10th Gay Pride Parade set to kick off in Jerusalem
02.08.2012 10:38 |
The 10th annual Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade will return to its original route through the city center on Thursday, passing by the point where three participants were stabbed in 2005 by a haredi extremist.
Elinor Sidi, the director of Jerusalem’s Open House, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community center, said the parade’s biggest victory in the past 10 years is that the march is now a regular part of the city’s calendar.
“We’re marking a decade of advancement in this city,” she said. “In the first years of the parade there was terrible violence against participants, but now it has become part of the status quo of this city.
“Our goal for the next 10 years is not just to be seen during the one day a year of the day on the parade, but on the other 364 days per year as well.”
The parade, which will march from Independence Park to the Liberty Bell Park down King George Street, is traditionally much more subdued than the weeklong colorful beach party of Tel Aviv’s gay pride events.
King George Street will be closed to traffic during the parade, from approximately 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday’s march also takes place on the third anniversary of the shooting at the Bar Noar center for LGBT teenagers in Tel Aviv, when 26-year-old volunteer counselor Nir Katz and 16-year-old Liz Trubeshi were killed and 15 were wounded.
No one was arrested for the murder and the gay community has not recovered its sense of security, said Sidi.
“At the Open House, the door used to be physically open. Now, not only is it closed, it is locked, we have guards and a key. We want to be able to give our community self-confidence, we want to keep the door open,” she said.
Sidi said activists refused to give up hope that the murderer will eventually be caught.
Approximately 5,000 people are expected to take place in Thursday’s march. Haredim have requested a permit to hold a counterprotest in Shabbat Square, and in the past few years there have been small groups of haredim protesting along the route, though there have been no major disturbances in the past five years. Sidi said the gay community does not oppose the Shabbat Square protest because they support freedom of expression.
American philanthropist Lynn Schusterman, an early supporter of Open House, is one of the main speakers at the event.
Adam Russo, who was 18 when he was stabbed during the 2005 march, will also address the crowd.
In contrast to previous years, no MKs were invited to speak at the event. In past years MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) – the Knesset’s only openly gay member – and Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich both addressed the parade. Sidi said this year the parade will focus on community leaders because they are tired of “all of the talking and no action” of politicians.
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