Tony Gosling, darling of the Bristol PSC, told the Muslim News he was “personally disgusted” by books that teach about homosexual relationships: “No way should kids be indoctrinated in this way. Anyone who says so is branded as homophobic which they are not; it’s the gay mafia in full swing.”
Peter Tatchell, the gay rights activist, has voiced his anger at the homophobia apparent in the PSC:
… members of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) – are questioning the right of the queer activist group OutRage! to fight back against the officially-sanctioned persecution of queers in the Palestinian-controlled areas of Gaza and the West Bank.
According to the PSC, OutRage! is “attempting to defame” the Palestine solidarity movement and is “damaging the cause of solidarity with Palestinians”. In particular, it objected to OutRage! revealing how PSC officials and stewards had attempted to silence criticism of Palestinian homophobia.
But we also called for an end to the torture and murder of lesbians and gays by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Our placards additionally read, “Palestine: Stop persecuting queers”.
It was never our intention to disrupt the PSC rally or create a commotion. We had a small, low-key presence. Our aim was to raise awareness. We wanted to alert supporters of Palestine, in the hope they would help us pressure the Palestinian leadership to halt its oppression of queers.
What turned a minor presence into a major incident was the repressive response of the PSC organisers and stewards. They surrounded us, ordering us to the back of the demonstration. When we refused, they blocked out our placards with their own, obscuring our message. PSC officials also shouted us down, preventing us talking with journalists and other protesters who wanted to find out more about the suffering of queers in Palestine.
The PSC now denies this intimidation and censorship took place. But it was filmed by a Channel 4 documentary maker, Darren Lewey, and photographed by four professionals, including the respected left-wing and pro-Palestine photographer Paul Mattsson. They all corroborate OutRage!’s version of events.
In a bid to deflect criticism, the PSC has issued a statement saying it opposes homophobia. Fine words. But what has it actually done to challenge the violent homophobia of the PLO, Hamas and PA? I wrote to the PSC nine years ago, asking them to urge the PLO to stop killing queers. The PSC did nothing. I emailed the PSC office six weeks ago requesting dialogue. They never replied.
The PSC accuses OutRage! of damaging solidarity with the Palestinians. That’s right PSC, blame the people who defend the victims, and let the oppressors off the hook.
In addition to Tatchell’s experience, the PSC has a long history of supporting groups who preach an extreme hatred of homosexuals. Hizb-ut-Tahrir and the iERA are both extremist groups for whose speakers the PSC has provided a platform. Tzortzis believes homosexuality should be criminalised.