Tel Aviv Pride spotlights Israel’s trans community

Israel’s transgender community had much to celebrate at this year’s Tel Aviv Pride. Two days before the Pride celebration the National Labor Court banned discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity.

12_15_Intl_News_25_LRGThe June 10 decision, announced by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, a division of the Economy Ministry, came at the right moment for Israel’s transgender community as Tel Aviv Pride celebrated the “T” in LGBT.

The transgender community’s largest organization, Ma’avarim, kicked off the June 12 parade, leading marchers down Bograshov to the Mediterranean Sea, where the parade flowed toward Charles Clore Park.

It was Tel Aviv Pride’s largest celebration to date, with a crowd estimated at 180,000.

“It’s really amazing and exciting,” said Elisha “Shuki” Alexander, the head of Ma’avarim (translated means transitions or passageways), a grassroots organization based in Tel Aviv. “It puts a focus on the community and a focus on the important issues that we face.”

Gabriella Yenis, a 31-year-old transgender lesbian woman who was celebrating Pride with her girlfriend Maura Finlay, 32, a bisexual woman, agreed with Alexander and was excited about Tel Aviv Pride celebrating the trans community.

“It’s kind of cool that it shines a light on us,” said Yenis, who lives outside of Haifa, San Francisco’s sister city in northern Israel.

It meant to her, “That we exist. That we are not just outsiders … we are a part of society. We should be known about. There’s no reason to hide what we are and who we are as a people.”

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