NATIONAL LGBTQ TASK FORCE CAVES TO EXTREMISTS — CANCELS A WIDER BRIDGE ISRAEL RECEPTION AT UPCOMING CONFERENCE IN CHICAGO. A WIDER BRIDGE ANNOUNCES EVENT WILL GO ON AT NEW VENUE.
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After being approved as a part of the program well in advance, the organizers of the Creating Change conference in Chicago caved into extremist anti-Israel demands and canceled the A Wider Bridge-sponsored reception that was to be held on Friday, January 22. The reception plans to feature two leaders of Jerusalem Open House, (JOH) Jerusalem’s flagship LGBTQ organization. A Wider Bridge is announcing today that the reception will go on, but at a new location outside of the conference venue. It will be held at the Blackstone Hotel, English Room, 636 S. Michigan Ave, at 8:30 PM. on the 22nd.
Arthur Slepian, Executive Director of A Wider Bridge, said “A Wider Bridge is one of the leading LGBTQ organizations in the country, an advocate for LGBTQ rights here in North America, in Israel and around the world, and it is both sad and disgraceful that the organizers of Creating Change decided that there is no place for us in this significant gathering of LGBT leaders from around the U.S. and the world. We work to promote honest dialogue and collaboration and to present Israel to our program participants in all of its complexity. Our trips include visits to the West Bank, and our participants engage with Palestinians, Israeli Ethiopians, transgender leaders, and LGBTQ leaders from Israel’s religious communities. Our programs explore issues involving homophobia, transphobia, sexism, racism, ultra-nationalism, and many other forms of bigotry — the very same issues being addressed at the Creating Change conference. The Israeli LGBTQ community has something important to add to the global conversation about LGBTQ rights. We are saddened by what appears to be capitulation to the intimidation of a small number of anti-Israel extremists who want to shut down the voices of those who don’t adhere to their rigid and exclusive party line. As LGBTQ people, we are all too familiar with being oppressed through shaming, the closet, and imposed silence, and we see great danger in allowing this kind of censorship and blatant double standard to become the norm in our community.”
Slepian added, “It is especially sad that this action excludes from Creating Change the leaders of one of the most important LGBTQ organizations in the world. Jerusalem Open House (JOH) is an organization that works tirelessly to build LGBTQ community in a city with a very diverse population and a challenging environment. JOH organizes the annual Jerusalem Pride March that was the scene of horrific violence last summer that led to the death of one teenage girl, and JOH has been leading the effort to help the community recover from the trauma of that tragedy. We hope that the leaders of the LGBTQ community, both Jewish and non-Jewish, will come to meet these leaders and stand in solidarity with us at our alternative event.”
You can read more about our event here:
There is no admission fee for our reception, and one can register online or by contacting Laurie Grauer at firstname.lastname@example.org