LGBT Ethiopian Israeli activists visit U.S.

Three members of an LGBT Ethiopian Israeli advocacy group visited the nation’s capital last week as part of their trip to the U.S.


Yaniv, Liel and Sarah of Kala (Kehila Lahatavit Ethiopit in Hebrew) arrived in D.C. on April 28. They attended a reception near the U.S. Capitol shortly after their arrival in Washington that A Wider Bridge, which describes itself as an “LGBTQ advocacy group building connections between the Israeli and North American LGBTQ communities,” organized.

Yaniv, Liel and Sarah — who did not provide their last names to the Washington Blade — arrived in San Francisco on April 17.
They met with members of the city’s Jewish and LGBT communities before traveling to Los Angeles.

Yaniv, Liel and Sarah celebrated Passover in Chicago. They also met with black LGBT rights advocates while in the city.
“We drew a lot of inspiration from their work and we drew a lot of inspiration from their work, especially as they are facing some of the challenges that we face as people of color.” Yaniv, who is gay, told the Blade during an interview at the D.C. reception. “That was a very inspirational meeting that we’ve had with people with whom we could share so much commonalities.”

Liel, who is bisexual, and Sarah, who is a lesbian, opened a Facebook page and invited friends to join it. Kala now has 70 members from across Israel. Sarah told the Blade that the group’s members visit schools and “talk about that we have an Ethiopian LGBT group in Israel.” Kala also marches in Tel Aviv Pride and organizes gatherings for holidays and other events.

Kala also works with Israeli Gay Youth, which works with LGBT young people in the country. “We want to make a connection between the Ethiopian community and the LGBT community because they don’t understand each other,” Sarah told the Blade. “The Ethiopian community doesn’t know the LGBT community.” “One of the things that Kala does is to be a bridge,” she said.

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