By Daniel Mael, Originally published in The Huffington Post
“Prosecuting and imprisoning people for homosexual conduct are flagrant human rights violations,” remarked Scott Long, of Human Rights Watch in April of 2005. “Subjecting the victims to floggings is torture, pure and simple.”
His remarks came after the government of Saudi Arabia sentenced dozens of men to 14,200 lashes for “behaving like women” at a birthday party.
Yet nearly 10 years since Human Rights Watch flagged this heinous incident, little has been done to free the LGBTQ population located in Saudi Arabia. For the most part, the mainstream media has ignored the systemic human rights abuses. Even human rights organizations and gay rights groups have often elected to focus on the domestic challenges within the American LGBTQ community.
Western governments are often so focused on geopolitical concerns that domestic issues, such as gay rights, frequently go overlooked.
Traditional human rights groups have long documented the repression of LGBTQ activists in the Middle East. These efforts, unfortunately, have not translated into the improved status of innocent men and women who dare to openly acknowledge their sexual orientation.
One human rights activist has taken a different approach.