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Transgender Speaker At Brown Canceled Because Event Would Be Hosted By Jews

Janet Mock, born a male, transitioned to living as a female as a teenager and now works as a writer and transgender activist. Mock was scheduled to speak at Brown March 21 as part of a speaker series put on by Moral Voices, a Jewish student organization dedicated to the discussion of various moral issues.
Mock’s scheduled appearance was soon the target of activists, who complained that his speech would be delivered at Brown/RISD Hillel, Brown’s Jewish student center. In an online petition, critics argued that Mock’s appearance was an act of “pinkwashing,” an attempt to distract from the suffering of Palestinians by portraying Israel and Jews in general as progressive on LGBT issues. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that allows same-sex marriage, and it has allowed gays to serve openly in the military since 1993.
“Hillel’s Moral Voices campaign has chosen the topic of LGBTQ rights this year,” the petition says. “This hides the fact that for decades, the state of Israel and Israeli advocacy organizations (like Hillel) have been engaging in pinkwashing, a strategy that tries to improve Israel’s image and rebrand it as a liberal, modern, and ‘hip’ country. By shifting the focus to a very narrow definition of LGBTQ rights (exclusively for queer Israelis and not for queer Palestinians), Israel uses pinkwashing to deflect attention from Israel’s colonization and occupation of Palestine, and the violence that is being carried out against Palestinians.”