Photography: Omer Israeli
"The current situation was achieved through bitter struggles against a dark world"
Hana Klein, born in 1951, was born and raised in Tel Aviv and participated in momentous events in the history of the association, in which she has been a member since the year 1976. "I especially remember the 'Ne'imim ve'Neamot' rally (the first LGBT rally in Israel) that took place in 'Malkei Israel' square on Friday 20/07/1979 at 14:00. Due to threats by religious people who threatened to remove the Kosher certification from the hotels in which the community tried to organize the fourth international Jewish LGBT conference, we chose to demonstrate together. This was a historical rally that was shot for the single-channel television and was aired on that same night at prime time".
That was the first sign of protest that led to changes: "living in the 50's and 60's in Israel was like living in a forsaken place. Gay relationships were outlawed, we were called homophobic names, we suffered harassment and abuse from the police and street-thugs, false arrests, and threats of being fired from work. Life then was a never-ending battle against violence and prejudice. Since then, things have changed, and the transformation is astounding. The law against gay relationships was repealed, the homosexual clause was removed from psychopathology books, there is more equality rights, more social acceptance, and establishment of gay communities and organizations in Israel. Lesbian women understood that loving women also means loving women's rights and joined feminist movements, which in turn supported the gay community".
Her message to the young generation is followed with a warning: "many young people in the community were born to a relatively better world, take everything for granted, and are not aware that the current situation was achieved through bitter struggles against a dark homophobic world. This 60-year-old change versus thousands of years of oppression mean that change can be unstable! To preserve it, the community's organizations must be united despite the differences amongst ourselves, because we are more powerful in unison. We are the only asset we have, and we are a minority. The greatest things we did were without money, but with enthusiasm, and self-belief. Power isn't always measured with money � but with human assets. being involved and participating in the gay community is a valuable lifestyle, and it's important to pass it on to the young generation. Unpreserved achievements get lost along the way, and there is no cure to homophobia. The progress rate of a civilized society is measured by how they treat women, the gay community, disadvantaged minorities, and diverse people in general".