"We Don't Have Homosexuals"
Today is a day when gay people of all political stripes should be united. On this day when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is all over the news, we should be standing tall and condemning this leader of one of the most anti-gay regimes on the planet.
Leaders of gay groups rush to put out press releases when the highest court in a state rules that their state's constitution does not require it to recognize same-sex unions. But, even with that ruling, gay couples can still live openly in Maryland. As they can in many other states which have refused to recognize gay marriage.
But, in Iran, not only are gay couples prevented from living together openly, they could be executed for expressing their feelings for same-sex intimacy. Perhaps it's because he's busy sentencing gay Iranians to death that Ahmadinejad claimed today that "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country. . . In Iranian we don't have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have it."
Yesterday, we had a lesbian claiming she had a little crush on this man who, even she acknowledged, would "probably have [her] killed" because he was so forthright in "calling out the horrors of the Bush Administration."
As bad as those on the gay left claim this Administration to be, it doesn't execute gay people. Yes, we should fault the president and his team for failing to repeal the pernicious Don't Ask/Don't Tell Policy preventing gays from serving openly in the military and should take the president to task for endorsing the Federal Marriage Amendment. But, there is a world of difference between opposing gay marriage and open service of gays in the military and murdering gay citizens as matter of state policy.
It's amazing that some people on the gay left are so caught up with their hatred of Bush, that they refuse (or, are otherwise slow) to condemn the leader of a nation whose government does just that -- murder its own gay and lesbian citizens.
At the same time that his government is busy executing gay people, Ahmadinejad has the temerity to claim that they don't have "homosexuals" in his land. I wonder then who it is that the government has been executing. Or maybe he believes this policy has been so successful that he can now declare his nation free of homosexuals, just as the Nazis, once they deported and murdered the Jews of the various regions they conquered, could declare them "Judrenrein" (free of Jews).
Gay people can disagree whether or not state courts should accord same-sex unions the same recognition they offer to different-sex couples who opt for marriage, but we should be united in opposing a regime that executes our fellows; whose leader brazenly claims that there are no gays in his country.
Can you imagine the outcry if some social conservative claimed there were no gays in various regions of the United States? The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) would be issuing a variety of statements. Indeed, in reacting to the Iranian leader's statement today, a blogger at the Huffington Post even went so far as to suggest American social conservatives have found a "soul-mate in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad." It seems the only way some on the left can spin this story is to twist it to denounce American conservatives.
To be sure, there have been some gay groups speaking out. Hossein Alizadeh, a spokesman for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Organization told The New York Sun that in Iran, "there is constant fear of execution and persecution and also social stigma associated with homosexuality." Hopefully, in due time, other gay groups will come forward and condemn this tyrant.
We should all be joining Alizadeh who, for the record, lives in the United States.
Alizadeh's words and those of the man who serves as head of state in the nation he fled seven years ago should remind us where the real peril to our freedom -- and our lives -- lies. It's not here in the United States. U.S. President George W. Bush may far from perfect on gay issues. But, he's not the real enemy of gay people. The real enemy is the Islamofascist government which murders gay people while its leader claims we don't exist.
If ever there was a cause for gay people to stand together, it is in standing up to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a truly deranged leader of a brutally oppressive regime. Let me repeat, this is where the danger really lies, not only to our freedom, but to our very lives.
Will Ahmadinejad's statements today, in Roger Simon's words, wake "the supposedly pro-gay left" up to this danger? One left-lesbian said yesterday that she'd "be listening" to the tyrant's words today at Columbia. Let us hope that his statements will in some way sway her world view.
Call me cynical, but for some reason, I doubt that they will.
B. Daniel Blatt, a writer based in Los Angeles, is completing his Ph.D. in Mythological Studies and blogs as GayPatriot West at GayPatriot.