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Jerusalem Pride: Why It’s So Important

Despite the fact that 58% of Israeli public supports same-sex marriage, LGBTphobia is raging in public discourse. Eran Globus, Chair of the Jerusalem Open House, explains why this year’s Jerusalem Pride Parade is more important than ever.

Eran Globus, Jerusalem Pride

This has become a routine: the pride parade in Tel Aviv opens the gay season, and with it, ugly LGBTphobia is raising its head. Community allies remind us that our huge demonstration of pride in Tel Aviv, 250,000 people, is still a bubble, and that LGBTphobia is still rampant in social networks, in schools, in the streets of our cities and neighborhoods.

And yet, our bubble is growing. Every year it becomes less and less of a bubble, and includes more people from Israeli society. Only two weeks ago, Channel 10 News published a broad poll result, revealing that 58% of the Israeli public supports same-sex marriage. A deep survey conducted in 2016 revealed that among the Likud voters, 74% support civil marriage (13% of them asked to exclude LGBT), and so did 85% of Kulanu party voters and 61% of the Jewish Home voters. Even 8% of orthodox party Shas support us – an unprecedented figure.

LGBTphobia has many faces – from the dark rabbis through the “enlightened” religious views of TV host Dana Varon who supports conversion therapy, to LGBTphobia of the Arab sector party’s leader, who made it clear that LGBT rights are “simply not on the agenda of our joint list.” Many think it is not worth giving a platform to those who want to ride on the back of the LGBTQ community all the way to the headlines and television studios. But we must not abandon the public arena just to leave it to the ugly hatred that engulfs us.

And it is not a coincidence that it’s getting stronger, and not just a coincidence that it happens in Pride Month. They are A-F-R-A-I-D. They are afraid of our achievements, of our growing support. They are afraid of 250,000 participants in the pride parade in Tel Aviv, and a record number of pride parades around the country.

Most of all, they are afraid of the Jerusalem Pride Parade. They are afraid that we will “stain” this special city with our love, a city they are unwilling to understand that this city also belongs to us, no less than to them. They are afraid of the 25,000 people who marched last year, a record number – men with yarmulkes next to men in drag, families and couples, LGBT people and supporters – a whole human mosaic that reflects this city, this country, more than all their evil words. They are afraid that their public will know and hear us, hear about our difficulties and our achievements – and will support us.

Therefore, it is more important than ever to march this year in the Jerusalem Pride for Tolerance. A mighty struggle is raging over the image of our capital – and don’t let anyone deceive you – we are winning! In daily activities, in pride events, in a growing partnership with more and more organizations from all sectors. But the struggle has not yet been decided, and the hatred we have witnessed over the last few weeks proves that they are determined to fight us – at any cost.

Those who volunteer in community organizations, those who create visibility in the social networks, who live proudly in spite of all the challenges – they take an important part in the struggle. Now it is time to take it to the next level. To march in pride parades throughout the country. To go for one day to Jerusalem, to a huge demonstration of protest, but also to celebrate our community, our heritage, our old ones who paved the way.

Let’s show them that we don’t forget who is voting against us in the Knesset, and thinks that there’s no public price for it. Let’s prove to the hate rabbis, and more importantly, to their students- that the hatred by their teachers is an ugly remnant of an era that has passed from the world. Let’s show them that the Gay Pride parade in Tel Aviv was just the beginning, that we will not rest until we achieve full rights, absolute freedom from violence and discrimination.

We will reply to darkness with a huge display of light. See you on August 2nd, 2018. Especially now. Especially in Jerusalem.