June 8, 2011

LGBT Center sit-in: weird success, failure & pix.

This evening's sit-in by Queers Against Israeli Occupation and Siegebusters, with support from QFOLC, went oddly unchallenged by the LGBT Center. About 60 people gathered in the lobby to hold the scheduled-then-banned QAIA meeting, since the Center had refused to allow QAIA to rent a room.

The meeting went on for about 90 minutes and broke just about every rule the Center has ever enforced about the lobby: meeting attendees sat on the floor, blocked the flow of traffic (not on purpose, but because there were so many people), spoke and applauded loudly, etc. The Center made absolutely no response -- staff just let the meeting go on. And amazingly, the sky didn't fall as queers discussed controversial topics and organized action.

While the Center was arguably wise to just let the moment pass without escalating (remember that in March they panicked and hired private security goons, ostensibly to protect the Center from the queer protest outside), it doesn't necessarily add up to good news. Instead, it seems like the Center will just go along with whatever pressure it most currently feels.

The LGBTQ community urgently needs the Center actually to stand up for queer space, for openness, for community and accountability. That includes refusing to be bullied into pushing queers out of the Center, making its operations transparent and public, and explicitly affirming that the Center is open to all facets of the community -- not just whenever it's convenient. Nothing like that happened tonight, and the fight goes on.

Here are photos from the sit-in. More will be listed here as we see them posted.

Gay City News:

Critics of Israeli Occupation Occupy Center Lobby

Queer group terming treatment of Palestinians “apartheid” defies ban on its meetings


  1. Keep up the good fight people- what you're doing is historical for the center and damn admirable & inspiring for everyone else!


About Queers for an Open LGBT Center