Boy George to kickoff Israel’s month-long Pride season in EliatEntertainment News, Online Only, Section 4A, Top Highlights Friday, April 11th, 2014
Boy George, the hit making wunderkind from the 1980s whose chart-topping singles included “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me,” “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” “Miss Me Blind” and “Church of the Poison Mind,” is set to kickoff Israeli Pride in the southern port city of Eliat. The festivities, which run from May 15 to the 17, are the first event in a series of events held all across this Middle Eastern country and culminate in what many consider to be one of the world’s best Prides: Tel Aviv in the North.
Israel is unique among nations in the region for its highly progressive stance toward the LGBT community. Same-sex relations were legalized in 1988 and Israel became the first country in either the Middle East or Asia to recognize cohabitation between same-sex couples, making it the only country in the region to do so thus far.
But despite the country’s reputation as a tolerant place for the LGBT community to call home – a whopping 61 percent of its citizens approve of same-sex marriage – there are pockets of resistance. The Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has repeatedly called on the Knesset, Israel’s governing body, to ban such events. In 2005 a member of that religious sect stabbed a parade-goer and in 2006 widespread rioting forced a ban on Pride in Jerusalem until the security of its citizens could be assured.
But since 2001, Pride events across the country have mostly continued uninterrupted. The events, which draw people from around the region and the world, bring in many from neighboring countries where threats of detention, punishment, and in some cases death, allow thousands of people, for a brief time, to be themselves.
Eilat Pride was established in 2001 and has been held annually since then. It is the first in a long series of events scheduled to take place in Israel’s major cities marking Pride Month.
For a glimpse of last year’s Eilat Pride, check out the video below.
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