• S. McKiernan

(Tik Tok) Gays Against Palestine

Human life is not negotiable. I refuse to continue the debate of who is right and wrong in a war. It’s war. It is wrong for innocent people to die. It is wrong when the media avoid suffering because a people's lineage is less recognizable than that of their colonizers. It is wrong to attack civilians for the actions of their government and oppressors. So in tragedies such as this⏤when arguing over who is right and wrong is already pointless⏤why bother discussing trivial details of western discourse? The opinions of misinformed tik-tokers and wannabe influencers do not matter right now. But, given that these opinions are nonetheless spread, I’ll make my stance clear: Any LGBTQ+ person who, because homosexuality is illegal in Palestine, uses their social media to spread anti-peace propaganda, is a hypocrite and is interfering with the livelihoods of innocent people.

It is discrimination to fault citizens for the misdeeds of their government, especially when those laws stem from colonialism. This stance is especially despicable considering it's practically sentencing innocent Palestinians to their deaths. This is not a protest on Chik Fillet or Home Depot or whatever other homophobic organization you’d like to boycott. The stakes are higher. Not to mention that Israel, which relentlessly attacks Palestine, is also extremely homophobic! Similar bans exist in both countries, but the westerners sticking their noses up at Palestine don’t see beyond their American bubble. They make no effort to understand this complex issue, because it "doesn't affect" them.

I don't mean to insult the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. I and many others understand the human right violations and atrocities currently being committed by Israel. And the ones that have been committed by Palestine. There are no real winners in war. As a privileged outsider (much like the people I'm talking about), I can only say that anyone with an ounce of compassion could see the injustice of this situation if they'd just open their eyes. If they'd just listen to the people begging for help and empathy and attention. Honestly, it seems that the people who are denying Palestinians rights to peace are being purposefully ignorant at this point. They make claims like, " If queer people in support of peace were in Palestine, they would be thrown off a roof", but they are not considering their own privilege in doing so. Instead they are falling for Isreali pinkwashing.

"Pinkwashing" is, first and foremost, a western marketing tactic. It is used by large companies and retailers, via slapping a rainbow on their product to appeal to queer people, while doing nothing substantive to push forward queer rights. It includes the spread of misinformation, when its function is to "virtue signal." Western media (conveniently) avoids showing Israel's extreme homophobia, thereby skewing its audience's idea of gay rights in the country. This implicitly places blame on and antagonizes Palestine.

A war is not meant to be a spectator sport. Your personal opinion of the laws in a country, no matter how atrocious those laws, should not affect the livelihood of the people in the country. Instead, use your energy to promote safety for Palestinians and Israelis alike. This conflict has been going on since before I was born. "Middle east peace" is more of a slogan than a plea now, because Westerners continue to (unsolicitedly) tell oppressed groups how to handle their issues⏤We should just listen instead. Then again, who's surprised? Western countries don’t even listen to their own minorities.

But the queer community should be especially empathetic. Need I remind us that the gay rights movement in the U.S started as a revolt? As a riot against the police? And that it has continued as a series of protests for our rights? We should be in support of anyone looking for peace and safety, because that is exactly what we want. Palestinians’ ignorance, to whatever extent it's present, isn't their fault. They're a product of their environment, as we all are. Their circumstantial issues with the gay community is not something to condone their death over. Neither is land, religion, a lack of recourses, or a lack of support⏤which is what Israel depends on to continue ethnically cleansing Palestine unabated. Hold Israel accountable, fight for a free Palestine⏤This shouldn't be a question. If you are gay, trans, and/or queer, don't let colonialist ideals (which hurt you) dictate your stance about a population's right to peace. Keep your privilege and your compassion for others at the forefront of your mind and plastered on your social media. Do not let this go unheard. And spread the right message.

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