Etai Pinkas, former Tel Aviv city councilman, talked at Binghamton University in New York about life as a gay man in the Middle East and the struggle for LGBTQ equal rights in Israel
As an Israeli city councilman and LGBTQ rights activist, Etai Pinkas has a unique perspective of the LGBTQ movement in the Middle East. On Tuesday, he came to Binghamton University to share that perspective, discussing his involvement with the movement and its progression.
Pinkas served as the chair of the National LGBT Association of Israel between 2000 to 2002, and was elected to Tel Aviv city council in 2003. At the event, he discussed his time as a city councilman, where he worked to further LGBTQ and environmental movements, but mainly focused on the recent court battles to change marriage and surrogacy laws in Israel.
He began with the history of Tel Aviv, discussing population growth and architectural progression in the city. He went on to examine how the LGBTQ movement started in the 1960s, before moving to his involvement in efforts for equal rights beginning in 2000.
According to Pinkas, he was one of the first people in Israel whose same-sex marriage was recognized by the country’s government, a legislative decision that happened 11 years ago. Now, he’s working toward efforts to legalize surrogacy for same-sex couples in Israel, because currently surrogacy is only an option for heterosexual couples.