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Letter to participants at the LGBT Community Center public forum –

March 13, 2011

Greetings to All,

We don't know how this meeting will go. We are (separately) members of Siegebusters, members of groups
who wrote to the Center to object to the treatment of Siegebusters and queer political activists in general,
organizers of the last week’s protest against the Center’s censorship, Palestinian and Jewish queers, and
active participants in queer community. The Center hasn't included any of us as “stakeholders” in planning
this meeting. However, we'd like to offset some of the chaos by offering a few starting ideas.

Some bottom-line issues:

1. The Center dealt badly with Siegebusters. An apology is due, and the Center should immediately restore
Siegebusters' access to meeting space until it can provide a transparent process for deciding otherwise. The
reasons given by Center staff for cancelling the March 5 event and Siegebusters ongoing meetings in
scattered e-mails and announcements (that Siegebusters is somehow not queer enough, or that queer
activism on Palestine makes queer space “unsafe”) have been broadly refuted in public comment from
many corners of the queer community.

2. This controversy reveals a much bigger problem at the Center – lack of transparent decision-making.
Center Executive Director Glennda Testone and the Center’s Board of Directors have made major
decisions about our space and community with no real community engagement.
 No one from Siegebusters was consulted before the cancellation.
 No organizers of the ensuing protest against the Center were contacted before the Center decided
to hire private goons to police our community center against us.
 No public response has been made to the queers – particularly queers of color and Palestinian
queers – who told the Center that this decision has marginalized them and made them unsafe.
 The forum today has been organized without input from affected groups.
The Center must have a transparent process for making (and that allows for challenges of) decisions about
who can use the Center. The Center also must open its board meetings to the public and take public
comment. The board should be accountable, and it isn't. Its operations aren't public, its members don’t
represent our communities, and it doesn't provide the Center's constituency with any lines of
communication – although it's clearly making decisions about us.

What this meeting shouldn't be about:

 The Center shouldn't be blessing or disapproving queer political work, nor should this meeting.
 The Center shouldn't be making political calls about the Middle East, nor should this meeting.
 It's not a “neutral position” to shut down queer organizing or anti-occupation work because it's
“too controversial.” But having gotten itself into this mess, the Center now has the responsibility to
transparently and neutrally bring folks back to the table. This meeting doesn't satisfy that responsibility.

Here’s hoping for a productive discussion,

Bill Dobbs, Brad Taylor, Emmaia Gelman, Naomi Brussel, Sammer Aboelela, Sarena Melchert

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