Also.Also.Also: Ceasefire Now

feature image photo by NurPhoto / Contributor via Getty Images

Did you know you can fax your representatives to demand an immediate ceasefire? It is free and easy to do.


Queer as in F*ck You

Witnessing Gaza Through Instagram. Zaina Arafat, the queer Palestinian American author who wrote my favorite novel of 2020, has penned an essay about following various Palestinian journalists and writers on Instagram who are on the ground in Gaza, bearing witness to Israel’s genocidal violence and making sure the world sees and hears. Arafat writes on the complexities of being a Palestinian American living in the States:

Since the assault began, I’ve spent my days yelling, crying, sharing, fundraising, and continuing on as normal. Bouts of activism interspersed with the daily life of a working mother in Brooklyn. I’ve taught my writing classes as usual without once mentioning Palestine. I’ve walked by the doxing vans and tried to shake off my disgust before entering the classroom. I’ve read at fundraisers and found my voice shaking, eyes burning, even though I’d chosen to read something with levity. Pain in writing can be hilarious, the author Geoff Dyer once told me. As a Palestinian, I’ve held on to that. I’ve gone to action-oriented meetings to organize. I’ve also gone to a dog Halloween-costume contest with my wife and our 1-year-old daughter. I’ve taken her to Tunes for Tykes. That I can grieve and protest, attend vigils and fundraisers, and still plan a birthday party for my daughter is a duality that is impossible to sit with. “Everything normal right now is obscene,” I heard Israeli journalist Amira Hass say early on in the war, and it’s true. Even sitting down to articulate this moment feels obscene.

And here is a piece written by a journalist on the ground for Al Jazeera in Gaza: “The Only Thing Keeping Me Standing Is the Suffering I’m Seeing”: Being a Journalist in Gaza.

When You Face a Backlash For Speaking Out About Palestine.

Why Queer and Trans People Need To Resist Pinkwashing. Queer and trans author Kai Cheng Thom wrote this piece for Xtra:

The deceptive logic of pinkwashing argues that queer and trans people, and all of our allies, ought to support Israel’s actions as a matter of our own self-preservation, an argument entrenched in Islamophobic and anti-Arab propaganda that claims Arabs and Muslims are inherently homophobic and violent. This style of propaganda that has been intensely present in the cultural sphere of the Global North since the so-called “War On Terrorism” began in 2001. Notably, this argument seems increasingly popular even among individuals who themselves are no great supporters of LGBTQ+ rights.

LGBTQ authors K-Ming Chang, Torrey Peters, and Fatimah Asghar are among the signatories of this statement of solidarity from One World authors calling on President Biden to demand the release of arrested activist Ahed Tamimi:


Saw This, Thought of You

Palestinian Poet Mosab Abu Toha Freed After Being Abducted in Gaza & Beaten by Israeli Forces in Jail.

Also about Mosab’s abduction: Celebrated Palestinian Poet Mosab Abu Toha Reportedly Seized in Gaza. “One may wonder why Israel would kidnap a poet. The answer, though painful, is simple. In its genocidal war against Palestinians, Israel seeks to erase not only Palestinian lives but also their culture and heritage.”

TikTok Says It’s Not the Algorithm, Teens Are Just Pro-Palestine.

This Palestinian Group Has an Urgent Request for Theater Companies Around the World. The group is asking people to perform The Gaza Monologues on November 29, 2023.

Another journalist has been killed by Israeli forces. Belal Jadallah, the “Godfather of Palestinian Journalism,” Has Been Killed in Gaza. At least 53 journalists and media workers have been killed.


Political Snacks


One More Thing

a poem:

And as a bonus, another poem:

Where is Mosab Abu Toha? A Poem from Gaza in 22 Languages.

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 837 articles for us.

14 Comments

  1. It’s pretty fu*ked up to say that Israel is trying to destroy Palestinian lives, their culture and heritage.

    This kind of us vs them rhetoric is deeply hateful and only breeds more racism.

    On pinkwashing, I do wish that queer activist would recognize at least that we would not be welcome in a free Palastine, we would be oppressed as we are in every corner and nook of the Islamic world, we should not be dodo birds.

    • I don’t know how you can watch the news on what is happening in Gaza and the West Bank and come to any other conclusion. Leading Holocaust and genocide scholars, the UN, multiple international bodies are calling this a genocide. Your both-sides-ism is obscene.

      The idea that queer people should be silent in the face of genocide because people believe the wrong things is also obscene. Also, queer Palestinians exist, and the biggest threat to their lives isn’t homophobia but Israeli bombs and apartheid.

    • Ah, That old islamaphobic “why do you care about them when they want to kill you all” propaganda. That in itself is “deeply hateful” rhetoric and “breeds more racism”.

      12,000 civilians have died and counting. Homes and businesses destroyed. Entire bloodlines wiped out. Various Israeli government officials have gone on record saying exactly what they think of the Palestinians and what they are going to do to Gaza. Countless scholars, UN officials, etc are saying this a genocide. But what do they know.

      And if not being homophobic is a prequisite for a group of people deserving the right to live then I guess the Christians should be next on the chopping block. I really wish some of you would just admit you hate Muslims with your whole chests.

      • It’s fascinating to see the amount of dogwhistles and fallacies perpetuated by those with special interests, i.e. by islamophobes and antisemites and useful idiots that seem to think those extremists “have a point.” Especially when they invoke queer rights as if my being a queer Jew means I should immediately fall in line.

        I’m not sure how many times I have to explain to slacktivists online that Palestinians could hypothetically be evil, foaming at the mouth antisemites that want to exterminate Jews and other minorities off the face of the planet. Even if that were somehow the case in some universe, that WOULD NOT justify human rights abuses or ethnic cleansing or genocide. That would not justify them being bombed. That would not justify them being demonized. NOTHING JUSTIFIES THAT.

        Human rights does not care who you are or what you are or where you came from. It does not care about the color of your skin, your gender, your religion, or your mother or father. The concept of human rights is that every person is owed this inherently, no matter what.
        This logic also applies to Israelis, who are also people regardless of the extremists in their midst.

        Furthermore, would like to mention for those who think this is a matter of protecting queer people: both sides have utterly evil to their core homophobic/transphobic right wingers, who often hate women on top of that. I know this because I have family in Israel, friends in Israel, who have suffered due to right wing bigotry even while Jewish. I also know this because it’s common sense that no group is a monolith. Not every Palestinian thinks one way, not every Israeli thinks the other way. These are two groups of people with a diverse set of ideologies and beliefs.

        When people invoke sensationalist propaganda like Israel being some LGBT paradise or good for its female civilians, I have to laugh because it’s so patronizing and ignorant of the reality many are living under over there, not even just queer and/or female Palestinians. It’s not great in Gaza, and it’s not great in Israel. I’m not sure how we’ve gotten to the point where we want to make this issue about every other social issue than the one(s) that are actually relevant to how this situation developed and worsened overtime.

  2. I also think there is another way for Palestinians to fight pinkwashing, stop oppressing LGBT people, even the PA has banned lgbt groups, the so called moderate Palestinan regime. Israel couldn’t use it if the Palestinians didn’t hate and oppress us.

  3. I also like to say that I hope there will be a ceasefire and a hostages swap will take soon, and that the killing ends. I would never say that LGBT people should support Israel, I just don’t think that they should be protesting and leading pro-Palestine marches and groups, that is what I find puzzling.

    Sorry for the multiple posts.

    • Saying that you “don’t think that they should be protesting” completely ignores the fact that there are LGBT+ Palestinians, and not just that they exist in general, but that those in the diaspora shouldn’t protest? That’s bizarre. They’re not robbed of their heritage by virtue of being queer or vise versa.

      And with such a large Palestinian diaspora, how many non-Palestinians in various countries have Palestinian family by marriage or found family (or just friends or co-workers)? Depending on your own heritage/location, that might be a large percentage of one’s close circle. And again, do you think that somehow none of those folks are queer? Or that if they are, they aren’t bothered by their cousin’s cousins (etc) being bombed to nothing?

      And that’s without getting into the fact that caring about human rights should ideally mean caring about all human rights, and not just the ones people are personally connected to.

  4. Thank you Kayla for this informative breakdown & lending your voice to the masses calling for an end to this horrific genocide. Wishing everyone in solidarity with the struggle peace and strength. From the river to the sea!

  5. 「Could you guess how much of tons of rubble is above them ? A new massacre in Nusirat refugee camp after an Israeli airstrike on a house that contained more than 20 person Till now they extracted 17 and all of them passed.」

    too late.
    autostraddle,too late.
    too white.
    are you zionist?

  6. Thank you so much for this article. I deeply appreciate all of the reporting on this, it’s felt so disheartening the way that so much American media is reporting on this. What’s happening in Gaza is an atrocity and I’m thankful for Autostraddle’s stand

  7. Your observation is so one-sided and so hurtful. I am a lesbian woman living in Tel Aviv. I got married to my partner in a huge and joyful wedding, and just a week after, Hamas attacked us and simply slaughtered 1400 innocent people and abducted 200+ families and children. Of course, you did not mention or say a word about the fact that Hamas is a murderous terrorist organization that initiated this war, planned it, and has already stated that it is ready to do the same thing again and again. It is very sad that innocent people in Gaza are dying. It shouldn’t be like this, and the Israeli Defense Forces are doing everything they can to warn and cause people to stay away from missile sites. Hamas sacrifices them and turns them into human shields. And from you and others like you? Again, not a word about it.
    I invest my life in combating extreme right-wing elements in my country, believing that it is possible to live together peacefully with Palestinians. Two states for two peoples. And do you know what became clear? That the Palestinians simply don’t want to live in peace with us, the Jews. They want us dead; they are the ones seeking bloodshed! Perhaps if you understood a bit more about history, you would know that a Palestinian state was offered to the Palestinians in 1948, but they rejected the offer and chose to attack and murder Jews. In 1995, a Palestinian state was offered again, peace agreements were signed – and again, the Palestinians continued to carry out terrorist attacks and kill Jews. In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza, and instead of creating a flourishing and free economy there, Hamas was elected (yes, in elections!) and once again, terror attacks emerged from Gaza. The Palestinian people continued to educate their children that Jews are the devil, resulting in walls and blockades meant to protect Israelis living their lives from those murderers.The absurd claim that LGBTQ+ individuals are not accepted, neither here nor there, is incorrect. Israel is a liberal country, with one of the largest pride parades in the world. True, there is more legislation that needs to be done on this issue. But I fail to understand the support for the Palestinian authority that murders any LGBTQ+ person living in its area. Personally, I worked for a long period in a shelter for LGBTQ+ individuals who were thrown out of their families in Tel Aviv, where 80% of the residents were Palestinians who managed to escape from Gaza and the West Bank, and we ensured them a normal life. I wish that instead of investing time in hating Israel and blaming the Jews, more time would be invested in helping the Palestinians build a more just society for their population. One that does not glorify terror, and where peace-seeking individuals begin to strive to create a state with which a peace agreement can finally be signed, enabling everyone to live in peace.

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