Iraq. Afghanistan. There's no shortage of headlines about war, terrorism, sectarian divides and other horrors. It's not unusual to rank LGBT issues as a comparatively low priority in the midst of such life and death circumstances.
But LGBT issues are
life and death issues! Remember this from a NewsWrap
story just last week (under-covered in the mainstream press):
[LGBT people are] caught between Islamic State forces, that punish homosexuality with execution, and violent assaults by pro-government vigilantes. A report released this week by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission – or IGLHRC – and the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq warned that LGBT Iraqis are at “imminent risk of death” amid a breakdown in law and order and the rise of sectarian militias. In June, two adolescent boys thought to be gay were beheaded by the League of the Righteous, their heads thrown in the garbage. … Once exposed, an LGBT person’s only hope is escape to a shelter or safer area. … According to the report, “Family and community members, along with the authorities, are often complicit in abuses against LGBT individuals… Parents tend to disown their LGBT sons and daughters or, even worse, kill them to protect tribal or 'family honor.'"
IGLHRC Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Hossein Alizadeh told the “Washington Blade” that, “There’s sheer chaos... There is not enough international interest in providing protection.”
Despite the chaos something remarkable has been happening. In recent months the number of This Way Out
's website visits and Facebook "Likes" from Iraq and Afghanistan have mushroomed! My mind boggles when I think of LGBT sisters and brothers in such dire situations, seeking support and hope. A few have even asked if there's anybody on our crew who speaks Arabic.
During the next year, we want to respond to those cries. It really wouldn't be difficult to initiate some basic multi-lingual services online -- not difficult, that is, if we can expand our shoestring budget … with your help!
December 2, #GivingTuesday
, is a great day for you to join our 2014 Year End Campaign
to raise funds to keep us on the air and promote our growth. You can do that right now at our #GivingTuesday page
Can This Way Out
really make a difference? "Sapphic Nomads" Katie Cook and Maggie Young
, whose "audio postcards" have been bringing you wonderful insights into our international community, believe it can:
"In our travels we had the privilege of meeting LGBTQ warriors around the world, and we quickly came to realize, we truly are everywhere! Oftentimes despite great risk, people shared their stories with us, and these stories were able to reach a global audience through This Way Out. The more we learn about the strengths and struggles of our LGBTQ family around the globe, the more empowered we become to support one another and help lift each other up. This Way Out has been and continues to be a unique and vital resource and meeting point for international audiences to learn about global LGBTQ issues, and we are hopeful that they will continue to empower and inspire us all for a long time to come!"
How much more could we accomplish if we just took the first step towards speaking the same languages as some of the people in the world who need us the most? The only thing more vital than their desire to be connected to the world-wide LGTB community is your willingness to act!
We have some terrific ways of thanking you for your contribution that in themselves demonstrate the track record we're building on. We're working again with the Pacifica Radio Archives
in a joint LGBT History Project
aimed at restoring and preserving historic recordings, and you can be among the first to get your hands on some recently unearthed treasures:
- QuEars of the World Collection -- including an early 70s meeting between folksinger/activist Holly Near and a group of Japanese lesbians; heart-rending reports from Egypt, South Africa, Kenya and Malaysia; and the Sapphic Nomads' "audio postcards" from Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan. ($25 donation)
- Gays in Cuba -- a 1976 interview with two gay members of the Venceremos Brigade. ($25 donation)Sappho Was A Right-On Woman -- a raucous 1972 discussion of lesbians in the U.S. ($25 donation)
- An Evening with Linda Tillery, June Millington and Mary Watkins -- a 1981 concert recorded at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. 3 CDs! ($75 donation)
Ask for one or more of these special CDs ... or get them all for $125!
is a major event for worthwhile non-profits both large and small. We're confident that a little dinghy like This Way Out
will be lifted with rising tide of attention on charitable giving created by our more prominent colleagues.
Labels: #GivingTuesday, bisexual, charity, gay, human rights, lesbian, LGBT, non-profit, transgender, transsexual