The Jerusalem Post

Foreign Ministry hosts LGBT pride event

- • By GABRIELLE ABRAMS

In honor of LGBT Pride Month new Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll hosted an event Wednesday to recognize the strides Israel has made toward acceptance of queer people. The event, which was attended in person and streamed on Facebook Live, was the first of its kind from the Foreign Ministry.

The event began with his introducti­on followed by a speech about the importance of recognizin­g the rights of LGBT people. The topic of LGBT rights is one of particular significan­ce to Roll as he identifies as a member of the gay community.

Roll spoke about frequently being questioned on the agenda behind Israel’s gay pride events.

Roll’s response to those inquiries is that “there is no agenda, there’s no strategy. It’s just a matter of life being stronger than policy. It’s people wanting to be in love and have a family.”

As much as gay pride has increased over the years in Israel, Roll implores all those listening no matter their status or perceived level of power to take matters into their own hands.

“You don’t have to be a social activist to

make change,” said Roll. “Legislator­s make change and so do reporters and artists, but so does one individual that goes to HR and wants to create an event to celebrate gay members of their company.”

Following Roll’s speech was a video titled “The Evolution of the Revolution: Pride in Israel” in which various openly gay members of Israeli society spoke about their experience­s.

One particular­ly momentous occasion highlighte­d in the video was the acceptance of gay individual­s in the IDF.

“When the IDF said that those out of the closet are not a security threat, everyone said, ‘well who are we to question that,’ said founder and former chairman of Likud Pride, Evan Cohen. “The army is the melting pot of Israel. It’s where everything comes together.”

The program concluded with a live interview of Efrat Tilma, a transgende­r activist, police volunteer and “profession­al glass-ceiling breaker.”

Tilma detailed her life experience­s growing up transgende­r and throughout her career as an air stewardess and member of the police force in Israel.

She reminded the audience that despite the advances Israel has made for the LGBT community, over 50% of transgende­r Israelis commit suicide.

“They need work,” Tilma said of transgende­r Israelis. “People need to understand them and hear my story. The more that they hear my story in every place in Israel, the better lives transgende­r people will have.”

The event was attended by over 70 people via Facebook Live with more heads of diplomatic missions gathering in person.

 ?? (Foreign Ministry) ?? DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER Idan Roll addresses a pride event at the Foreign Ministry yesterday.
(Foreign Ministry) DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER Idan Roll addresses a pride event at the Foreign Ministry yesterday.

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