October 28, 2012
To the Editor:
In “Ambitious Facelift Planned for LGBT Community Center” (by Paul Schindler, Oct. 10-23), you report on the Center’s planned $7.5 million renovation and quote executive director Glennda Testone as saying it is part of “a vision for the Center that offers impeccable social services in a setting that everyone who walks in feels is reflective of their lives.”
But that $7.5 million ‘vision’ does not reflect the lives, perspectives, or aspirations of LGBT human rights activists or those of LGBT Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims and many queer immigrants living in New York City who no longer feel welcome at a center that has banned all mention of Palestine. Under the influence of a few wealthy anti-Arab and Islamophobic donors and funders, the Center continues to ban all Palestine solidarity organizing, including meetings of the Siege Busters Working Group and Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QAIA). Sadly, the Center’s board and executive director have rejected the original vision that led to its founding — as an open space for all members of the community and a site for community organizing and political activism — in favor of one that reflects the values of the most privileged elements of our community. The Center is no longer a community center but rather a profit center that has abandoned all pretense of commitment to social justice.
New York City Queers Against Israeli Apartheid
This letter to the editor appeared on GayCityNews.com on 19 November 2012 under the title, “The Center’s Facelift & Its Blemishes.”