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    What bothered me the most is that he is a white man. He calls oterhs orientalists but is apparently under the impression that there are no lesbian Syrians who can speak for themselves. Either that or he is too lazy/ignorant to find them, in which case how on earth does he think he is qualified to speak on their behalf? Utter bullshit. He has no idea what it's like to be a lesbian, no idea what it's like to be a woman, and surely no idea what it's like to be Arab. I'm not Syrian, but I am an out woman, and I know very well how frequently even straight, feminist allies get it wrong. I do not need anyone to appropriate my experiences, they are my own. What I need is a space to be heard. What this man did, even if his intentions were good, is utterly ignorant. When I went to a a talk called Queer Palestinians Talk Politics (which I blogged about on Mondo) one of the most valuable things I heard from the activists there in their comments about pinkwashing was that they do not wish to be saved by the great pro-LGBT western messiah. Winning the fight that way would be meaningless, because it reduces agency. These are their battles to fight, their societies to transform, their struggles to overcome. If we continue to impose our one-dimensional analysis, our western assumptions, our enlightened-we-are-better-than-you attitudes, we are no better than those who think they can bomb other countries into democracy. What we can do is stand with them, give them the platform they need to be heard, treat them like actual human beings.

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