the area in ever-increasing numbers from the mid-1970s onwards, he had just started to exhibit some of his abstract, richly colorful paintings, was taking photography classes and had occasionally done a bit of modeling.
(Credit: Collection of Patricia A. Pesce Allison Chipak/ Guggenheim Foundation, 2018)
He also dabbled in graffiti – though, unlike Basquiat, who started out spray-painting his work on buildings, he would leave his tag (signature) on trains and walls, but nothing more. Of course, though, the police weren’t particularly interested in nuances. Whether it was a name on a wall or a full-blown mural on a subway train, it was much the same thing to them.
Graffiti was more about the act of rebellion than wanting to be an artist; being seen as an artist was, in a way, a little sissy – Lady Pink 
New York had really given birth to the whole culture of graffiti making in the late 1970s. But while it is now an admired feature of the cityscape, 40 years ago it was seen as a gateway to wider criminality, tied in with African-American and Latino gang culture. Graffiti pieces created to cover the whole side of a subway train (known as ‘bombing’), were seen as a particular problem by the authorities. Millions of dollars were spent on extra security and on ‘buffing’; cleaning the trains with chemical solutions.
Lady Pink was one of the first wave of purveyors of what has now become known as ‘street art’ – though she wouldn’t have understood her work as art at the time. “It was exciting to be a rebel,” she recalls. “We wanted to break the law, we wanted the thrill, the chance to prove your mettle. It was more about the act of rebellion than wanting to be an artist; being seen as an artist was, in a way, a little sissy.”
The street art revolution
However, by the early 1980s, thanks to Basquiat and others, being a bonafide graffiti “artist” had become a very real possibility. A new breed of downtown Manhattan galleries, centered on the East Village, was causing a stir in among the former storefronts and crumbling warehouses. Graffiti art quickly found a home in them and, soon, a hungry market. Stewart’s death came just at the moment when the scene was really beginning to come into its own – and so, on top of everything else, his death represented the horrific endpoint of what was seen as an assault on artistic freedom.
Suzanne Mallouk, Stewart’s former partner, was one of the prime movers behind the Michael Stewart Justice Committee, a voluntary lobby group set up in his memory. “I hired his legal team, raising money from the arts community,” she remembers now. “I went to every gallery that was showing graffiti art and asked for donations. I also got a large donation from Keith Haring, who gave the money from a sale of one of his paintings. Madonna did a show at [nightclub] Danceteria and also donated all the proceeds.”
(Credit: Alamy)
Basquiat, who had also previously been in a long-term relationship with Mallouk, had known Stewart but viewed him as a copycat who tried to imitate his painting style, and even his haircut.
However, perhaps even more so because of these similarities between them, Basquiat was deeply shaken by his death. When he visited Haring’s studio soon after (the exact timescale isn’t known), he began painting a response to it on one of the walls. He worked quickly, in growing anger. The work was cut from the wall and remained in Haring’s collection until he died in 1990.
Basquiat’s grief
Echoing a poster designed by Basquiat’s artistic contemporary David Wojnarowicz to publicize a protest in Union Square on 26 September (while Stewart was still alive, in a coma), The Death of Michael Stewart features a black figure in the middle of two police officers bearing their nightsticks. It’s a painting that at once seems to be a private expression of the artist’s grief and a public document - a protest against state violence.
There is a history of state violence against the black body. And I think that’s what Basquiat’s painting represents - Chaédria LaBouvier 
As the Guggenheim exhibition’s guest curator Chaédria LaBouvier said, explaining the anguish infusing the work, in a 2016 interview  “In 1983, we didn’t have a language around police brutality or white supremacy or state violence to talk about these issues publicly. There was, and is, this very real fear that the police if you’re a black person, can kill you and get away with it. I think Basquiat was aware that this was not just about Michael Stewart or even him, but that there is a history of state violence against the black body. And I think that’s what this painting represents: that history of state violence against the black body as an American heritage.”
(Credit: Collection of Monique and Ziad Ghandour/The Keith Haring foundation)
In 1985, Haring produced his own work, Michael Stewart - the USA For Africa, in response to the tragedy: a garish representation of the moment of arrest, featuring Stewart being strangled and beaten while faces around him cover their eyes. Darren Pih, the curator of the Keith Haring exhibition that opened this month at Tate Liverpool, featuring more than 85 of his works, says that Haring became increasingly politicized through the 1980s, spurred on by racism, the Aids crisis, and the growing nuclear threat: “There’s a touch of hippy innocence about Haring. He was politically active, dealing with serious issues, but in a very communicative way, in a fundamentally optimistic way, with a bright, cranked up the palette.”
They know they killed him. They will never forget his screams, his face, his blood. They must live with that forever – Keith Haring 
Nevertheless, Haring had a lot of anger too. It’s there in the Michael Stewart piece, in stark opposition to his usually upbeat work. Writing in his journals after the Transit Police officers were acquitted, his fury jumps off the page: “They know they killed him. They will never forget his screams, his face, his blood. They must live with that forever. I hope in their next life they are tortured like they tortured him.”
Meanwhile, as investigations continued, Mallouk met with African-American community leaders, briefed the press and talked with lawyers, who arranged for an independent autopsy. Unlike the official autopsy by the city’s Chief Medical Examiner Elliot Gross, this found that Stewart’s cause of death was strangulation; however Gross said there was no evidence of this.
Shockingly, Mallouk claims that Stewart’s eyes were even removed during the original autopsy because they “showed hemorrhaging from an illegal chokehold.” “I presented to Mayor Koch a petition of over 20,000 names demanding an inquiry into Gross’s autopsy because it was a clear cover-up,” she tells BBC Culture. Following multiple allegations of misconduct, including against Stewart, Gross' office was investigated by an independent commission of lawyers and pathologists; Gross was cleared of covering up police brutality, but, following a further investigation, he was eventually fired by Koch for bad management in 1987.
After the officers’ acquittal, the Stewart family also filed a civil suit against the 11 men in question and the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Eventually, in 1990, under the city’s new mayor, David Dinkins, they were awarded $1.7million out of court in 1990 in a settlement paid by the Transit Authority (though it did "not constitute any admission of wrongdoing" according to the Mayor's office.
Lady Pink has no doubt about what happened, she says; she can distinctly remember the day after Stewart’s arrest overhearing a policeman telling subway workers about the incident. “I’m standing [at] my train station coming home from school, reading a book and I hear a cop talking to some of the workers from the transit authority, bragging to them how ‘last night we beat this kid so bad that he was banging his own head on the tile wall…’ I pretended to carry on reading my book, but I was listening to them, this bunch of five or six white guys laughing about what had happened. It was a sheer hate crime.”
Basquiat’s Defacement: The Untold Story is at The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York, until 6 November
Keith Haring is at Tate Liverpool, until 10 November

June 4, 2019

The Beating Death of a Black Trans Woman Changed Dallas






By Quinton Boudwin 
news.Vice

DALLAS — On April 12, Muhlaysia Booker, a black trans woman from Dallas, was jumped by a group of men yelling homophobic slurs in the parking lot of her apartment complex. A video of the beating was broadcast all over the world.

Days later, she went public and spoke out against her attackers, backed by members of the black trans community in Dallas.

“She knew she had to. But that's not what she wanted. She didn't want to do it. And she didn't want to do it because she knew her doing it would put other people’s lives in jeopardy,” said Booker’s friend Robyn “Pocahontas” Crowe.

Four weeks later, Booker was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

Booker was the fifth trans woman killed so far this year, and one of 133 killed in the last six years, according to LGBT advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign. Two-thirds of those murdered were black, and more were killed in the South than in any other region.

But Dallas is supposed to be different. Since at least the 1970s, the city has had a vibrant LGBT community, concentrated in the historic neighborhood of Oak Lawn. Today, that community has several allies in government and law enforcement.

But Muhlaysia Booker’s friends say that progress is limited by race and class — and specifically, that it does not extend to black trans women like them, and that the city has done nothing to stop the violence they routinely face. Even Oak Lawn, the city’s historic "gayborhood, has been gentrified beyond recognition.

“It makes us feel like we’re not wanted anywhere,” said Booker’s friend Mieko Hicks.

VICE News went to Dallas to learn how Muhlaysia Booker’s death affected the city’s black trans community.


May 8, 2019

Black and Gay, Dead From Walgreens Security guards






By Minyvonne Burke at NBC News
The sister of a man shot and killed by a Walgreens security guard after he was suspected of shoplifting has filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming her brother was a victim of bias because he was black and gay.
The suit, filed with the Los Angeles County Superior Court on April 26, states that Jonathan Hart was "maliciously, wrongfully, intentionally, negligently and/or carelessly" shot in the back of his neck and killed in December 2018 by armed guard Donald Vincent Ciota II.
Ciota, Walgreens and two security companies that work with the store chain are named in the suit.
Image: Jonathan Hart
Jonathan HartCoutresy of Jasmyne Cannick
Ciota, 28, allegedly confronted Hart and two of his friends inside the Hollywood, California, store on Dec. 2 because he thought Hart was stealing. The two men got into a physical altercation, and Ciota allegedly pulled out a gun and shot Hart as he fled.
Carl Douglas, an attorney for the man's family, said Hart, who was in his early 20s, gay and homeless, was hit in the neck and died hours later at the hospital.
The complaint, which denies that Hart was shoplifting, accuses Ciota of targeting Hart because of his race and sexual orientation. According to the lawsuit, Hart and his friends had allegedly complained to a Walgreens employee prior to the shooting about Ciota's "aggressive and hostile manner."
Hart was walking toward an exit when Ciota, who had a Taser and a gun, allegedly grabbed his weapon, yelled "freeze" and then fired a shot, according to the lawsuit.
"Jonathan committed no crime or other act against defendant Ciota, or any other person, to justify the use of deadly force against him. He was unarmed and did nothing to cause defendant Ciota to believe he was confronting an imminent threat to his life or anyone else's life," the lawsuit states. Ciota was charged in January with one count of murder. He pleaded not guilty during a court appearance that same month, NBC Los Angeles reports. Records show that Ciota is being held at a Los Angeles jail on $3 million bail. His lawyer did not return a request for comment by NBC News.
The suit accuses Walgreens of staffing armed guards in stores located in predominantly African American and Hispanic communities or with a high homelessness rate.
Walgreens said in a statement Tuesday that any suggestion that customers are racially profiled or discriminated against is "false and contrary to our deep commitment to inclusive diversity."
"As we stated at the time this tragic incident occurred, we immediately terminated the security company that employed the guard involved," the company said. "We are fully committed to providing a safe environment for our employees and customers in the communities we serve."
Hart's sister, Psykssyanna Hart, is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

May 7, 2019

Brunei Feeling The World Pressure Backs Down on Death To Gays But it Still Could Be Imposed





                 

BBC   
Brunei has backtracked on enforcing laws introduced last month that would have made sex between men and adultery punishable by stoning to death.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah on Sunday extended a moratorium on the death penalty to cover the new legislation. 
The rethink follows a global outcry over the laws, including boycotts and celebrity protests.
While still on the statute books for some crimes, no executions have been carried out in Brunei since 1957. 
Last month Brunei rolled out a strict new interpretation of Islamic laws or Sharia. 
In a speech, the sultan said he was aware there had been "many questions and misperceptions" regarding the implementation of the legislation, called Syariah Penal Code Order (SPCO).
While saying that a moratorium on the death penalty would be applied to the SPCO he also defended the new rules, saying their "merit" would become clear.
The speech marks the first time the country's ruler has spoken publicly about the legislation since their introduction. 
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said she was "delighted the death penalty has been removed and that the de facto moratorium which has been in place for more than two decades, will also cover the SPCO".
Homosexuality was already illegal in Brunei and punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Muslims make up about two-thirds of the country's population of 420,000. 

What are the laws?

The small South-East Asian nation first introduced Sharia law in 2014, giving it a dual legal system with both Sharia and Common Law. 
The first phase covered crimes punishable by prison sentences and fines. 



Media caption"As a kid... we were taught the stones should not be too big"

The laws introduced on 3 April marked the next phase of the legislation, and covered crimes punishable by amputation and stoning.
Under the legislation: 
  • Offenses such as rape, adultery, sodomy, robbery and insult or defamation of the Prophet Muhammad carry the maximum penalty of death
  • Lesbian sex carries a different penalty of 40 strokes of the cane and/or a maximum of 10 years in jail
  • The punishment for theft is amputation
  • Those who "persuade, tell or encourage" Muslim children under the age of 18 "to accept the teachings of religions other than Islam" are liable to a fine or jail
  • Individuals who have not reached puberty but are convicted of certain offenses may be instead subjected to whipping.

What was the reaction?

The laws sparked international outrage, throwing the tiny South-East Asian nation into the global spotlight. 
Ahead of their implementation, the UN warned that the laws contravened international human rights standards set out in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights - which was ratified by Brunei in 2006.
Celebrities including George Clooney and Elton John called for a boycott of luxury hotels with links to Brunei over the legislation.
Mr Clooney said the new laws amounted to "human rights violations".
Many in Brunei's gay community expressed shock and fear at the punishments.

February 5, 2019

Dignity For Gay People in India Is Fought Every Day, Is 50 Million Deaths ok?



                            



AN INDEFINITE SENTENCE 
A Personal History of Outlawed Love and Sex 
By Siddharth Dube

In 1988, when Siddharth Dube was a deeply in love 26-year-old, the majority of gay men in India concealed their sexual orientation. A colonial-era law, Section 377, criminalized homosexuality, which was defined as an “unnatural” offense. To protect themselves from arrest, many gay men socialized in public parks and toilets under the cover of darkness. As an Americanized journalist just in from New York, Dube was often shielded from the accumulation of traumas that defined the lives of others. With his partner, a Parisian Bharatanatyam dancer, the cool Delhi nights passed in idyllic fashion. Until the night the police called them in.

“The man sitting behind the desk in the muddy-brown uniform of the Delhi police looked at me with such aggressive loathing,” Dube writes in “An Indefinite Sentence,” his heart-stopping memoir of being gay in India and the world. “I thought, momentarily, that he had mistaken me for someone else. … He burst out angrily, almost as if in a rage. ‘You are a homo! You have naked men dancing at your house, exposing themselves. Go back to America! If you want to live here, you will live as an Indian, not like an American!’”

Dube fled. A scholarship at Harvard put him on the path to a career in global health policy, with a special focus on AIDS. “In every way, this was a disease about me,” he explains. “This virus that was intertwined with our essential human longing for sex and love, and with being outlawed, shamed and persecuted.”

From that distance it was easier to assess the things — beautiful and terrible — that had defined life in India. There was the magical childhood in Calcutta with loving parents, private yoga lessons and bedtime stories. But then, from the age of 11, there were the seven years at the Doon School, the elite public school in the Himalayan foothills, where sexual abuse by older students flourished and headmasters cruelly advised victims to “become tougher.” It speaks to the author’s transcendental capacity for forgiveness that he was later able to harness the memories of his abuse into fighting for the human rights of others. “My own suffering seemed less random and unfair,” he writes, “now that I could see so many other people who had also been wrongfully cast out by society.” 

As the AIDS epidemic gathered ferocious momentum in the United States, the activist and author Paul Monette observed, “Death by AIDS is everywhere around me, seething through the streets of this broken land.” Dube responded by living a life of virtual abstinence. Over the next few years he poured himself into work for the United Nations, the World Bank and then Unicef. He published two books, including a deeply reported account of one impoverished family’s life in India.

And so, although this is a personal memoir, it is also a memoir of work. Work helped Dube find himself. And work allowed him to live a life he could be proud of. It’s in combining his personal story with the ravages of AIDS he witnessed that Dube advances the genre of queer memoirs in India. 

The book has precursors. Firdaus Kanga’s novelized account of his life in Bombay, “Trying to Grow” (1991), is one important example. Another is “Because I Have a Voice” (2005), in which the editors Arvind Narrain and Gautam Bhan brought together an indelible set of essays and personal narratives from across the country. At the opposite end of the class spectrum, A. Revathi’s gut-wrenching “The Truth About Me” (2010) recounted the normalized violence facing the country’s hijras — a term for a variety of third gender. But Dube’s return to India in the 1990s, at the height of its AIDS crisis, equipped him to chronicle another vital story. His critical and vivid reporting of the time brings to mind the achievements of David France in “How to Survive a Plague.”

In 1996, doctors in India told The New York Times that the death toll from AIDS could reach 20 million, or even 50 million, by the end of the century. That year, after a group of prostitutes in the southern city of Madras were arrested for solicitation, a researcher working for Dr. Suniti Solomon, the microbiologist credited with pioneering AIDS research in India, drew samples of their blood. The women didn’t know what they had consented to. The six who tested positive for H.I.V. were immediately transported to a government-run reformatory where they were confined to a tiny room. They were refused legal and medical aid and access to their families.

A pattern was set in place. “Forever after in India,” Dube writes, “AIDS was thought of as a disease of women prostitutes merely because the first indigenous cases were detected among them. They were accused of spreading the sexual infection to hapless men, who then spread it to their innocent wives and babies.” On the pretext of protecting the public, human rights abuses became rampant.
 
Some doctors didn’t just refuse to treat victims; they leaked their status to the media. Prostitutes were imprisoned in such large numbers, the government had to set up makeshift camps to house them. And Hindu supremacist politicians censored any public conversation about sex and sexuality. In 1996, vigilante groups empowered by such politicians burned down movie theaters that screened Deepa Mehta’s film “Fire,” because it focused on a lesbian relationship. The idea that homosexuality is a disease brought to India by Islamic invaders is popular even today. Last September, after the Supreme Court overturned Section 377, a politician from the prime minister’s Bharatiya Janata Party called homosexuality “a genetic disorder, like having six fingers.”

Such statements betray an ignorance of traditional values. “Hindu mythology,” the author Devdutt Pattanaik writes in “Shikhandi,” his retelling of popular myths, “makes constant references to queerness.” A key character in the war epic Mahabharata was born a woman and becomes a man. A great king experiences life as both a man and a woman. And, in an oral retelling of the story of Lord Ram, the Hindu god is so moved by the steadfast devotion of his hijra subjects that he promises, “Never again shall you be invisible.” In the literary history “Same-Sex Love in India” the academic Ruth Vanita reminds us that pre-Islamic texts feature “men and boy prostitutes and dancers who service men … in descriptive, nonjudgmental terms, as normally present in court and in daily life.”

Nationalist politicians, more so than anyone else, should by now be aware that it was the British, with their Victorian prudery, and their fear and distaste of Indians, who criminalized homosexuality. They empowered the police to arrest hijras without a warrant for merely “appearing” to be “dressed or ornamented like a woman.”

By the time of the AIDS crisis, these forms of persecution were widely embedded in Indian society; they forced vulnerable groups to take the lead in the campaign to spread awareness. In Madras, one of the H.I.V.-positive prostitutes isolated at the start of the epidemic started working as a peer educator. In the coastal state of Goa, Dominic D’Souza, a young gay man, fought to dissolve the law that had allowed the state to isolate him in a TB sanitarium after he fell ill. Collectives of prostitutes mushroomed across the country. On one memorable occasion a protest outside Parliament shut down the main streets of the Indian capital. In the time they had, many victims catalyzed transformative change in how the public approached the unprecedented crisis.

By reminding us of their achievements, Dube gives his readers the substantial gift of hope. The sentiment is, in fact, the spine of his memoir. “The impoverished, the reviled and the outcast — whether black or untouchable, whether girly boy, faggot, hijra or whore — never stop fighting for dignity and justice,” he writes. “There is hope in this — undying hope. It makes bearable the most indefinite of sentences.” 

 The book: AN INDEFINITE SENTENCE 

July 13, 2018

Great Loss At The Death of Tom Gallagher, Diplomat and Fighter for LGBT Rights


 Image result for tom gallagher


Tom Gallagher used to say that during his long career as a Foreign Service officer, he worked in countries where he might have been imprisoned or worse if officials learned he was gay. For much of that time his home country wasn’t welcoming either; he had to keep his sexual orientation hidden to stay on the job.

After coming out — he is widely recognized as the first Foreign Service officer to do so publicly — Mr. Gallagher left the service in 1976. But he lived to see and benefit from a transformation that not only allowed him to resume his government career, but also saw him celebrated in State Department publications and singled out by Hillary Rodham Clinton, then secretary of state, at a 2012 event.

The occasion was the 20th anniversary of Glifaa, an organization for L.G.B.T. State Department employees. Mrs. Clinton cited Mr. Gallagher as a pioneer.

“I don’t want any of you who are a lot younger ever to take for granted what it took for people like Tom Gallagher to pave the way for all of you,” she said. 

Mr. Gallagher died on Sunday in Wall Township, N.J. He was 77.

His husband, Amin Dulkumoni, said the causes were a staph infection and a heart condition.

 
Secretary Clinton Delivers Remarks at the 20th Anniversary of GLIFAACreditVideo by U.S. Department of State

Mr. Gallagher was in Saudi Arabia when the Arab-Israeli war broke out in June 1967. He spent two years in Nigeria during the Biafran war there. He worked on the American response to wars in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Between his two stints with the State Department, he spent almost 20 years doing social work and volunteer counseling in California, first in Los Angeles and then in San Francisco as that city was grappling with AIDS.

“Tom’s story isn’t about all he saw so much as it is about the impulse to serve that got him there,” said Jacqui Shine, a writer who has researched his life extensively and just two weeks ago wrote an article about him for Slate.

Mrs. Clinton, in her 2012 remarks, also cited Mr. Gallagher’s determination to serve, using him to represent the whole pre-gay-rights era. 

“All of the employees who sacrificed their right to be who they were,” she told her audience, “were really defending your rights and the rights and freedoms of others.”

Thomas Patrick Gallagher was born on Sept. 11, 1940, in Manhattan. His parents, Thomas and Mary Josephine Murphy Gallagher, were personal servants on the estate of a wealthy New Jersey family; as a boy he caddied at the Hollywood Golf Club in Deal, N.J.

Mr. Gallagher said he made his career plans early.

“I wanted to be in the Foreign Service from the fourth grade,” he said in an interview for the website of his alma mater, Monmouth University in New Jersey.

Mr. Gallagher, to the left of Hillary Rodham Clinton, then the secretary of state, at a State Department event in 2012 celebrating the 20th anniversary of Glifaa, an organization for L.G.B.T. State Department employees. “I don’t want any of you who are a lot younger ever to take for granted what it took for people like Tom Gallagher to pave the way for all of you,” Mrs. Clinton said.credit department of State.

“The Peace Corps application asked ‘What country do I know better than someone who has lived there for six months?’ ” he recalled years later. “I had never been any further away from home than Philadelphia in my entire life, so I didn’t know anything about anywhere.”

But he had written a paper about Ethiopia.

“Having read all nine books in the New York Public Library on Ethiopia, I figured I knew as much as anyone in America,” he said. “So I wrote that down.” 
He was sent there, and he even met Emperor Haile Selassie.

“Had he known of my orientation, the emperor might have had me executed, which was considered the appropriate response to homosexuality in Ethiopia at the time,” Mr. Gallagher noted in the Monmouth interview.

In 1965 he joined the State Department and was assigned to Saudi Arabia. In 1966 he married Carolyn Worrell, and for a time it seemed as if he had found a niche in the heterosexual world. As Ms. Shine’s Slate article, written in timeline fashion, put it, “Tom loves his wife, and he loves his job, and his secrets — well, he doesn’t think about them very much these days.”

After a posting in Nigeria, Mr. Gallagher was given a series of assignments in the United States. One was at the personnel office; decades later, when he received the State Department’s Tragen Award, William J. Burns, then deputy secretary, cited his support of equality for female employees during this period.

But his marriage ended in 1972, and in the broader world, the gay-rights movement was ramping up. Mr. Gallagher was becoming more open about his sexuality, including doing counseling at the Gay Community Services Center in Los Angeles during an assignment in that city.

In 1975 the Gay Activist Alliance held a conference in Washington called “Gays and the Federal Government.” He volunteered to speak at it.

“I think it was sort of a ‘to hell with it’ decision,” Ms. Shine said by email. “He knew he had to get his security clearance renewed soon (in 1975 he’d been there a decade), and anyone they called in Los Angeles could tell them that he had worked at the center.”

During the panel discussion at the conference, when someone asked him what the State Department thought of his being gay, he responded, “I guess this is my coming-out party,” the Slate article said. 

After a brief posting to Ecuador, Mr. Gallagher left the Foreign Service in 1976 rather than go through the process of renewing his security clearance, which would have involved scrutiny of his sexual orientation. But in 1994, with the State Department’s policies having been changed under President Bill Clinton, he rejoined.

He held posts in Madrid, Brussels and elsewhere, and had several high-profile assignments involving Africa. His final job was with the Office of International Health. He retired in 2005.

Mr. Dulkumoni, whom he married in 2017, is his only immediate survivor. They lived in Tinton Falls, N.J.

Though he had lived through substantial changes in attitudes toward gay employees in the United States, Mr. Gallagher was quick to note that there was more to do.

“Being gay still merits the death penalty in a dozen or so countries around the world,” he told his alma mater, which gave him a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014. “Saudi scholars debate the question of whether it is more Islamic to stone homosexuals or to behead them. Brunei, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa and Uganda have recently taken big steps backward. We still have a long way to go.”

New York Times
By Neil Genzlinger

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