Any day now, President Donald Trump is expected to announce — with great fanfare, I’m sure, including a drum roll — his pronouncement on the ban of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. This alone should appall any American, or anyone who has decent human empathy, especially when you understand what many of these people are escaping. And we in the LGBT community should understand it a lot more.
Most people in that region (the seven nations mentioned thus far: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya) are simply escaping war, but LGBT people are also fleeing a culture that does not allow their existence. Note, I just said culture, not religion. The issue here is not the Islamic religion but rather the culture in that region, which other Islamic regions do not practice. That culture sanctions a practice called “honor killing.” That’s when a family kills a member who brings dishonor to the family. It’s mostly used against daughters who have sex out of wedlock and in some cases even when they have been raped, but that practice is slowing down. To a larger degree, honor killings are practiced on people who are LGBT.
Many of the LGBT communities in those nations believe they could find safe exile in the West particularly, in the United States, especially those from countries where we have troops, such as Iraq. Ah, Iraq — a country so full of spilled blood, the red sky of dawn almost matches its blood-red-soaked desert. And that’s what they’d love the LGBT community to do: disappear. Just look at the website of the Iraq LGBT community in exile: QueerIraq.
If we won’t be accepting LGBT exiles from the region, will the Palestinian National Authority accept them? And what about Israel, who has accepted Palestinian Muslim exiles? Just a few questions for our time.
Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. His recently published memoir, "And Then I Danced," is available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or at your favorite bookseller. You can follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarkSegalPGN or Twitter at https://twitter.com/PhilaGayNews.
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