DePaul University in Illinois, the largest Roman Catholic university in the United States, prohibited posters with the slogan “Gay Lives Matter” to advertise a presentation by a gay reporter on Islamic discrimination against LGBT people across the world.
“Using the same look/brand as BLM [Black Lives Matter] pits two marginalized groups against each other,” Amy Mynaugh, director of the Office of Student Involvement at the Catholic university, said in an email rejecting the posters. “It doesn’t appear that Turning Point has any connection to the Black Lives Matter movement and this seems to simply be co-opting another movement’s approach.”
The posters were printed to advertise for an event with the campus group Turning Point USA, entitled “Dictatorships and Radical Islam: The Enemies of Gay Rights.” The speaker, James Kirchick, is an openly gay reporter and author of The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age.
The anti-Israel group DePaul Students for Justice in Palestine announced its members would protest the event. Kirchick captured a profanity-laced Facebook tirade declaring outrage against the event.
The Facebook user MK Okay characterized Kirchick as “a white, Zionist, neoliberal journalist” who would “speak on sh*t he knows nothing about.” Announcing a protest, MK declared, “Not in our f**king name will you pretend to define our safety, and where danger comes from.”
It gets better. “Not in our f**king name will you continue to demonize Islam and Muslims and ignore the radical Christian right,” the Facebook user continued. “Because we all know & see what the real danger here is – and we all know & see how this is f**ked.” Sure. Because there are so many members of the “radical Christian right” throwing gay people off of buildings…
This selective outrage merely solidified a disturbing trend among the Left. In order to emphasize the “oppression” of Muslims, liberals downplay and perhaps even ignore the deaths and sufferings of LGBT people in the Muslim world. Conservative Christians need to show more charity to LGBT people, but they aren’t stoning them and throwing them off of buildings.
As Kirchick said in his speech, “The fate of sexual minorities is inextricably bound to the fate of liberal democracy.”
Jason Plotzke, president of the DePaul chapter of Turning Point USA, defended the “Gay Lives Matter” messaging. “We do not see how the branding of Black Lives Matter is exclusive from all other lives and we cannot make a similar statement in a different movement,” he told The College Fix.
“Sure, it is related and based off the BLM slogan,” Plotzke admitted, “but with no intent to undermine the movement. We are not even using the poster to push an entire movement, but rather a specific event. We, as students in an academic setting, should be allowed to market our events as we see fit.”
The chapter president also explained the thinking behind the posters. “The statement is very simple and you could not market such an event any better and eye catching [sic],” he said. “When people see that statement, they will either agree or disagree, but the point is getting people to see the message, and we firmly believe that it would have been effective.”
Indeed, it seems that this controversy drew attention to the event, and protesters who covered their faces with masks were even turned away.
Last October, DePaul University President Reverend Dennis H. Holtschneider banned posters reading “Unborn Lives Matter,” a message in keeping with Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life. Holtschneider defended this decision, despite the fact that “Black Lives Matter” posters hang on the windows of DePaul’s administrative offices.
In a letter, Holtschneider denounced the pro-life message, declaring, “you will see us refuse to allow members of our community to be subjected to bigotry that occurs under the cover of free speech.” The president admitted that the school “asked students to redesign a banner that provokes the Black Lives Matter movement.”
Much like the “Unborn Lives Matter” sign, the “Gay Lives Matter” sign was copying the style of “Black Lives Matter” to prove a point — that unborn children and homosexuals are being killed in America and in Muslim countries across the world, respectively.
The use of this kind of messaging seems defensible on the grounds that Black Lives Matter sees itself as directing attention to people dying, because these people are being ignored. It is arguably an even better use of the motif to highlight the deaths of the unborn (minimized as “clumps of cells”) or those of LGBT people in Muslim countries (often overlooked so as not to appear “Islamophobic”).
Nevertheless, Students for Justice in Palestine distributed its own posters, declaring that “queer liberation is always anti-racist and anti-imperialist.” Is it racist to point out that some of the more radical Islamic countries put gay people to death? Is it inherently imperialist to say anything negative about non-Western countries? What about Russia, which was an imperialist country among those Kirchick attacked as anti-gay?
These arguments also make Amy Mynaugh’s claim that “Gay Lives Matter” somehow “pits two marginalized groups against each other.” Are gay lives inherently in conflict with black lives? Does the “Black Lives Matter” movement include advocacy for the whitewashing of murder, under the premise that Muslims are more often black?
Gay lives do matter, and DePaul deserves criticism for prioritizing the “Black Lives Matter” slogan over free speech, unborn children, and gay people who are truly oppressed in other countries.
Watch the video of Kirchick’s speech below.
Jamie Kirchick explains why big government and Radical Islam are the ENEMIES of Gay Rights.
Posted by DePaul Turning Point USA on Wednesday, May 10, 2017