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No International GLBTIQ ‘Spokesperson’

by De Ket in Columns & Opinions , 23 mei 2019

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

Dear Neighbors to the North, Five years ago, a prominent orthopaedic surgeon from Brussels got into trouble. In the university hospital he worked at, he had hurled all kinds of anti-Semitic reproaches towards a Jewish assistant-in-training during an operation. The story leaked to the media. The surgeon was not aware of any harm done, but forgot to take the Israeli lobby machine into account. That was also my first introduction to this powerful lobby group.

In my former job and in the days after the incident became known in the press, I received thousands of emails from all over the world. All by people from the Jewish community who asked me to ensure that the man would never work as a doctor again. The content of the letter was always different, but the demands to strip him of his doctor’s license were included in each letter.

That, in my position in the medical world, I could do no such thing, did not seem to matter. I was one of many, who, professionally, saw the amount of mails increase by thousands. There was no end to them. I even believe that every Belgian orthopaedic surgeon has received emails from the Jewish community with the request to put a stop to the career of this colleague from Brussels. Hundreds of doctors were bombarded with similar mails.

Without this bombardment, the management of the university hospital had already made the decision not to cooperate with the surgeon in question any longer. Without any problems, the surgeon could start working at another hospital. He is still active in medicine.

Perhaps the gay community can learn from this form of “lobbying” or “propaganda.” We often read of homophobic incidents around the world, but apart from a few statements and accusations on social media, we are not lobbying effectively. In terms of “advocacy” we are not in a strong position.

Now take the introduction of the death penalty by stoning in Brunei. The prestigious Dorchester hotels that belong to the sultan were severely criticized on their social media. The closure of these accounts was their last option. That is wonderful progress, but does not go far enough. The entire network of all companies owned by the sultan should be addressed, even Belgian companies that do business with Brunei. Had the sultan made an anti-Semitic statement, the ambassador of Brunei in Israel would have been asked to leave immediately.

Elton JohnWith homophobic statements and other incidents, the indignation at most lasts a couple of days, and nothing happens. Perhaps it is due to the fact that the global GLBTIQ community has no global “spokesperson.” On a global level, no one is defending us. No GLBTIQ person has any international sway. With all due respect, but figures such as Elton John and George Clooney make themselves heard but have no “balls” (or desire) to further engage themselves politically in that area.

Within the GLBTIQ community, there is no international feeling of belonging to a global group either. Animosity between the different sub-communities is still a major problem. The “United Nations of GLBTIQs” would sound great at an international level, and we would finally get international representation through a spokesperson. The GLBTIQ initiatives within international institutions, such as in the United Nations, are just window dressing, with representatives of our community mainly living a debauched lifestyle in various global cities, more concerned about maintaining their mundane life than making tough statements addressed to world leaders, especially sultans.

Perhaps it is high time to start an efficient international PR machine. No luxury in 2019, where homosexuality is still punishable in seventy-three countries in the world, even by death.

Yours sincerely,

De Ket



In the New Issue of Gay News, 334, Juni 2019

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