WHEN THE CITY IS SO COLORFUL AND THE STATE SO DARK by Ayala Berger, Israel

Three days ago Pride Parade was held once again in Tel Aviv. The most exciting holiday of the year, manifesting in a month, a week, a day. So much preparation, so much talk, the excitement is felt in the air in the city of eternal freedom.

The city is painted in pride colors, the colors of love, a feeling of a summer vacation. Free. Loving. Beautiful.

The city is filled with tourists, the streets are packed with people who just want to celebrate, every club, bar, café or other hangout location associated with the LGBTQ community is packed to the brim every night.

Three days ago was the second time I walked the parade from start to finish, finishing on the stage together with the party lines of talented friends, in front of a quarter of a million people, a quarter of a million pairs of eyes that just want to love and be loved, to live the life each human deserves. Sounds familiar? It’s this weird feeling that humans get, I guess.

It amazed me. It amazed me how everything was so happy, exciting and colorful. And yet- it’s not a short list of people who don’t want to allow love to exist on this planet. With what right? Why don’t I deserve to live with my love and bring kids into the world with her like everyone else? Why do I need to fight for my rights? Why do I need to come across Homophobia, snooping, ignorance and darkness on such a regular basis? Because I want… let’s say… God forbid… to love?

I was suddenly angered by how the city is so colorful and yet the state is so dark. The government is so dark. Everyday LGBTQ people on the web (and off it) are met with bullying and homophobia, only last week (!!!) a bill proposing to allow same sex marriage (we’re in 2018 yea?) fell through in the Knesset, my friends need to fight for their rights to bring kids into the world and raise them, and the list goes on.

I was angered by the fact that all businesses in the city were decorating their store fronts so nicely. Now- don’t get me wrong. It’s blessed and quite amazing how the Community is gaining volume and is accepted in so many places. But this dissonance- between what is outside and what is inside. Between what I see in my city and what I see nearly anywhere else in the country – and on the web especially. Between all the colorfulness and effort the city and government put into Pride Week in Tel Aviv but when we want elementary rights in society where are we exactly? This dissonance, it twists the end of my smile, it fills me with sadness during the happiest of moments.

So I took my camera and tried to show through my eyes and a camera lens from about 40 years ago the darkness that still needs to be lit up, to show what happens when suddenly the colors and cheerfulness are stripped off – what do we have here exactly? Without its colors who would even notice this flag and what it represents? And the people hanging it- do they even know? Do they care? What are they doing for the cause?

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We still have a lot to work on, and not only for the LGBTQ community. About accepting the other, the different, in our country. We still have a few lessons to learn about love and not from Disney movies.

“Love your neighbor as yourself”- that sentence from the bible, the book that theories of hate and darkens such as these are built on- but also has this sentence. Why you don’t go by this rule, you who are pulling the strings? Only when it fits? What about that sentence, did you forget it?

Sorry if I brought you down,

But I wish it’ll be a happy Pride holiday, every day of the year.

This article was originally published in Hebrew on WDG Magazine, Israel’s LGBTQ News Website http://www.wdg.co.il

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