Transgender Stories from Israel

In honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance (11/20) we look back at prominent stories of transgender people from Israel that were published in the media.

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Lia Bar-Lev shared her story of becoming a woman, and the difficulties she was facing during the process: “I’m not afraid to look inward, to invest in my inner self first and foremost, and not to love myself just through the mirror.”

“I don’t pretend to be a woman, I am transgender, I was born a woman in my soul. I am a Tomboy, half man, half woman, ambivalent. Society says that if I don’t have female genitalia or don’t have a uterus, I’m not a woman. What determines our gender in the eyes of society are internal and external organs with which we are born, but I think that being a woman is a lot more than that.” Read the story

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Eden Marziano shared her story: “As a child, I used to dress up as a woman. I wore high heels, makeup, put on a wig, I imitated my sister and I felt it was the most natural thing in the world to me. When I entered the classroom wearing lipstick and blusher, very extroverted with a lot of confidence, the kids tried to hurt me with offensive and homophobic statements and I didn’t remain silent- I responded to any statement so that the other kids would know that they couldn’t step on me. Life has taught me and given me the confidence that I have today. Kids can be very mean, and when I was a kid it was difficult to handle but I didn’t give in, and today it passes over me.” read the story

RELATED: 12 Pieces of Israel’s Transgender history come alive in 2015

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Erez Cohen shares his unique story, being born intersex, forced to become a girl, growing up in a religious house hold and being set up to marry a man. To this day he believes his late rabbi-grandfather’s old saying: “Salmon fish don’t go with the flow.” Read the story

Transgender people in the Israeli Army: The Israeli army is far ahead of the American army on the transgender issue. Not only does the IDF already allow transgender people to serve, but here’s the story of the first FTM transgender graduated corps school and became an officer.

We first told you about his story when he was in the officers course, but now it’s official: 21-year-old Shachar is the Israeli army’s first out transgender officer. “How can I explain it? For me, serving in the army and being recognized for who I really am by my fellow soldiers made me feel like a real man for the first time in my life. It made me feel like myself.” Read the story

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Israeli transgender activist Linor Bar-Gil writes about her first love, in the 6th grade, which she also sees as her first transgender experience. “The truth is that being a Transgender in 2014 in Israel is exactly the same as being a transgender in the 80’s in Israel. It was then that I fell in love with one of the boys in my 5th grade class. He played soccer, and I revolved around him like all of the other girls. I used to sit and watch my “boyfriend” in his game, make sure he had water and stay there to cheer him on. So what if in roll-call my name was called on the boys’ list?”

Tom Atias, whose audition was aired Saturday in the Israeli version of the reality music competition “The Voice,” has caught the media’s attention. Read the story

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At the mobile clinic he runs in Tel Aviv, Yonatan Marton tells about transgender women’s particularly bad experiences with prostitution. Read the story

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In a new Israeli interview, transgender singer Kim talks about her new album (“Finally people stopped comparing me to Dana International”), and her warm relationship with the gay community (“This is my family”). Read the story

“When I grew up I always had a masculine look, wide body structure, tight or short hair. My voice was thick, I wore a Binder to flatten my chest and it was hard to doubt I was a boy.” – Didi Hart shares his story. Read here

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Three young Israelis, Eden Zel-ZionAmit Hachmon and Brian Ben David talked to Haaretz about coming out and the support they received (or didn’t receive) from their families. read more