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Jerusalem pride parade Photo: Noa Raz
Jerusalem pride parade Photo: Noa Raz
 
 

Let’s end pride parades

By now, gay pride parades do nothing to advance rights of homosexuals

Tomer Kamerling
Published: 05.27.08, 16:46 / Israel Opinion

The Gay Pride Parade held in Eliat last week is the first harbinger of the pink season: The Tel Aviv Pride Parade will be held on June 6th, to be followed by the Jerusalem version three weeks later. And all of this is happening on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the first meaningful gay pride event we had around here, in 1993 in Tel Aviv.

 

What I’m saying is this: 15 is a nice number. Let’s proceed with the two remaining parades for the season, and get this nonsense over with.

 

Before I proceed I must clarify something: No, I’m not gay. Yet some of my best friends are. And because the human and civil rights of those friends are dear to me, I support a separation between the pride and the parade – because the procedure of hitting the streets and demonstrating same-sex love in practice does nothing to advance those rights.

 

The gay community has passed a long time ago the stage where there was justification for yelling out “look, I’m here.” After all, any idiot knows they’re here. Remember the declaration made by Shas’ Shlomo Benizri regarding the connection between homosexuality and earthquakes? I mean, religious leaders in truly primitive areas of the world don’t even recognize the existence of gays. From that perspective, Benizri’s statement is a clear sign of enlightenment.

 

Gays today are where the feminist movement was 20 years ago; following the first cries of liberation, after enjoying the backing of the sane parts of society, and at the start of a move that would turn “end to discrimination” from a slogan to a series of laws. However, the feminists realized something that homosexuals refuse to understand: That this is the right moment to stop burning bras.

 

A shift to the mainstream 

If the feminist revolution succeeded (partly, slowly, but overall it succeeded,) it’s because at a certain stage it shifted from being an ongoing demonstration to a political lobby. The moment the feminist agenda became a legitimate election ticket, the story shifted from the margins to the mainstream. And if we continue with the comparisons, we can see that we had openly feminist Knesset members back in the 1980s already, while in 2008 there is not even openly homosexual Knesset member.

 

We have homosexual and lesbian Knesset members, but we don’t know who they are, because representing this huge community, either directly or just by belonging to it, is still not the mainstream. In my view, it is directly related to the fact that a large part of the mainstream is exposed to the gay community only once a year, when it hits the streets wearing too few clothes.

 

When a regular person walks the street and encounters a couple who are all over each other, he doesn’t think “oh, how beautiful love is,” but rather, “get a room.” This has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of this couple, but rather, with the fact that public sexuality embarrasses most of us and disgusts some of us.

 

Now, creating embarrassment and even disgust is legitimate as a strategy for the “look, we exist” phase. Yet at the current stage, where homosexuals are embarking on a battle for their most basic rights, ranging from inheritance laws to marriage, the last thing they need are mass “in your face” events – because once the last of the thong-wearing dancers disappear, perhaps we shall finally see the first Knesset member who is proud to be gay.

 

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