When the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, located on West 13th Street in Greenwich Village, imposed an “indefinite moratorium” early last month on pro-Palestinian groups using their meeting spaces, the center’s leadership hoped to put the controversy over Palestine solidarity organizing there to rest.
Instead, the center has stirred up a hornet’s nest of radical queer activists and their allies who are calling attention to the moratorium and demanding that it be reversed.
Two newly formed groups, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QAIA) and Queers for an Open LGBT Center (QFOLC), are turning up the heat on the Chelsea-area center, making New York the latest battleground over Israel within LGBT communities.
Demonstrations, sit-ins and pickets have greeted the LGBT Center in recent weeks.
Queer Palestine solidarity activists are angry at what they call “censorship” at a community center that has caved to Zionist donor pressure. Activists also say that the center’s response to their protests has disappointed them. For example, activists say the LGBT Center hired private guards in response to a March protest.
“The center [leadership has] betrayed the mission of the center. They have turned their backs on the community that they claim to serve, and they are excluding, expelling and banning people from the center based purely on their political perspective,” said Pauline Park, a founding member of QFOLC and a prominent transgender rights activist.