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Watch: Mayor Murray’s Speech in Tel Aviv

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray delivered the Keynote address at 40 Years Of Pride, the Global LGBTQ Leadership Conference presented by A Wider Bridge and The Aguda (Israel’s National LGBT Task Force) in Tel Aviv on June 11. Watch his full speech below.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who is one of the top gay public officials in America, came to Tel Aviv in June as a keynote speaker at the “40 Years of Pride” conference that brought together a diverse group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender leaders from around the world, representing dozens of nations and communities, with an array of religious and secular practices, people of many races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities.

“I truly believe that engagement makes a difference, collaboration makes a difference, if we can work together even when we may disagree,…building coalitions makes a difference,” Mayor Murray said in his speech. “Sometimes in the progressive and left movements, folks think that building coalitions is hanging out with people like yourself. Building coalitions is actually about working together with people who are not like you.”

“We won the civil rights bill in the Washington Senate by one vote, because a Republican Senator chose to step down from his leadership position and vote with us.”

“If we had not built those bridges, if we had not engaged with Republicans as well as Democrats, that bill would not have been passed, marriage equality would not have passed in our state, and frankly, I would not be here speaking with you today,” the Mayor said.

In the intersection between pro-LGBTQ and anti-Israel activists, Murray’s visit to Israel faced some unexpected criticism from one hand, and from the other- was embraced by true LGBTQ advocates.

After his return from Israel, Murray added, “I welcome any opportunity to help advance the cause of LGBT equality and social justice, whether in Seattle or Tel Aviv. Israel is an incredible country, and we share much in common — both of our countries have made significant progress on equality, but still have much to accomplish. This trip provided an international platform to highlight Seattle’s leadership in the global LGBT movement, and it helped show how much we can learn from each other.”

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How can we build a more truly global LGBTQ movement? How can we create more opportunities for cross-country learning and collaboration? How can those of us who live in countries where LGBT equality in on the rise best assist LGBT people in counties where homosexual activity is still a crime and people can live only in the shadows? These were among the questions at the forefront of an historic gathering of LGBTQ leaders from around the world that took place in Tel Aviv this June. Read the summary of the conference