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Photo: Gil Yochanan
Haredi riots in Jerusalem over pride parade
Photo: Gil Yochanan
Photo: Avigail Uzi
Gay pride parade (Illustration)
Photo: Avigail Uzi
In Jerusalem of all places
Gay pride parade isn't 'sexual' and must not be cancelled
It is so easy to ask the organizers of the pride and tolerance parade in Jerusalem to cancel it. Why do you need to annoy others, why can't you be considerate, why in Jerusalem of all places? And there's even talk about the danger of violence. Why don't you just give up on it?

 

Seemingly this sounds like a decent solution that will bring relief to everyone. Some of the objectors are even saying: We don't care that you do what you do in private, just don't do it publicly, not in Jerusalem. There are even those who suggest that the parade be moved to Tel Aviv (as if there the "abomination" is permitted).

 

Yet this is what it's all about. The parade is an important battle for being out in the open, in Jerusalem too, and we must not yield. The gay community's struggle is not only for the civil rights to live one's life according with one's sexual orientation and desire, but rather, for public legitimacy and the right to be a gay or a lesbian openly without hiding or feeling ashamed. This is not a small matter.

 

Every year, thousands of young men and women who feel they are alone in the world, shunned by society, despaired by life, discover they're not alone. That there are thousands like them who are willing and able to march through the streets of a city, that there's a chance for life, and that there's a supportive community where they can live with dignity and even raise a family. The community does not only include gays and Lesbians, but rather, all of us, all the decent people who believe in their right to live just like any other person and accept them as an integral part of society.

 

No sexual messages

It is permissible to resist the parade, to protest and shout, but under no circumstances should violence be used or threatened. The objectors' leaders, who feel so strongly about protecting Jerusalem's sanctity in the face of this apparent "abomination" are willing to pay the price of desecrating Jerusalem and tainting it with blood that may be spilled as a result of the reckless incitement and hatred of recent weeks.

 

After all, the abomination of a city where residents are killing and wounding other residents just because of hatred and racism is immeasurably larger than the abomination of a city whose residents are marching and supporting their right to live in accordance with their sexual orientation.

 

The one thing all those who object have in common, the ones who are so scared by the "abomination," is that they have never been at the pride parade. The Jerusalem parade is not a provocation and it does not carry sexual messages. Jerusalemites who are religious and secular, old and young, families, parents, children and friends take part in it. It is a dignified human rights parade of love, organized for several years now by the "Open House." It is a parade of decent people, and decent people should take part in it.

 

If, God forbid, a disaster will occur, those leaders and public figures would not be able to claim innocence and say: "Our hands did not spill this blood." Instead of threatening and inciting, they should do everything to prevent violence and calm the tensions.

 

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