Scene of gay youth center shooting (archives)
Photo: George Ginsburg
TA to educate against homophobia despite Shas' objection
Following deadly shooting at gay youth center, other violent acts against gays, municipality launches new school program focusing on sexual identity. Shas councilman calls content 'debauchery'

The Tel Aviv Municipality's Education Committee decided on Sunday to launch an educational program in the cities schools that will focus on sexual identity, familiarity with the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community and the prevention of homophobia and discrimination.


The decision was reached despite objection from the religious factions, who stormed out of a committee meeting held last June, during which the plan was presented. Council member Binyamin Babayof of the Shas faction referred to the program's content as "debauchery."


The program was initiated by City Council member Yaniv Weizman, who is also Mayor Ron Huldai's advisor on gay community affairs, following the deadly shooting attack at a gay youth center in the city and other acts of violence against members of the community.


The program is set to be introduced at Tel Aviv's schools in January.


Deputy Mayor Assaf Zamir, who heads the Education Committee, said the program is important in light of the large gay and lesbian community in the city and the fact that more and more members choose to get married.


"There is a 'baby boom' in the city's (GBLT) community. At least 100 children from same-sex families are currently enrolled in the city's schools, and questions such as 'Why does Almog have to dads?' are being heard more and more. This program will help is answer the children's questions," he said.


"Tel Aviv has a historic role in improving the gay community's status in Israel and in paving the way for social equality and the acceptance of the other," Zamir added.


The program was initiated in cooperation with Hoshen, the informational and educational center of the GLBT community.



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