Making Local History - First Pride Parade in My Town (Kfar Saba, Israel)

in israel •  6 months ago

Yesterday was a special day for me and my polyamorous and pansexual family. Yesterday we marched proudly down (a small fenced off section of) the main street with rainbow flags, pink balloons and thousands of Israelis celebrating freedom and pride. To me, yesterday was historic and important for many reasons, only a handful of them personal reasons.


(photo by @mrlightning - check out his post here: https://steemit.com/lgbt/@mrlightning/kfar-saba-pride-parade)

Local pride

Say what you will about Israel (and there's no shortage in flaws), it is still the only country in the Middle East to celebrate the International Pride Month and have pride parades in all major cities (Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem). This year, more cities and towns joined and had their own events and parades, including Beer Sheva in the desert and my own little town of Kfar Saba (the name of which literally translates as "grandpa's village").


(Thousands of Israeli LGBT and friends dancing to "Toy", launching the parade. Because of course they did.)

Not without challenge

According to reports, over 3,000 people of all ages and genders attended, including 3 (female) members of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. There was a reason a parade in my little town attracted some local politicians to take selfies for their Instagram accounts (and twitter and Facebook). And it wasn't the ("Here's the heatstroke you didn't order") weather.

The police, being the police, made attempts to prevent the event from taking place. They demanded the organizers of the parade pay thousands of dollars for tall fences to surround the parade path and event area. The reason was not what you might think. It was not in fear of Palestinian terrorist attack, but rather an excuse for homophobia based on tragic events of the past. Specifically, the 2015 Jerusalem pride parade where a disturbed religious fanatic stabbed to death a 16-year-old-girl and wounded others.

The organizers, mostly gay youth organizations and human rights movements, could not afford to pay such a fee, and the police knew that. Fighting for our right to be here and queer, the organizations involved filed a case with the highest court of justice in Israel, demanding the parade take place without such extreme and unaffordable precautionary measures. The authorities did not turn a blind eye, and basically told the police to do its job in securing the event like any other. We won.

In today's political climate and growing enforcement of religion on the secular community in the county, having this parade in a suburban town like Kfar Saba means a lot. It is a small victory, but one close to my heart and home.

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My personal pride

But enough about politics. My blog was never a political one. To me, this event was significant because I attended it to celebrate with pride my polyamorous lifestyle. I came to the parade with my own lioness' pride - my family: @lionne, @poet and @mrlightning (left to right in the image below).

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Of course, this was a wonderful oportunity to meet friends and Internet-friends for sweaty, sunblock scented hugs. I met my highschool sweetheart and his husband, someone I befriended trolling homophobes on Facebook, and an old friend I've recently fallen out of touch with.

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Love, Freedom and Cognitive Dissonance

Life in Israel requires a certain ability to repress. Yesterday we celebrated our freedom and right to love and live as we choose, while many others in the surrounding countries (and even in Palestine which is technically about 15 minutes away by car) are shunned, shamed and often killed for being gay, trans or poly. Celebrating our freedom without guilt means putting aside our desire for broader global change, while marching to raise awareness of the importance of peaceful tolerance.

Sure, you could say I live in a rainbow bubble. But just for a few days, I'd like to stay in it. We fought hard for it.

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(Bubble, courtesy of @mrlightning and the organizers of the Pride Parade who know how to have fun without a budget)

-=-=-=-
All images and videos in the post are mine unless otherwise specified.

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To clarify a bit, the police made unreasonable demands for security because they didn't want it to happen at all. The 2 meter tall fence was an excuse to raise costs to make sure the organizers couldn't pay, and thus it will not take place.

They did not have any intention of having those fences, and didn't actually put them up when they were forced to secure a demonstration as per the law.

The police's ridiculous demands were one of the driving forces that caused 3000 people to come to the parade, even though it's a small city. Many people from far away made the commute to support, specifically because the police made those demands.

Even myself, a resident of the city, was unsure if I'd go. I'm not much of an activist. But the thing with the police forced me out the door, and if they would have denied security, I would have been there anyway, risk of being arrested and all.

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Same here.

This makes me happy! It’s good to hear and progressive changes are happening...headway is constantly being made! :)

I can't tell you how happy this makes me. From 'the law' being forced to do the right thing to the people being allowed to do the right thing. Long may you ride.

Thanks for sharing this with us. Made my day.

Heyja! You've got a upvote and resteem from @PRP-LGBT, the Curation & Magazine Account for content like yours! Thank you for sharing this event with the community! <3

Thankyou for sharing! Glad that the rainbow colours are bright and visible and celebrated some places in your part of the world, it gives hope about a more tolerant future. Reading this makes me feel even more the importance of participating in pride here in Sweden. It is a statement! (And a party :)! ).

תמונות יפות מאוד במיוחד זאת של האיש עם הכיפה והדגל הצבעוניים !

Hi your post has been upvoted by vis4, the LGBT+ curation bot! Come and visit us on Discord

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Hey, @techslut. I've visited Israel many times, Kfar Saba in particular. To me, a Gay Pride march in a place like Kfar Saba is a landmark event in Israel's political maturity. Thank you for sharing. Glad you had a wonderful time celebrating your true life. May you experience many more events like this.

This is great!! I wasn't able to go to a pride parade nearby yesterday due to a couple factors. I'm glad you went and had fun. I also understand how important it is to have your voice heard and see the unity within the community. This helps build trust and bring awareness of equality for others to follow and consider. 🌈

We are one ,

❤️

Seems like there's still a long way to go, but definitely a good start and in the right direction

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Interesting and very bright post!
I'll follow you. Please come to my blog occasionally;)

The best part is having fun and then being patriotic.

See how cool the colours look #rainbowsofine

Love @mrlightnings cape😍

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Not his cape, he just took the photo. The pink in the lower corner is the hat I was wearing. :)

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Oh I get now. Thanks!

Very nice photos and content

you took some good memorize.

Love the rainbow tallit and kippah. Are there any synagogues in Israel that are gay and transgender friendly?

Very fantastic event

@techslut

and I'm proud for your lioness pride, very interesting post , enjoyed it

Pride is Pride.
You should see what we do, here in Boston, (East Coast US.)

Pride is Pride.

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