Scott Long leaves Human Rights Watch

Scott Long resigned Aug. 23 as director of Human Rights Watch’s LGBT
Rights Program.

In a note to friends, Long wrote: “In mid-July I suffered a pulmonary
embolism of a fairly unpleasant sort. While running to catch a bus on a
New York street, I saw a blinding effusion of white light, amid which
several spangled and bell-bottomed figures vaguely resembling ABBA
beckoned me to an eternal disco complete with spinning ball. Yanked back
from their blandishments by a superior fashion sense, I spent a couple of
weeks in intensive care. I had plenty of time lying in a bendable bed with
an IV dripping, to compose, like Woody Allen, lists of the things that
make life worth living: the last movement of Bruckner’s Third Symphony;
‘Sit Down, I Think I Love You’ as covered by the Staccatos, with that
harpsichord and those violins; the closing pages of ‘Lolita’; W. H. Auden
as sung by Cleo Laine. Somewhere in the middle of the lists, I realized
that working for Human Rights Watch wasn’t on them.”

Long said he likely will pursue a fellowship at Harvard University, from
which he received his Ph.D., and write a book “about what’s moral and
what’s immoral about ‘international solidarity,’ and what’s worked and
what hasn’t in campaigns for sexual rights.”

“Scott’s exemplary dedication and diligence has been an inspiration to us
all,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the International Campaign
for Human Rights in Iran and a member of HRW’s LGBT Advisory Committee.
“His articulate and relentless defense of LGBT rights everywhere is
unparalleled, and his tremendous efforts on this front have been a guiding
voice for justice and equality.”

In addition to amassing a long list of accomplishments during his
eight-year tenure at HRW, Long occasionally sparked controversy. In June,
HRW issued an apology to British gay leader Peter Tatchell for what HRW
Executive Director Kenneth Roth called Long’s “inappropriate and
disparaging comments” about Tatchell in recent years.

By Rex Wockner


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