(San Francisco, CA) – A broad, united coalition of human rights advocates and politicians will hold a spirited rally Sunday, May 17, in solidarity with the LGBT citizens of Iraq, who face surging violence and killings. Recent reports out of Baghdad document the gruesome gluing of anuses of gay men, who are forced to swallow laxatives, leading to death by diarrhea, and come amid continuing genital mutilation of gays.
Responding to the atrocities, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community organizers will hold a demonstration to support LGBT Iraqis:
WHO: Human rights activists and elected officials
WHAT: Rally and fundraiser
WHERE: Harvey Milk Plaza, Castro and Market Streets
DATE: Sunday, May 17
TIME: 12:30 – 1:30 PM (Fundraising on the streets noon-4pm)
A diverse array of leaders will speak at the rally, including Sen. Mark Leno, Supervisor Bevan Dufty, SF Police Commission President Theresa Sparks, Karen Kai of the Rainbow World Fund, Rev. Lea Brown of the Metropolitan Community Church, Debra Walker of the Harvey Milk Democratic Club, political artist Clinton Fein, and community organizers Michael Petrelis and Gary Virginia of Gays Without Borders.
There will be al so a “bucket brigade” at the rally and circulating through cafes and restaurants of the Castro soliciting donations for groups working with LGBT Iraqis. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a social advocacy organization, have donated $1,000, and will supply volunteers for the brigade.
Rainbow World Fund, an LGBT international humanitarian relief charity, is serving as the fiscal sponsor, and donations made through it are tax-deductible (http://www.rainbowfund.org). The Fund's colorful and eye-catching school bus will be parked at Milk Plaza, to serve as a welcome-wagon full of banners, posters and donation buckets. Donations will be used to provide direct aid to the Iraqi LGBT community.
Speaking for Gays Without Borders/SF, an LGBT group focused on global issues, Gary Virginia explained the motivations for the May 17 actions.
“We San Franciscans have a solemn duty to denounce anti-LGBT hatred in Iraq. Our demands to President Obama, the State Department and Congress are simple and doable – condemn the torture and slayings, investigate the human rights abuses, and create a sizable number of asylum slots for LGBT Iraqis to enter and reside in America,” said Virginia.