Reversing field once again, the LGBT Center has now banned all discussion of the explosive issue of Israel and Palestine on its premises.
The most recent flip-flop (a reversal of its previous reversal) came a week after a new group called Queers Against Israeli Apartheid was allowed to meet at the Center to discuss plans to march in various Gay Pride parades this month. Predictably, gay pornographer and ardent Zionist Michael Lucas was not pleased, telling Gay City News that “this group has had their first and last meeting in the Center. If someone fucks with Israel, I fuck them back. And I usually win.” He was right.
Within a week, he got the center to once again eat its words and announce a “moratorium” on “renting space to groups that organize around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
In renting space to Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, the center said that it did “not have a position on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, nor does it endorse the viewpoints of this group or any others that use rooms here,” and that the center “provides space for a variety of LGBT voices in our community to engage in conversations on a range of topics.” As for the controversial Israeli/Palestinian topic, the center added that “this is a complex issue, and there is a tremendous diversity of viewpoints within the LGBT community.”
This is not particularly shocking, but it is the most blatantly embarrassing example of how both the center’s board and its executive director, Glennda Testone, have been willing to placate Lucas and publicly humiliate themselves. It also shows how thoroughly they are willing to turn their backs on the center’s 28-year history as a locale of controversial free speech in order to become just another censored venue catering to influential donors.