A viral post on X by an American drag queen has invited ridicule after claiming that Glasgow and other western cities were as dangerous as Gaza for LGBT people. In a post flagged by Community Notes, Katya, whose name is Brian Joseph McCook, called people “ignorant fools” for thinking he would be decapitated for his sexuality in Palestine.
“And to those ignorant fools who have the nerve to tell me I would be decapitated in a heartbeat in Gaza: what about Glasgow?” The drag performer asked.
“What about Moscow? What about Medford, Malden or Marlborough, Massachusetts? As a gay person who can’t pass, as a cross-dresser, as a sissy— they have, they do, and they will kill us anywhere. Bitch.”
A Community Note was quickly slapped on the post, providing important context about the safety of being gay in Scotland versus the Middle East.
Linking to the Government of Scotland website, the note explained that in addition to homosexuality being a protected status in Scotland, there have been no recorded deaths related to transphobia in the nation in recent years.
“In the most recent published year 21-22, no deaths were recorded for homophobic or racial hatred,” reads the note, adding: “11-21, 1% of deaths had homophobic or racial motivation.”
Continuing, the note included another link to a foreign travel advice website for anyone visiting “the Occupied Palestinian Territories” and pointed out that “in Gaza, deaths are state-sanctioned” for homosexuals.
“Same-sex sexual activity is legal in the West Bank but is illegal in Gaza, where it carries a 10-year prison sentence,” reads the local laws and customs section of the Government of the United Kingdom’s website.
“Attitudes towards LGBT issues within some parts of Palestinian and Israeli society can be hostile. All public displays of affection, regardless of the gender or sexuality of those involved, may attract negative attention on the West Bank in more conservative Israeli areas, including ultra-Orthodox communities. Homosexuality is largely taboo in Palestinian society.”
Katya’s post quickly attracted mockery from people online, many of whom called him “delusional” for suggesting that western nations were as dangerous for LGBT people as Muslim-majority nations.
Scottish news account @WingsOverScotland responded to Katya’s post on X, pointing out that no trans people have ever been killed in the nation.
“Not one single trans person has ever been killed in Glasgow, or anywhere else in Scotland. Not a single solitary in all of recorded history since mankind crawled out of the oceans. Calm yourself down, sir.”
Responding, Katya attempted to switch the focus to street harassment, and claimed there was no accurate record of LGBT hate crimes in the nation.
“But do you have any idea how many people are harassed there? How unsafe it was for me to walk one block from the hotel to my gig because I risked getting assaulted by a group of drunk rugby fans? Or being surrounded in an elevator by ignorant Scottish men threatening me? You can calm down, and get a grip—as if there’s an accurate official record on anything like this.”
“Wow. Went from ‘kill us anywhere’ to ‘they might look at me funny’ instantly. Why do you all insist on lying about the risk? Does it make it feel brave?” Replied another X user.
Political commentator and co-founder of The Publica Sydney Watson also noted that there was no comparison between Islamic and western nations on the issue of tolerating sexual minorities.
While data out of the conflict-torn region is sparse, there was an anti-LGBT slaying in West Bank as recently as October of 2022.
Ahmad Abu Murkhiyeh, a gay Palestinian man, was murdered last year in a beheading in Hebron that was filmed and uploaded on social media. Murkhiyeh had been seeking asylum in Israel due to fears of prosecution in his community, and was waiting on his application to be approved. According to Times of Israel, news reports on his death circulated within Palestine scrubbed mentions of his sexuality.
According to The Telegraph, an estimated 2,000 LGBT people from Palestine live in Tel Aviv at any one time because the state provides them an escape from the homophobia they face in Palestine.