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Tel Aviv's Gay Holocaust Victims Memorial Unveiled

By ARON HELLER 01/10/14 11:49 AM ET EST AP

tel aviv gay holocaust memorial

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israel’s cultural and financial capital unveiled a memorial Friday honoring gays and lesbians persecuted by the Nazis, the first specific recognition in Israel for non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

Tucked away in a Tel Aviv park, a concrete, triangle-shaped plaque details the plight of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people under Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. It resembles the pink triangles Nazis forced gays to wear in concentration camps during World War II and states in English, Hebrew and German: “In memory of those persecuted by the Nazi regime for their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The landmark joins similar memorials in Amsterdam, Berlin, San Francisco and Sydney dedicated to gay victims of the Holocaust. While Israel has scores of monuments for the genocide, the Tel Aviv memorial is the first that deals universally with Jewish and non-Jewish victims alike and highlights the Jewish state’s rise as one of the world’s most progressive countries for gay rights.

“I think in Israel today it is very important to show that a human being is a human being is a human being,” Mayor Ron Huldai said at the dedication ceremony, where a rainbow flag waved alongside Israel’s blue-and-white flag. “It shows that we are not only caring for ourselves but for everybody who suffered. These are our values — to see everyone as a human being.”

Israel was born out of the Holocaust and its 6 million Jewish victims remains seared in the country’s psyche. Israel holds an annual memorial day where sirens stop traffic across the nation, it sends soldiers and youth on trips to concentration camp sites and often cites the Holocaust as justification for an independent Jewish state so Jews will “never again” be defenseless.

But after 70 years, Tel Aviv councilman Eran Lev thought it was time to add a universal element to the commemoration. Lev is one of many gays elected to public office in Tel Aviv, a city with a vibrant gay scene that has emerged as a top international destination for gay tourism.

“The significance here is that we are recognizing that there were other victims of the Holocaust, not just Jews,” said Lev, who initiated the project during his brief term in office.

As part of their persecution of gays, the Nazis kept files on 100,000 people, mostly men. About 15,000 were sent to camps and at least half were killed. Other Nazi targets included communists, Slavs, gypsies and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Unlike their persecution of Jews, however, there was no grand Nazi plan to exterminate gays. Nazis viewed being gay as a “public health problem” since those German men did not produce children, said Deborah Dwork, director of the Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

“The idea was to change their behavior, not to eradicate them, not to murder them,” Dwork said.

The policy was far from sweeping — as evidenced by the rampant homosexuality among the ranks of the Nazi Party’s SA paramilitary wing, which helped pave Hitler’s path to power. The most famous gay Nazi was Ernst Röhm, one of the most powerful men in the party before Hitler had him executed in 1934.

Later, the Nazis outlawed homosexuality and the Gestapo set up a special unit targeting homosexuality. In the Buchenwald concentration camp, the Nazis carried out experiments to try and “cure” homosexuality. Those sent to the camps were forced to wear pink triangles, compared to the yellow stars that Jews bore on their clothing. Gay Jews wore an emblem that combined the two colors.

Today, Israel is one of the world’s most progressive countries in terms of gay rights. Gays serve openly in Israel’s military and parliament. The Supreme Court grants a variety of family rights such as inheritance and survivors’ benefits. Gays, lesbians and a transsexual are among the country’s most popular musicians and actors.

Moshe Zimmermann, a professor from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the memorial project’s historical adviser, said the Tel Aviv monument marked a big step in Israel by ridding itself from what he called a monopoly of victim hood.

“We are finally shedding the load of being the lone and ultimate victim,” he said. “We can learn from this that by recognizing the victimhood of others, it does not diminish the uniqueness of your own victim hood.”

 

Further reading:

 

  1. Original Article – Huffington Post
  2. BBC News Article
  3. BN&S Commentary
  4. The Gay Holocaust Lagers

Support Russian LGBT Rights

Boys Town Studios, Gay Porn Company, To Donate Profits To LGBT Charities

 

First published in the The Huffington Post  |  By  Posted: 08/16/2013 12:05 pm EDT  |  Updated: 08/16/2013 12:10 pm EDT

 

boys town studios gay porn

 

Boys Town Studios, an all-male porn company with a charity-based philosophy, will launch this fall as a branch of Monarchy Distribution. All of the profits made from projects by this studio will go to support the advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.

“100 percent of the profits from all these movies, including DVD sales, video-on-demand, cable and broadcast will be donated to our newly-created non-profit,” said Mike Kulich, owner of Monarchy Distribution, in a statement sent to the Huffington Post.

“Anyone will be able to write Boys Town Studios and tell their stories about how bigotry and homophobia has affected their lives, and we will step into help those victims as much as we can.”

Kulich also highlighted that the profits from the studio’s first film will go towards helping gay Russian refugees, in an effort to subsidize the cost of their relocation as they seek asylum in other countries in the wake of the country’s extreme anti-LGBT violence and legislation.

The studio plans to release two films per month, with the first film, titled “Deep In The Dark,” slated to premiere this October.

Queers in Exile: the Unforgotten Legacies of LGBTQ Homeless Youth

LGBT Homeless Youth Documented In ‘Queers in Exile’ At The Leslie Lohman Museum (PHOTOS)

The Huffington Post  |  By  Posted: 07/16/2013 8:09 am EDT  |  Updated: 07/17/2013 10:01 am EDT

An exhibition entitled “Queers in Exile: the Unforgotten Legacies of LGBTQ Homeless Youth” will provide a historical narrative and abundance of images to the long-silenced tale of homeless queer youth.

lgbtq homeless youth

The exhibition, curated by Alexis Heller, will illuminate the untold street stories from 1969’s Stonewall riots to present day, revealing years of persecution, determination and hope. From pop master Andy Warhol to LGBTQ documentary photographer Samantha Box, the selected artists capture the all too invisible generations of survivors, creators and revolutionaries who call the streets their home.

The show takes its name from Sylvia Rivera’s essay “Queens in Exile, The Forgotten Ones,” which demands respect and change for LGBTQ communities. In the spirit of Rivera’s essay, the Leslie Lohman Museum explains how their exhibition does not just seek to revisit the past but change the present and what is to come.

“It is a view of history told by those who live/lived it within a community often silenced and ignored, but the vision goes beyond visibility. It is about collective memory and conscience, and repositioning queer homeless young people from ‘other’ to ‘our own’… It offers homeless youth a place by grounding them within an empowered history and lineage, honors their struggle, and reflects that they matter.”

“Queers in Exile” runs from July 18 – July 28, 2013 at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York. See a preview of the exhibition in the slideshow below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.