Today more than 200,000 people are marching in support of Gay Pride in Tel Aviv.
Here is how Gay Pride is celebrated in Gaza:
The New York Times describes the Gazan celebrations a few months ago:
Mr. Ishtiwi, 34, was a commander from a storied family of Hamas loyalists who, during the 2014 war with Israel, was responsible for 1,000 fighters and a network of attack tunnels. Last month, his former comrades executed him with three bullets to the chest. Adding a layer of scandal to the story, he was accused of moral turpitude, by which Hamas meant homosexuality.
And earlier this week Israel crowned its first “Miss Trans Israel.” There is no word yet on when Miss Trans Israel will compete against Miss Trans from other countries in the Middle East. Here she is:
For those who wish to showcase the relative freedom and tolerance enjoyed by Israel’s LGBT community, Talleen Abu Hanna is an ideal model. Born and raised in Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus Christ, Abu Hanna is a Catholic Israeli Arab. Like many of Israel’s 1.6 million Arab citizens, she calls herself Palestinian as well. But ask her where she’d rather live, and her response is swift.
“I wouldn’t be alive if I grew up in Palestine,” she says in perfect Hebrew. “Not as a gay man, and definitely not as a transgender woman.”
She recalls how in Thailand, where she completed her gender transition surgery just one year ago, she met many transgender women from Arab countries. Their occasional trips to Thailand — known in the trans community as the best place for transitional surgery –were the only times when these women felt safe to be themselves, wearing makeup and dressing as women. Back home, they told her, they had to disguise themselves as men. “It’s something you need to keep a secret in Arab countries, and even then it’s forbidden,” she says.
Homosexuality is considered a crime in many countries. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen are just a few whose penalties for homosexuality include death and lashings.
While all countries fall short, it’s important to keep in perspective where the rare and delicate flower of liberty is cultivated. If people forget which countries, on balance, are friends to liberty, no friends of liberty will remain.