College campus demonstrations

flags of Palestine and Israel painted on cracked wall
(Photo: Adobe Stock)

As a veteran of numerous demonstrations and as someone who has been arrested several times over the years, it’s something I have always been interested in. As you probably know, there is an opinion coming from me.

We all know the facts about the reason behind these recent demonstrations. The simple facts are that Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing and kidnapping people. Then Israel retaliated in Gaza. From this point, it all breaks down into rhetoric, political discourse, free speech and hate speech. Supporters of the Palestinians and some supporting Hamas have created encampments on college campuses and Jewish American students (not Israeli students) have been feeling unsafe as some of the protesters yell antisemitic chants which — like Hamas — call for the death of not only Israel, but Jews. 

I would hope that we all want the killings ended and the hostages released. If you cannot agree to both of those points together, read no further since I believe your humanity is in question.

The point of participating in any demonstration is to make your point known and take a stand, and if you can’t stand up and take pride for your position, you might be on the wrong side of history. I participated out loud and proud in many civil rights, anti war, anti apartheid, and LGBTQ+ rights demonstrations throughout my lifetime. I was proud to speak up, and do so publicly unmasked, even in a time when LGBTQ+ people were  — let’s say — 99% in the closet. It was my face and others that were out there when others could not. We strongly stood for our position and knew history would prove us right. We were willing to take the consequences for being OUT, LOUD and PROUD of our positions. Unfortunately, today’s campus crusaders are so afraid that their privileged future might be harmed, that they wear masks. 

The word for that is “cowardly”. 

In all those past demonstrations listed above, we were also demonstrating to end killings….and we were clear about that. However, things are different in this case. While we hear the anger at Israel’s government, we hear almost no condemnation of Hamas.

From all of us who have been on the line for LGBTQ+ equality before many of those demonstrating today were born, there is something you should consider if you support Hamas in any way: Hamas kills people like you. They have tossed LGBTQ+ people off the roof of buildings, dragged them chained by cars through a village, and whipped, imprisoned, and raped people like you. 

It is time for LGBTQ+ people who support the Palestinian cause to make it clear that they do not support those who literally and publicly have said and acted on their vow of “Death to homosexuals.”

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