Stick this in your pipe and smoke it, all you bigots who slam Israel for trampling on human rights.
How many Gay Pride Parades are there in our neighbouring countries?? Do it large in Gaza, do they? This show moves on to Ramallah after Tel Aviv, does it? The LGBT community in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, they will be out in their hundreds of thousands enjoying their countries’ Gay Pride Parades, will they? Gay Pride in Tel Aviv is one of the things I am most proud of here.
We have some way to go, of course. Thankfully, this is an area of life in which the religious authorities hold no sway BUT there is no such thing here as civil marriage – the religious authorities oversee marriage in Israel. Whilst that state of affairs continues, there’ll be no same-sex marriage. Full and complete democracy requires a full and complete separation of ‘Church and State’ and that is what we need, full separation and full democracy. If, then, it is the will of the population to have a religious policy in an area of life, let it be established at the polls at election time. As things stand, the religious authorities do not have a mandate to enforce their ways on us but they manage to do it because they force themselves on us via an electoral system which claims to bring about democracy but which, quite clearly, does not, not entirely and certainly not as regards the rights of same-sex couples to marry.
However, the fact is that, much, I’m sure, to the chagrin of the Charedim, gay people can enjoy the freedom to live openly, true and honest lives in Israel and that, in itself, is reason to celebrate and be proud of Israel!!
My wife and I intended to go to the Parade with our children last Friday but we were otherwise occupied. I wish we had gone! It would have been a wonderful opportunity to show, not just to tell but to show, our children that we fully support the rights of gay people to openly live honest lives, true to themselves. It is important to support and advocate inclusivity – in this case, to show our children that the LGBT community is part of our one community, that we do not subscribe to ‘them and us’ communities and societies. Furthermore, I see the Gay Pride Parade as more than a celebration of gay rights and freedom – it is a celebration of individuality, eccentricities, of personal, creative and artist freedom and self-awareness. It is the personification of the gay ‘anthem’, “I Am What I Am”, an anthem which I believe should be embraced by everyone who just wants to be themself, openly and proudly.