Alin and Inbar, congratulations on your upcoming wedding! We'd love to know more about your journey as a couple. Alin: "Wow."
Inbar: "We are very excited."
How long have you two been together? Inbar: "We have been together for two and a half years."
Could you tell us how the two of you met? Alin: "I attended a boxing class hosted by a friend whom I was dating at the time. It just so happened that Inbar was training there too. Our paths crossed, and we were paired together for some boxing practice. Unfortunately, I wasn't very skilled, and I ended up accidentally hitting her. Needless to say, she wasn't too pleased with me, and that's how our initial interaction unfolded."
How long have you two dated women? Alin: "I have identified as bisexual throughout my entire life. It's something I have always known, even from a young age."
Inbar: "While I had a previous life as a religious straight woman, I now define myself as a lesbian. I came to terms with my sexual orientation at the age of 23, during a time when discussions about sexual orientation were not as prevalent.
"Prior to that, I had other personal matters to sort out. My relationship with Elin is my first same-sex relationship, and it was through our connection that I also came out to my family and those around me."
Alin: "Similarly, my family had less knowledge about my sexuality over the years. It was a secret because I knew they wouldn't easily accept it due to the environment I grew up in, where people tend to have more traditional views. However, my partner knew about it, as did a few of our closest friends."
Do you currently live together? Alin: "Yes, we moved in together right away."
Inbar: "After six months."
Alin: "Just like two typical lesbians, following the stereotypical narrative, as depicted in the popular imagination."
Alin and Inbar were born on the same day, August 4th, with a one-year age difference. Inbar is 29 years old, while Alin is 28. Their current relationship is the first and most significant experience they have ever had with a woman, although they come from different backgrounds.
Alin was born in Uzbekistan and immigrated to Israel at the age of two. She grew up in Netanya and had already been married to a man. She explains, "I met him at the age of 16, we got married when I was 24, and we were married for a year and a half."
Inbar grew up in Shoham in an observant household, studied at an all-girl religious high school and served in the national service. Over the past two years, they have been living together in Tel Aviv.
Alin runs a fitness studio in the southern part of the city, while Inbar is a medical student. They will have their wedding ceremony this coming Friday as part of the Pride events in Tel Aviv, alongside 15 other couples from the LGBTQ+ community.
The wedding will begin with a reception, followed by a symbolic breaking of glasses ceremony, and a performance by Anya Buchstein. The celebration will conclude with a dance party.
During the event, there will be a registration booth where couples can register as a couple in the municipal system. Shortly after the municipal event, Alin and Inbar will host a private celebration for their family and friends.
Why did you decide to get married? Inbar: "I think we knew from the very beginning that it was 'it.' I never fantasized about a wedding dress and a wedding, but it was important for me to have a ceremony that celebrates our love."
Alin: "Not everyone sees us as a couple, so the significance of it is significant. It's also something that is difficult for us to do, and if it weren't for the initiative taken by the Tel Aviv municipality, it would probably have taken us much longer.
"The project gave us the approval that we wanted. In fact, we got married a year and a half ago, and all this time we postponed the actual wedding ceremony due to difficulties with our families, and yes, also due to the financial aspect."
Tell me about the engagement. Alin: "At some point, I realized that she really needed it, the approval and my full presence. I waited for a few good months, but in the end, I bought a ring and took her to a weekend getaway, where I tried to talk and propose, but it didn't go very well."
Did you get down on one knee? Alin: "Yes, I tried, but I started to stumble and cry."
Inbar: "She brought me the type of beer we both had on our first date, a beer with the label 'Inbar,' produced in the Arava region."
How did your families react to your relationship? Inbar: "My family is religious, and I'm the eldest of six siblings, so it's not easy. After the engagement, my mom said she needed a moment to herself to understand the situation.
"Now, since the wedding date was set, my parents have decided to attend, even though it's difficult for them. I understand that it's challenging for them; I grew up in this situation, but they are trying very hard. They accept Alin, and we go together to family events, trying to integrate ourselves."
"Unfortunately, my grandmother won't be attending. I sent the wedding invitation to the extended family WhatsApp group, and I only received a few rare responses from distant cousins, basically just a couple of congratulations. My cousin posted that she was getting married two days after me, and the entire group went crazy. It's frustrating."
Alin: "My parents saw that my previous marriage wasn't good for me, and they see the positives in my current relationship. However, my mom says it's hard for her to accept Inbar as part of the family, but she's making a real effort.
"My dad sometimes simply ignores it. He says hello and respects her, but it's still strange and unfamiliar to him. From what I understand, he feels that my upbringing wasn't good enough, like something went wrong there. Surprisingly, my grandmother doesn't mind.
"She comes from a place of 'do what's good for you.' She has another grandchild who came out of the closet a few years before me, my cousin, so that opened the door for me in some way."
Okay, let's talk about why you chose such a public format for your wedding. Alin: "After the struggle of coming out, there is something significant about this act. It's meaningful for the LGBTQ+ community, but also for people with phobias or difficulties, who can see that it's legitimate, normative, that it's okay to want to love."
Inbar: "I just wanted my parents to see that I'm happy in life, that I'm happy with Elin, and that friends surround us."
Here's an aunty question: Are you considering expanding your family unit? Inbar: "From Elin's perspective, we were already considering it yesterday."
Alin: "We have a dog."
Inbar: "We will have children, God willing. Because I'm a bit older, I will probably be the first. But it's still a couple of years away. I'm not mature enough yet; I'm still a student," she laughs.
Is this year's Pride Parade different for you compared to previous ones? Inbar: "The most significant Pride Parade for me was the one I attended with Elin two years ago. Until then, I really enjoyed the parades, I was enthusiastic about the whole event from start to finish, but I felt somewhat like an outsider because I was 'the straight friend who came with her gay friends.'
"The first parade with Elin was a different, emotional experience. This year, we will be there for the first time as a married lesbian couple."
Alin: "I used to go to the parades with my ex-husband, ironically, he was the one pushing me to go. He said how important it was to him. Now I come from a different place."
Inbar: "I'm very proud, in general, but especially this year when I walk with her."
Alin: "With everything happening around us, there is a greater need to show presence. Once, the parade in Jerusalem was the most protest-oriented and demonstrative, but now the Tel Aviv parade also needs to be like that because we need to fight for more visibility and legitimacy."
Inbar: "My very religious nieces and nephews will see this year, for the first time, that their aunt is married to a woman. Whether they accept her or not, it doesn't matter; she is part of the family. It's the day-to-day beyond the parade, and it's amazing to me."
What do you love most about each other? Alin: "I really love Inbar's ambition and her sensitivity. She brings out aspects in me that I didn't know could exist. I love being next to her, very much."
Inbar: "Alin allows me to be who I am. She balances me and sees me, fills my heart."
Where do you see yourselves in ten years of marriage? Alin: "I hope we're still in Tel Aviv and don't need to find another location. That we continue working in what we love, that we expand our family, and most importantly, that we feel secure in ourselves and the place we're in."
Inbar: "I hope one day it will be the most explosive thing to talk about the LGBTQ+ community because it will be so cool."