August 02, 2009

Homophobia in Tel Aviv ... And at Home

I'm an ardent marriage equality activist, devoting numerous hours each week in California to try to repeal Proposition 8. In my mind, marriage equality is one more step on the long road toward social equality and the end of homophobia. But sometimes, you realize you're already on mile 118 when there are still some people stuck at the starting line.


This weekend, an unidentified attacker in a ski-mask entered the Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Association in Israel and opened fire on the people inside. The Center provides services for gay and lesbian youth in Israel. As a result of the attack, two people are dead (a 26-year-old man and a 17-year-old woman). At least 11 others are injured. (BBC News has coverage: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8180655.stm)

Certainly this is a horrifying and cowardly act of pure homophobia. But it shows how deep these emotions run and how truly scared many people are in this world to be accepting. Luckily, Israel is rallying against the attacker. Prime Minister Netanyahu, opposition leader Tzipi Livni, and the chief rabbis of Israel have all condemned the attack. While they may not always be strong on gay rights, at least they know when someone has gone too far.

As of the time I'm writing this, BBC is reporting about the incident on the front page of its news site. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/). Certainly the BBC has always been better at covering international news than American news outlets, which often focus on fluff stories and entertainment. But CNN, right now, is a huge disappointment.

The coverage is not, at this point, on the front page. In fact, the only way I've found it is by clicking "World" on the bottom under "More News". For awhile, this wasn't even under "Top World Stories" on the right, and you had to click "More World Stories" to get it. It slowly seems to be moving its way up the ranks. Mind you, this blatant act of homophobia is still not on the front page though, while "EW picks: Make a date with John & Kate" and "CNN Wire: Michael Jackson's mom goes to..." are.

Ok, ok... I know that CNN is often quick to report on entertainment before major news stories. But probably the most embarrassing part of their coverage is their "facts." Take for example the headline: "2 dead, 11 hurt in shooting at gay club in Israel." As I said earlier, it wasn't a gay club; it was a youth center providing services, counseling, and assistance to LGBT youth. Yes, CNN newsfolks, gay people are in fact capable of congregating in places that aren't clubs.

For the record, it's under "World" on MSNBC.com, and they correctly report that it was a "gay center." (Though their headline currently says the city is Tel Avi, not Tel Aviv; likely to be found and fixed by the time you're reading this.) New York Times also reports it as a "Gay Center" in their World section. So why, then, is CNN the only one who still thinks this was a "gay club"?

In the end, the event is rattling Israel. It reminds me that we have a long way to go in fighting for equality when sometimes we still need to make the case that we have a right to exist at all.

1 comment:

Obesity said...

Such a terrible tragedy committed by bigots.