From the Independent (UK) 3/8/08:
Mehdi Kazemi is a gay teenager from Iran. He sought sanctuary in Britain after his boyfriend was hanged for homosexuality. So why is Britain so determined to send him back to Tehran – to almost certain execution?
The article has an excellent summary of the situation of a 19 year old gay man who is trying to avoid being sent back to Iran so he won't be killed by the fundamentalist government there.
You would think that a left politician like George Galloway would be supporting queer activists who are trying to stop the deporation. Instead, Galloway is demonizing the queers who are fighting for justice and human rights by claiming that they are somehow tools of the war machine.
But, it gets worse. Galloway made a baseless and viciously homophobic accusation against the boyfriend who no longer is alive to defend himself. Galloway actually said that Kazemi's boyfriend was executed for "committing sex crimes against young men."
That may be the official line of the heterosexist government in Iran, but it is not based on any credible evidence. Galloway is uncritically repeating the pedophile libel which has been used to smear lgbt people by militant Christian fundamentalists for decades. Galloway should know better.
Galloway also made the factually incorrect claim that people aren't killed for being gay by the Iranian government. This is dangerous since it makes it easier for Islamophobic and heterosexist governments in the West to deny lgbt asylum seekers from Muslim countries.
The bigotry in Galloway's comments is not the only disturbing aspect of it. The divisiveness of them also are dangerous. In the real world, efforts to oppose the murder of queers by the Iranian government are going to make no difference in whether or not an attack is launched on Iran, nor will those efforts change the levels of support and opposition to such an attack.
However, the peace movement will be hurt if this kind of homophobia against queer war opponents continues. A productive peace movements works to stop the current war and prevent future ones, rather than dividing and making it easier for the neocons to pursue their ends. Galloway is a leader of the "Respect" party in the UK. This is ironic since many queers have little reason to respect him and he has shown no respect for us.
However, the vast majority of the peace movement has avoided this kind of Jesse Helms style homohatred. Scapegoating is usually the tool of the neoconservative movement. It's important for queers to speak up now, unless we are going to be scapegoated by bigots if Bush attacks Iran.
Ordinarily, I wouldn't want to condone Galloway's heterosexism by linking to a video where he expresses it. However, I know that Galloway's previous outspoken stance against the Iraq War has given him quite a following here in the US, and some people might not want to believe how bigoted his behavior has been.