To read more of this opinion piece by Donal Lynch in response to the pope's latest sexist, homophobic speech, click here.
Irish boyband Boyzone has a male love interest for its openly gay member, Stephen Gately, in their latest music video. Reverend David McCullough, minister of Dromore Reformed Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland, had this to say about the video:The message of the Boyzone video is yet another subtle effort of the homosexual propaganda machine. This video, that will be watched by millions, is sending out a deadly message to young people. (?!!!?)
Q. Do you feel like the Irish need to work with other immigrant groups to achieve reform? I mean, fundamentally, this is not an Irish issue so much as an immigrant issue, is it? Can we really achieve any progress on Irish immigration without finding common cause with, say, Latin American or Asian groups?
Counter-Protest at the Salute to Israel Parade - Join Adalah-NY and other New York groups to support Palestinian rights and to inform New Yorkers that 60 years of ethnic cleansing, dispossession and apartheid is nothing to celebrate. Counter-Protest is from 11AM-3PM on the west side of 5th Avenue between 58th & 59th streets (a location that is very familiar to us Irish Queers). Take the R, N to 5th Avenue (use only west exit marked Central Park South near downtown end of platform); F to 57th St. (at 6th Av.); Q to 57th St.-7th Ave; take 4, 5, 6 to 59th St (at Lex.)
Queens Pride Parade & Festival - The parade kicks off at 12pm at 89th Street and 37th Avenue, and goes down 37th Avenue, ending at 75th Street. The Multicutural Festival begins at 11:00AM and ends at 6:00PM and is located on 37th Road and stretches from 73rd Street to 77th Street. Take take the E,F,R,G subway trains to Roosevelt Avenue/Jackson Heights station, or take the #7 subway train to 74th Street - Broadway station.
While it is positive that Gavin Newsom, an Irish Catholic heterosexual man from a privileged family, has stood by the affluent sector of the LGBT community in the fight for marriage equality, it is important to remember that Newsom is not a friend to all sectors of the LGBT community.
In the city of San Francisco, Newsom was responsible for Care Not Cash (Proposition N), a paternalistic program designed to cut cash grants given to homeless people in general assistance programs in exchange for encouraging them to enter shelters and seek other social services. This program limited the autonomy of homeless people and attempted to keep them off the street and out of sight, and was also meant to ensure any cash issued was not being used to buy drugs or alcohol.
In another attempt to "improve the quality of life" in San Franciso, Newsom also sponsored Proposition M, known as the "aggressive anti-panhandling measure." This measure defined "aggressive panhandling" as touching, following or threatening people and banned all forms of begging near ATMs, parking lots, check-cashing businesses, median strips, highway ramps, and on public transportation. (This measure even made it so that Girl Scouts could no longer peddle their cookies in Safeway supermarket parking lots.)
(And that's just a bit on two of Newsom's policies. Really, we could go on and on.)
We point this out because contrary to stereotypes, not all LGBT people are rich & white. Our community is every community - Black, Asian, Indigenous, Latino, white, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, rich, poor, working class, middle class....you get the picture. The gay marriage ruling in California is a step forward, and it is commendable that Governor Paterson here in NY is seeking to recognize same-sex marriages from other states, but it is crucial that LGBT folks stay active on issues beyond gay marriage. To us, Gavin Newsom cannot be considered a hero to the LGBT community when he has such a strong record on "quality of life" issues that criminalize poor folks, which includes LGBT folks.
So again, kudos to the Irish Voice for covering more Irish/Irish American LGBT issues, but we can't in good conscience join in on any Gavin Newsom admiration. But blogs were made for this very reason, to debate and voice other opinions. And in our case, our opinions always veer to the left and are always tied to a human rights for all framework.
For more information on the Hunger Strike of '81, click here.
Housing/ Homeless Crisis in NYC
We are witnessing the crystallization of a comprehensive strategy to displace low-income people from New York. Corrupt and undemocratic political structures, such as the Rent Guidelines Board, erode affordable housing and fail to hold irresponsible landlords accountable for code violations and illegal evictions. At the same time the homeless population is increasingly criminalized through selective law enforcement that protects the “quality of life” of economically privileged New Yorkers. We oppose the concerted effort to gentrify and privatize public spaces homeless people call home, which typically leads to intensified targeting of poor and homeless people by the NYPD. The struggle, led by poor queer youth, to maintain public access to and use of the piers in the West Village, perfectly illustrates what happens when a previously public park with long LGBTGNC history is privatized. We commend the efforts of FIERCE! for fighting to maintain public access to public land and support the efforts of Harlem Tenants Council, CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities & Movimiento en el Barrio in resisting gentrification in communities of color.
We applaud the Gender Identity Project, Sylvia Riviera Law Project, and other organizations that worked along side Queers for Economic Justice in successfully lobbying the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to recognize gender self-determination in the New York City shelter system. We eagerly anticipate the full implementation of trans-sensitive policies, which would hopefully include comprehensive sensitivity trainings for staff at intake/assessment shelters.
We demand that:
As Immigrants we are forced to leave our homes because of U.S. imperialist policies that strip us of our rights, ravage our land, pollute our air and waters, and corrupt our governments. Undocumented residents of the U.S. must survive the violence of poverty without access to welfare, or obtain jobs that pay below minimum wage and work under deplorable conditions. And even though all immigrants pay taxes either through paid work, sales tax, and other taxes, we are categorically denied access to many tax funded services. We condemn the racist and xenophobic “immigration debates” currently occurring in congress, and oppose indefinite and mandatory detention of non-citizens, as well as the mass incarceration of people of color and low-income communities in the U.S. more broadly.
As documented or undocumented residents in the US we:
Police and State Violence
Poor and working class LGBTGNC people are constantly targeted by the NYPD and other law enforcement officials. We demand an end to the classist, racist, transphobic, and homophobic attacks by the NYPD and oppose any attacks that further funnel our community into the Prison Industrial Complex, which does not provide real safety for our communities. We applaud the Safe Outside the System Collective & Critical Resistance for the work they do to provide real accountability that does not rely on prisons, police or jails.
We call on all poor and working class people, as well as anti-poverty allies in NYC to endorse this call to action, build contingents to march together in solidarity on April 17th, 2008 & demand economic justice for our communities!
It's funny to hear O'Dowd compare Rev. Wright to David Duke when he went on WNYC earlier this year to talk about "abolishing St. Patrick's Day as we know it" and wanting to invite renowned racist and homphobe Ian Paisley to march in the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade.
It appears that O'Dowd is the one that uses race issues when it suits him, whether it's to forgive Paisley, appease big business to "invest" in Northern Ireland, make sacrifices upon the altar of the Clinton dynasty, or use white privilege and entitlement as the cornerstone for the framing of ILIR's "Legalize the Irish" campaign.
As Irish Americans doing anti-racist work, IQ is interested in debate around these issues. What do you think of O'Dowd's comments? Leave a comment, start a debate.