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

August 21, 2019

Palestinian Police Denies LGBT Group From Holding Activities at The West Bank



This Monday, June 29, 2015 photo provided by Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar shows his painting of a rainbow flag on six slabs of the West Bank security barrier in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Khaled Jarrar via AP)
This Monday, June 29, 2015 photo provided by Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar shows his painting of a rainbow flag on six slabs of the West Bank security barrier in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Khaled Jarrar via AP)
Palestinian Authority police have banned a Palestinian LGBT rights group from organizing any activities in the West Bank and threatened to arrest them, saying such activities are contrary to the “values of Palestinian society.”
In a statement Saturday, police spokesman Louay Arzeikat said events such as those organized by the group al-Qaws “go against and infringe upon the higher principles and values of Palestinian society.” 
Arzeikat also charged that “suspicious parties” were trying to “sow discord and undermine Palestinian society’s peaceful state of affairs” and asserted that the police would pursue al-Qaws’s staff and turn them over to judicial authorities if it successfully collars them. 
He also called on Palestinians to report on any al-Qaws activity, promising informers confidentiality. 
Al-Qaws is an non-governmental organization established in 2001 that aims to support gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender Palestinians and Arab Israelis. It’s website says it has offices in East Jerusalem and Haifa; PA security forces cannot enter those areas, according to agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The police statement came after al-Qaws said on its Facebook page that it had held a gathering in the northern West Bank city of Nablus on August 4 that discussed gender pluralism in the city.
It also said it was planning to hold a “queer camp” on August 30 and 31 at a location to be announced at a later date.
It said the two-day program “provides a place for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth from Palestine to meet, learn about the basic concepts of gender pluralism and explore the different sides of our human sexuality.”
The group says it “is at the forefront of vibrant Palestinian cultural and social change, building LGBTQ communities and promoting new ideas about the role of gender and sexual diversity in political activism, civil society institutions, media, and everyday life.”
While there are no PA laws on the books that ban homosexual acts, the Palestinian LGBT community largely exists underground due to familial, religious and government repression, a source familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Times of Israel.
Later Sunday evening, al-Qaws condemned the police statement as “very unfortunate” and urged authorities to familiarize themselves with its work.
The group noted that the police statement had come just hours after “an unprecedented assault by dozens of people on al-Qaws’s social media pages including threats of violence.”
A view of Nablus in the northern West Bank. (Adam Rasgon/The Times of Israel)
On Sunday The Times of Israel was only able to locate a few threatening posts made by Palestinians on al-Qaws’s social media pages. But Laith Itmaiza, who used to work as a journalist at Quds News Network, wrote on his Facebook page that he had counted 643 comments written on Saturday evening in the span of three hours by Palestinians against the LGBT community.
Haneen Maiki, the director of al-Qaws, told Ultra Palestine, a Palestinian news site, that the despite the PA police’s statement, the group “would continue its work in different parts of Palestine, while taking into account the generally loaded atmosphere because of media outlets and the police’s incitement, so that we do not put any of our activists or friends at risk.”
Ahmad Harb, commissioner-general of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, lashed out at police, saying that they were effectively calling for vigilante action.
“The Palestinian police’s statement regarding the barring of the gathering of ‘gays’ and activists from the al-Qaws organization and threatening to pursue them and asking citizens to secretly inform on ‘suspects’ is very bad,” Harb wrote on his Facebook page. “It rises to the level of calling for ‘community violence and inciting a crime.’ Many understood this statement as a call to wastefully spill blood and take the law into one’s hands by implementing killing operations.”  
“This is not how issues are handled. This is not how the police protects its citizens,” he added.

August 5, 2019

Gay Palestinians in Haifa Hold Protest Against LGBT Violence


 
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Haifa on Thursday to protest against LGBT violence, following the stabbing of a transgender Arab teen. ‘The protest represents a voice calling for liberation without restraints – not of the occupiers, and not of the patriarchy.’
Hundreds of Palestinians protested against LGBT violence in Haifa following the stabbing of an Aran transgender teen in Tel Aviv last week. August 1, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
Hundreds of Palestinians protested against LGBT violence in Haifa following the stabbing of an Aran transgender teen in Tel Aviv last week. August 1, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
  The queer Palestinian community organized an unprecedented protest in Haifa on Thursday, as approximately 200 demonstrators arrived at the German Colony, a central area in the city, to protest violence targeting the LGBT community.
The protest was organized in response to the stabbing of a transgender teen from Tamra, a Palestinian city in northern Israel, outside a shelter for LGBT youth in Tel Aviv last week. 
The protest was planned by a group of more than 30 organizations, including alQaws, a civil society group advocating for sexual and gender diversity in Palestinian society; Aswat, a feminist queer movement for sexual and gender freedom for Palestinian women; and Adalah, the legal center for the protection of Palestinian rights in Israel. “We reject and condemn the stabbing of the Tamra teen on the basis of his sexual and gender orientation,” they wrote in a statement released before the protest.
Demonstrators waved pride flags alongside flags representing the transgender community and Palestinian flags. They held signs saying: “Queers against violence and sexual harassment,” and “Silence kills. It’s time we raise our voices.”
“This is a historic moment,” said Widad Assaf, a Palestinian activist at the protest. “Violence against LGBT people occurs all the time, but it took time for people to take to the streets. We hope this won’t stop here,” she added.
“This is the first-ever protest of the queer Palestinian movement, based on the principles of an intersectional struggle between queer-Palestinian struggles and struggles against the occupation,” said Rula Khalaileh, an organizer with the “Women Against Violence” organization. “The protest represents a voice calling for liberation without restraints – not of the occupiers, and not of the patriarchy. It’s important to show support for all LGBT Palestinians.”
Hundreds of Palestinians protested against LGBT violence in Haifa following the stabbing of an Aran transgender teen in Tel Aviv last week. August 1, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
Hundreds of Palestinians protested against LGBT violence in Haifa following the stabbing of an Aran transgender teen in Tel Aviv last week. August 1, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
“I am pleased with the turnout,” said Jawarah, an activist with the LGBT community. This is the first time that the queer Palestinian community goes out to protest in his 10 years of organizing for LGBT rights, he said. Although Palestinian society can be “close-minded and a bit intolerant of LGBT people,” that a teenager was attacked by his own family members for his sexual identity is rare, he added.
Jawarah explained how, as a queer Palestinian, he is doubly discriminated against. “Arab-Palestinians are already on the margins of society due to the state’s oppression, so a person who also carries a different gender identity – both the government and his own society work against him,” he said.
Hundreds of Palestinians protested against LGBT violence in Haifa following the stabbing of an Aran transgender teen in Tel Aviv last week. August 1, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
Hundreds of Palestinians protested against LGBT violence in Haifa following the stabbing of an Aran transgender teen in Tel Aviv last week. August 1, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
“We are here to protest against all forms of violence and oppression against members of the LGBT community in Arab society,” said Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman – the only member of parliament to join the protest. “We are here to emphasize the personal freedom of each and every person to choose their own life path. This is a historic event. This is the first-ever public protest.”
Only a handful of news outlets covered the event, but according to Khalaileh, the attack itself was covered extensively by Arabic media. “This is the first time that all Arabic media outlets were forced to talk about the issue, and published the statement released by the organizations,” she explained.
The call for protest and the statement were drafted only in Arabic, and one of the protest organizers stressed that this discussion is to be had internally, within the Palestinian community. 
On Sunday, about 2,000 protestors marched in south Tel Aviv against transphobia and violence against LGBTs, to mark a year since the killing of a transgender teen. During the protest, Yael Sinai, who manages the LGBT shelter house outside which the Arab teen was stabbed, said that the stabbing was an especially violent incident, but that “it is in no way the only experience of violence that these teens encounter.”
“They have to navigate a public environment that labels us as abnormal. The impact of this hatred is immense. We do everything to ensure they are safe [at the shelter], but we cannot cage them inside four walls. The stabbing is only a peak to the political violence that members of the transgender community face from the Knesset, from the religious establishment, and the local authorities,” she continued.
A version of this article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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