The Road to Pride Is Still Long
Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

The Road to Pride Is Still Long

 Ma’ariv, Israel, May 29

Pride Month events kick off this week, and they are expected to be more diverse, festive and colorful than ever before, especially after most of the COVID-related restrictions imposed upon us over the past two years have been lifted. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to march in the Tel Aviv Pride Parade, and tens of thousands more in other parades across the country. Dozens of Pride events are expected to take place across the country, an all-time record. In the past year, significant progress has been made by local authorities and mayors across the country in support of Pride Month. This support is reflected in the number of expected pride events and their dispersal throughout the country. And there are other happy developments: Minister of Social Equality Meirav Cohen will award a special government award this year to organizations and individuals who have worked to promote LGBTQ populations in the State of Israel and the Holon Children’s Museum has launched a special tribute to the LGBTQ community. However, we must not delude ourselves – many of these developments, while welcomed, are merely “cosmetic.” The real battle for LGTBQ rights doesn’t take place in Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Be’er Sheva, or in the meeting rooms of municipalities. The LGBTQ community must direct its determined struggle to Jerusalem: to the Knesset and the Supreme Court. The year is 2022 and LGBTQ Israelis are still unable to register with the Ministry of the Interior as married. In 2022, too, many of us are still forced to use surrogacy services abroad, at a cost of at least half a million shekels, to build a family. Despite the expanding representation of LGBTQ individuals in the Knesset, major achievements in legislation have not yet been made for the benefit of the LGBTQ community. The real struggle is the struggle to change the laws that discriminate against our community: it is still impossible for same-sex couples to adopt and marry in Israel, and there is no real equality of rights here. The time has come for us to fight for these missing rights. Pride parades in Afula, Mitzpe Ramon, Nahariya, and Harish are important, but the most important place is Jerusalem, where the Knesset of Israel is responsible for discriminatory legislation. The Supreme Court, which in the past issued prominent rulings in favor of the LGBTQ community, is becoming increasingly more conservative. We must therefore continue to push for justice and equality, march in the streets of our nation’s capital, and fight for our rights – but the road to pride is still long. – Arthur Shani (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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