Last week my husband said, “Appreciate the privilege.” He was responding to my complaints regarding the hectic schedule I have due to being named one of the grand marshals of the upcoming World Pride Parade that celebrates Stonewall 50.


mark-segalHe was right. It is a privilege — one that I never thought I’d live to see. While I should be happy, last week I read something that led me to one of the deepest depressions I’ve had in years. 


The butcher of Saudia Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, had beheaded 37 people, and one of them  he crucified — publicly displaying his body as a deterrent to others. Five of those victims had been accused of homosexuality.


Only two weeks prior, the sultan of Brunei ruled that homosexuals should be stoned to death (update: he just walked that back.) In Egypt, a person can be arrested for waving a rainbow flag. The presidents of both Poland and Brazil blamed gay people for everything wrong in their countries. Hamas leaders in the Gaza strip have said “death to homosexuals,” and family members of those leaders have gone into exile in both Canada and the U.S. In Libya, the number of LGBT people that have been killed since the revolution is unknown.


This is genocide: “The deliberate killing of a large group of people.” Some countries have spoken to it, but has anyone taken action?


Here’s what could be done to any country that supports genocide against the LGBT community:


• Investigate as war/genocide crimes at the world court

• United Nations sanctions

• Airline restrictions

• Restrict financial institutions

• Restrict envoys at the 

• Trade restrictions

• Facilitate cultural exchanges

• Implement student-exchange programs


While we might complain about an international lack of action, many in our own community use rhetoric that gives cover to horrendous slaughter.


Killing gay people once happened in this country, and if you asked today’s trans community, you’d discover that it is still happening at an alarming rate, especially to trans people of color.


Countries can take action on an international stage. Leaders of those countries can live with the actions they do and do not take. Individuals can take steps in their own backyards. It is a collective fight against oppression.


I wish I could give you some answers, but each of you will have to decide which battle you want to wage. Stopping genocide is a battle; how we fight it and what tools we use is the issue. One suggestion I might make is to be visible, because what’s visible cannot be ignored. That was the action we took 50 years ago.


At the very least, every LGBT person or government with the slightest sense of humanity, should be demanding action against the blood-thirsty, crucifying, bone-sawing butcher of Saudi Arabia.  



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