The Gay List

Over at CiF, Patrick Strudwick points to a popular Holland gay magazine that has published a list of the world’s 20 most influential gay men.

As Strudwick says, there are some genuine heroes on this list – particularly Peter Tatchell. But he has a problem with the rundown: ‘all those on the list are western. In fact, they’re virtually all British and American.’

There’s no mention, for example, of Nikolai Alekseev, the Russian activist, lawyer and journalist, who for the last five years has organized the scandalously banned Moscow Pride march, and who was described by French gay magazine Têtu as ‘l’activiste le plus acharné du continent‘ (‘the continent’s most dogged activist’). Or Joel Nana Ngongang, the Cameroonian who has done more to further the cause of gay rights across Africa than any other. Why?

Why indeed? Perhaps because for some reason or other it’s become an intellectual faux pas to criticise foreign dictatorships that aren’t allied to the West, or religions that discriminate violently against gay men and women. That’s a shame, because it is often gay rights activists outside the West who are most desperately in need of support.

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3 Responses to “The Gay List”

  1. willow Says:

    There was a bit in the G2 the other day about Sarah Brown saying (possibly tweeting) about how happy she was that so many on the list were British. I think it is great that there is so much space in our society for people to be activists, but you make a good point about not recognising people who do that same job in much harder conditions, which it seems Mrs Brown also missed.

  2. maxdunbar Says:

    Well, it’s not as if gay people in the UK don’t have to struggle against prejudice sometimes – but in the developing/theocratic world it really can be a matter of life or death.

  3. Israel León Says:

    Our society is west-centric so…it’s not very common to consider other cultures, it’s a shame!

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