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Olly Alexander joins 1300+ LGBTQIA+ people calling for Palestine ceasefire

Olly Alexander joins 1300+ LGBTQIA+ people calling for Palestine ceasefire

TL;DR: Olly Alexander, Rivkah Reyes, and Aries Moross are among the now 1300+ queer individuals that have signed a statement of solidarity with Palestine, calling for a ceasefire and an end to the "occupation of Palestine".

Direct action group Voices4 London and The Outside Project's open letter of solidarity with Palestine has attracted hundreds of signatures from LGBTQIA+ people all over the world.

High-profile signatures include popstar Olly Alexander, Jewish actor Rivkah Reyes, Director Aries Moross, artist TAAHLIAH and living sculptor Daniel Lismore.

This is alongside high-profile UK queer community figures, including Not A Phase's Danielle St James, comedian Joe Sutherland, It's a Sin actor Nathaniel J Hall, broadcaster Shivani Dave and influencers Jude Guatimichi, Radam Ridwan, Kenny Ethan Jones and Yasmin Benoit.

They join individuals from Australia, Qatar, Türkiye, Nigeria, Scotland, the US, and more as organisers exclusively tell QueerAF they've reached over 1300 signatures.

What does the statement LGBTQIA+ Palestine solidarity statement say?

The statement calls for “solidarity with the Palestinian liberation movement” and urges all governments “to demand an immediate ceasefire” while restoring aid to Gaza. It also calls for “an end to the occupation of Palestine”.

Co-director of Voices4 London, Prishita Maheshwari-Aplin, tells QueerAF they felt compelled to co-write the letter because “the silence from the [LGBTQIA+] sector was deafening.”

Maheshwari-Aplin told us one of the key inspirations for the letter was to counter the main arguments they'd heard against sending solidarity to Palestine.

Time and again, they were facing arguments about how LGBTQIA+ people are treated in Gaza where gay male relationships are criminalised in a law inherited from British rule of Palestine.

"One of the main arguments that’s wielded against queer people who advocate for a free Palestine is something like, 'oh, but in Gaza, you’d face a death penalty'. For this reason alone, it felt important to put out a mass public statement. We won’t let others weaponise our fights for rights to excuse the genocide of a people."

“The minimum requirement for queer and trans people achieving liberation is to be alive. All civilians, even in countries with homophobic laws, deserve to live.”

Prishita Maheshwari-Aplin, Co-director of Voices4 London speaking to QueerAF

Alongside the letter, many LGBTQIA+ commenters and activists have used their platforms since the Israel-Hamas war began to emphasise that advocating for the rights of Palestinians doesn’t run counter to advocating for the rights of queer people wherever they live - including in Gaza.

Maheshwari-Aplin hopes the letter adds to the building momentum around concern for Palestinians and the urgent need for humanitarian intervention in the conflict.

Mounting pressure for Keir Starmer to also call for a ceasefire in Gaza and Palestine

More broadly, there's growing support for a ceasefire in the UK, with a YouGov poll finding three in four people back one.

Meanwhile, in UK politics, the Labour leader Kier Starmer is coming under increasing pressure over his stance, which currently mirrors Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, in only calling for humanitarian pauses.

The Mayors of London and Manchester, Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham, who hold significant sway in the party, added to a quarter of Labour MPs calling for a ceasefire.

The First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf and former Conservative Party Chair, Baroness Warsi, have also called for a ceasefire.

Voices4 London are still inviting signatures from individuals and organisations.

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