Michael Lucas has a column up at The Advocate that actually discusses something that really happened this time: the Tel Aviv delegation to Berlin Pride has decided not to display the Israeli flag during pride. Michael Lucas blames the gays, saying they don't have "balls":
A delegation from Tel Aviv is planning to march in that city's pride events, yet this gay Israeli group doesn't have the balls to carry an Israeli flag. To avoid the jeers of Israel-bashers and anti-Semites, they've decided to leave behind flags and other symbols that would call attention to their national identity.
Then he says the gays are self-hating and don't have respect for the dead:
These people don't have enough pride in themselves, nor enough respect for the dead, to announce themselves as gay Israelis.
Like a true neo-McCarthyite, he calls Israeli gay leaders "traitors":
Every country has traitors. Sadly, a few of them in Israel are usurping the voice of the gay rights movement there.
Then, finally, he calls gays "sissy," although here he blames that name-calling on straight Israelis (I would never think such things, but you know how, um, my friends are...):
Many in Israel will assume that the LGBT movement there is led by self-loathing losers. It will play into stereotypes of sissy gays who are too scared to stand up for themselves.
So, since I don't trust the guy's ability to render the facts truthfully nor do I trust The Advocate's editors to do anything about it
if when their columnists lie, I googled the situation to find out if it's really true that Israeli gays are so afraid that those evil Germans would heckle them that they weren't willing to carry an Israeli flag. Here's how Ynet, the English-language site of Israel's biggest daily paper, covered the story:
Thus, there will be no Israeli flags and the emphasis will be on Tel Aviv as a global city - pluralistic and liberal, which accepts members of the gay community no matter where they're from. Moreover, visitors to the festival will receive information about Tel Aviv which will include a map that highlights LGBT entertainment centers.
A source within the tourism industry told Ynet that "in the past it has been proven that the correct and smart way to 'export' Israel, especially these days, is through emphasizing brands it excels in, without using anything that symbolizes the state of Israel. Unfortunately, the Israeli flag or Star of David can cause antagonism among many."
The Tourism Ministry understands this new reality and explains: "Unfortunately, this is the smart way to market Israeli brands abroad." It should be mentioned that the ministry promotes some Israeli sites and destinations without mentioning the word Israel.
Wait, the tourism industry made the decision, not LGBT activists? Which means that we're mostly talking about straight people? And they weren't worried about mean Germans heckling them, but about tourism euros that might be lost because of the Israeli government's war crimes in Gaza and colonialism in the West Bank?
Well, that's a completely different story. It would have been nice of Lucas to mention that in The Advocate before calling Israeli gays "sissy" and "traitors."
It may seem like a little thing, but it really does change all the lessons that can be learned from this story. This story becomes one of many stories about pride celebrations all over the world, where the festivities sit on the fence between money-making ventures and political rallies.
The same discussion is happening from another perspective in Toronto as the city government has threatened to take away funding from Pride Toronto because of the participation of pro-Palestinian queers in previous pride celebrations. There, pride organizers worry they'll lose money if they keep a pro-Palestinian message in pride; in Berlin, Tel Aviv's tourism industry worries that it'll lose business if it associates the brand of Tel Aviv to Israel's foreign policy.
In a perfect world, pride would be funded by passing around a hat or through donations and the political messages therein would be determined democratically by a city's LGBT population, but that's just not the case anymore. People expect bigger and better prides with huge parades and parties, all of which requires money, while advertisers, local governments, and tourism industries see the possibility for a solid return on an investment with a lot of people with supposedly higher amounts of disposable income getting together in one place.
In that world, the Tel Aviv delegation would fly the Israeli flag if they wanted to and Queers Against Israeli Apartheid would march in Toronto, and no one would worry what business interests or government investors thought since that shouldn't matter when it comes to an exercise of free speech.
But that's not the story according to Lucas. In The Advocate, he paints a different picture, one that takes blame away from straight people and puts it entirely on gay people's shoulders in order to make it sound as if their actions are related entirely to their own feelings, their own personal self-hatred, with a dose of cowardice in the face of evil Germans (who, I should point out, are lovely people nowadays). It's a war-like view of the situation that calls on people to be less understanding of one another instead of more.
Lucas does say one thing that's entirely true, though: "I'm truly baffled by this situation." There's nothing wrong with being baffled, as Lucas often is, but people who are baffled about something shouldn't writing columns about it in The Advocate.