eumelia: (queer rage)
I wrote a post yesterday just before I headed out to the parade, but Officer Kalakaua ate it alas. I'm still getting used to this whole typing with my thumbs and not touching things by accident.

I also switched on the spell check, which happens to be the autocorrect, so my initial attempts at swearing were a bust. Truly, Officer, I really did mean to say "fuck" and not "fork".

Funny stuff. I may install a chat app just so Imcan screengrab things and send them to Damn You Autocorrect!

Any way, it was a successful march. I'd never taken any formal part in Pride, but the march in Jerusalem is of way more significance due to it's nature as a human rights march, as opposed to the pandering street party that the one in Tel-Aviv is. It's also far more significant due to it being a memorial of the shooting of the gay youth club three years ago, so you know, it's important.

I was very concerned about the police and the border patrol (the border police has more presence in spaces like these as opposed to the actual border), but my own paranoia was just that.

I stood with the security at the entrance to the assembly area and put bracelets on people to prove that they had been checked out by security, so that was annoying - also, the amount of Holocaust jokes were abound.

After standing around for two hours, I and the rest the ushers became the headers, basically making sure there were no people behind us except the police.

I forewent the post-march concerts and speeches, and along with a few other people went to celebrate [sexy!roommate]'s birthday on the grass a bit away from the the assembly.

Long, but rather good day, all in all.

I now have a t-shirt I can't wear ever again, due to it being an usher shirt, not because it was ruined. I also got burnt on the back of my neck.

Just call me Red Neck Mel.
eumelia: (bisexual fury)
I'm so much more upset about this than I thought I would be.

Two years after fatal shooting, Tel Aviv gay youth club faces closure.

It's pretty much a slap in the face from the municipality towards the LGBT community in Tel-Aviv.

They'll spend obscene amounts of money of a Pride Parade, in which more people from abroad participated than locals from outside of Tel-Aviv if reports are to be believed.

It was supposed to be a safe place for queer youth, it stopped being that and has since become a memorial and I'm so sad to see it go.

Goes to show what the most liberal city in Israel thinks of its gay youth.

Excuse me while I go cry a bit.
eumelia: (bisexual fury)
... why I was so irritable yesterday.

I'd been avoiding thinking about it, talking about it... you name it, I avoided doing it in relation to the second anniversary of the QUILTBAG Youth Centre shooting.

Still no new leads on the killer.

Nor will there ever be.

The trail turned cold that night.

I had something more to say about it, but I can't find the words.

Maybe later.

Right now... I'm just speechless.

One Year

Aug. 1st, 2010 11:25 pm
eumelia: (bisexual fury)
Guess what I'm writing about.

One year ago. Exactly. At this hour. I was watching television, with my mother, I have no idea what we were watching and as we flicked through the channels, we saw a News alert that there was an attack in Tel-Aviv.

Like the majority of us in my locale, the first thought that came into my head was that there had been a terrorist attack. They are rare now, but still, a News alert like that with fuzzy footage, police cordoning the area and ambulances everywhere, the first thought is Terror.

And in a way it was, just not the kind of Terror we were used to.

When the field anchors stated the address of the attack I thought I had heard wrong. I had only been to that headquarters of Israeli LGBT association a few times, it houses numerous clubs and support groups and I personally never found what I was looking for or needed there, but I knew of many who did.

In a way, the attack didn't come as a surprise, much as it was a shock, but the violence of my culture, the machismo, the misogyny... everything.

It was only a matter of time right.

Not that it made one iota of difference on the larger scale. Straight people still treat this as a freak event. The shooter is still out there and he knows he has succeeded, because the fact is, it takes activist judges to get queers any protection under the law, trans people are still persecuted and have no protection under the law, three people were assaulted after the Jerusalem Pride march and I didn't go to the memorial held at the Tel-Aviv Gay Community Centre because every community event has felt like a memorial this year.

Apparently there were many people at the memorial last night. The minister of (re)education was there and was rightfully heckled and he promised, as he did a year ago, that gay material would be put into the curriculum.

This incident, by the way, is not recognised as a hate crime, nor is it recognised as an act of terror against a community already so disenfranchised.

We know, we can be your pretty face to the world and bring in business and tourists and get liberals to defend our actions violating other human rights, but to actually grant us equal rights, treat us as though we are worth something.
That... that's just too much.

I'll be here, Rewatching myself march in the Jerusalem Pride Parade. Yeah, there's a video )
eumelia: (bisexual fury)
I've been staring at this page forever, the cursor mocking me with my inability to write a recap of yesterday's events.

I suppose it was because the actual event was, thankfully uneventful.

There was one counter demo at the march itself, in which Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel, easily the most disgusting specimens of humanity Israeli society has to offer came with signs reading "Holyland not Homoland" as we marched by.
If you are interested, you can read some of their hate speech and incitement here.

But we were safe, because the police (despite some asshattery earlier this month regarding the route to the Knesset) are very serious about the security. Now, I trust the police about as far as I can throw them (meaning, I don't) and it's really due to the fact that the Pride March in Jerusalem gets more threats than any other political march in the city - my sister, who is a Jeruselamite (of many years) was surprised at the fact that there weren't people on the sidelines hurling insults or worse. I explained that ever since the stabbing in 2005, the security had been upped. Not to mention that Pride is not an explicitly Leftist event and doesn't invite that kind of political ire from its opposers.

I, per usual, marched with the Reds :) along with Yael, [personal profile] tamara_russo, my sister (who next year will be bringing her husband and kids) and I saw my friend S and it was awesome.

There were great speeches in the pre-march events, an open stage for anyone who had something say, so there were many talks from grassroots activists, the kink community, the bi/pan community, the anarchists, the communists, an anonymous letter from a religious gay man... it was very heart warming.

As I've previously mentioned, this is the first time we marched to the Knesset, and it felt profound and meaningful. Which is how I felt during the Radical march back in June in Tel-Aviv and didn't feel during the Municipal march in Tel-Aviv - that's a carnival and has lost the political power it once held. I don't know how I feel about marching in the Municipal Tel-Aviv march considering the fact that Tel-Aviv is constantly used to pinkwash Israeli society - while we're called filth and animals everywhere else.

This was doubly clear at the Memorial rally held after the march in the Knesset rose garden in honour of Nir Katz and Liz Trobishi (z"l) which the 1st of August marks the year anniversary of their murder. Nir Katz's mother, Ayala, became a pivotal figure in the community, becoming the chairwoman on Tehila (the Israeli version of Parents and Friends and of [QUILTBAG] people) and she gave a very moving speech.

We were told that the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was "supposed" to send a letter for the community, but didn't get a chance to sign it. Tsipi Livny delivered a letter, which I don't appreciate thanks, seeing as gays are seen as nothing more than fodder for tourists, at best.
Gay and out MK Nitzan Horowitz gave a very passionate (and loud) speech and stated pretty blatantly that the other members of Knesset sucked when it came to policy concerning queers.
So, yeah.

My sister and I left after his speech and missed the (so I've heard) surreal speech by former Speaker of the Knesset and author Avrum Burg, who is a religious man and upholds universal values of human and civil rights and spoke about reconciling those with religion.

I spoke to my sister about the Statement of Principles I mentioned yesterday (LJ/DW) which is obviously connected to the whole reconciling of religion and homosexuality. And she said it's better than sitting Shiva on the child and mentioned that at least like this they can still have a place.
"Men" I said, as the Statement is very much tilted towards the male experience, despite the fact that gay women are mentioned, it's clear that the only people "really" affected are men, because there is this disbelief surrounding female desire towards sex that doesn't involve a penis belonging to a man.
My sister said that possibly being an unmarried woman in traditional Orthodox society is the worst position, because there really is no place.

Call me crazy. But to me this means traditional Orthodox society is just not the place to be if you're gay. Also, traditional orthodox people need to stop being bigoted ass-holes.

Just sayin'.

Yes, it is better not to sit Shiva over your child, just like common-law marriage is better than having no partner rights whatsoever.

So, yeah.

Here are some pictures, all taken by [personal profile] tamara_russo. Thank you babe, for being there with me!
I'm cute )
eumelia: (queer rage)
I'll be doing a lot of marching this Friday, as it the annual Tel Aviv Pride Parade.

However, it's a little different this year.

The Gay Youth Club attack kind of put the community through the ringer and a whole lot of splits occurred and, well, there are two marches happening at the same time this year.

The annual one, dubbed the Municipal March because it's funded by the Tel-Aviv Municipality and is sponsored by the bigger, mainstream LGBT organisations.
At the same time, from a different location, the one dubbed the Community March (Officially called "Marching For Change") is marching as contrapuntal to the Municipal one, protesting the commercialisation and homogenisation of the march and all that.

I will, however, be marching in the first explicitly Radical Left Queer march. Which is actually happening before either of those marches and is getting more heat than either of the marches.

Because see, the Community March is about the murder and the fact that not enough was done after the attack and that the LGBT community in a way retreated and licked its wounds. These are things I agree with, but I don't agree that there should have been a split.

After the Radical March, I'll be joining up with the Municipal March and doing the regular route.
Why? Because I don't think a split in over-all community politics is the way to go.
The Radical March is deliberately separate because we want to talk about our marginalised position in the LGBT community.
The position that looks at Queer identity in Solidarity with other oppressed minorities in Israel.
This is something that has caused problems with the higher ups, Yaniv Weisman, who is a member of the Tel-Aviv Municipal Council and runs the Tel-Aviv LGBT Community Center has verbally attacked the existence of the Radical March, saying that we're using our Sexual Identities to promote a skewed version of the Community, that not everyone is "like them" (as in... like me).

I have to say. This is not what I was expecting.

In Israel, "Queer" doesn't have the pejorative history like in Anglophone countries, which is nice, and makes it easier to use as a word. But it is a word so intertwined with the Radical Left here, that it feels as though I have no safe space in the margins. I need to be even more marginal in order to be viewed as someone whose thoughts and feelings deserve to be expressed like a human being.

I'm quite ashamed to see groups pop up against our march calling themselves "Stop The Occupation of the March... by the Left".

The irony, it is physically painful for me. It angers me. It shows me that the LGBT community are fine with resting on their laurels while human rights are trampled elsewhere... so long as I'm "safe" everything is all right.

I'm not sure how people don't realise that the attack last year (fuck it's been 11 months!) was a symptom of the direction our society is going. No tolerance for the other, especially if they're visible.
That my own community be willing to silence voices in the name of National Unity, WTFF!!??, is something I don't want to contemplate too deeply.
eumelia: (dw rainbow)
As readers of mine may know, from here or otherwise, on August 1st 2009 an anonymous gunman (who is still at large) burst into a Tel-Aviv Gay Youth club in when it was filled with kids and opened fire, wounding 13 and murdering two, Nir Katz and Liz Trobishi (z"l).

I wrote about it extensively.

Their friend created a chain of rainbow cranes for them and put up this video, which is accompanied by the Hebrew translated song, "The Cranes":


The captions read as follow -
The Gay Crane Tree Project
On Saturday August 1st 2009
A masked man commenced a shooting at the "Bar-Noar"[the gay youth club]
The result: 13 wounded and 2 dead
Cranes are symbol of peace and happiness

This is our wish

We folded 200 cranes in the colours of Pride

We made them into a chain

And hung them on a tree on the corner of Nachmani st and Rotschild bv. near the "Bar-Noar"

[credits]

In Memory of Nir Katz and Liz Trobishi
August 2009
eumelia: (Default)
The links are NSFW!
I repeat, the links (and possibly this entire entry) are Not Safe For Work!

Via the Ha'aretz article: Can gay porn save Israel's image? which was originally featured in The Forward: Pornographic Stimulus Plan about about Michael Lucas' project called Men of Israel, featuring... well you can guess.

I read about this project back when Michael Lucas was here in Israel and both the queer and mainstream media were hounding him a bit (for different reasons).

I have a problem with this project.
Not the pornography; honestly, so long as the people get paid and aren't coerced to do something against their will... there's not much I'm going to complain about in this context.

My problem is with Lucas' attitude regarding his project.
Allow me a quote from the article:
Lucas claims that his motivation behind “Men of Israel” was not just titillation, but also a counterbalance to lopsided portrayals of Israel in mainstream media. “It’s free PR for Israel, and it’s much better than the PR they’re getting on the news,” he said during a tour of the company’s expansive second-floor offices, with views of the New York Times building across the street. “The reality is that Israel has only one face to people on the street, and that’s the West Bank and Gaza. All people see in the media is a country of disaster. They get images of a blown-up bus.”

Is he fucking kidding?
Promoting Israel as a gay tourist spot is not the way to "counter portray" the Occupation, nor is fetishising Israeli bodies, which honestly, are already grossly fetishised.
Also, can he be more shallow regarding Israel's portrayal in the media,which yeah, is pretty shallow regardless. However, Israel does its best to present itself (unsuccessfully) as a monolith of culture and opinion.

Not to mention this gem:
“I’m not sure the vast majority of his audience know or care about his political views,” [Aaron Hicklin, editor in chief of the gay magazine Out] said.
[...]
That may change with a letter that Lucas sent on August 31 to GoGay[link added by [livejournal.com profile] eumelia], Israel’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Web site, excoriating gay Israelis for staying closeted. “Excusing these pitiful cowards for not coming out of the closet and accepting their façade is only hurting Israel,” he wrote. “By hiding from your reality, you are empowering intolerant disillusioned fanatics.” The idea for the letter came, he said, after Israeli men “started hitting me up on the Web site, inviting me to hook up, then said they’re not out. They’re delusional. They’re cruising this Web site, benefiting from the fights of other people. They think the gay movement has nothing to do with them, that the shooting of gay youths in Tel Aviv has nothing to do with them. What reason is there to be in the closet in Israel in 2009? It’s embarrassing.”
Emphasis Mine.

Is he fucking kidding?
Really, did he just say that in conjunction with the gay youth centre?
I have a lot of respect for sex workers and people who work towards sex-positivity, but honestly.
I'm sorta speechless here.
Israel is not some kind of Queer Paradise.
It's not.
The Tel-Aviv bubble is very much burst when it comes to that.

Israel is plenty fetishised when it comes to militarism and the use of Jewish Israeli bodies is nothing new when promoting Israeli Hasbarah.

Michael Lucas, I don't care that you're a Zionist, or that you use your ideology to fetishise Israeli Jewish men. Seriously, I do not care.
But how dare you criticise and chastise other Queer folk, not actually knowing what it is they have to do in order to cruise in a place where they feel safe, and even consider the possibility that perhaps, due to an overt act of violence against the youth in our community... they might be a bit iffy about being Loud and Proud.

Michael Lucas, you suck and not in the good way.
Get the fuck off my lawn and stop trying to present it as though the manure smells like Axa Deodorant!

N.B. This post is getting flagged isn't it?
eumelia: (Default)
It's been over a month since the shooting at the LGBT youth centre.

On Saturday night there was a march commemorating the dead. The same article in Hebrew were the only reports I could find about it.

As you can imagine, the police has not reported any suspect, no leads and after what I call the "Shiva" week, it was no longer part of the News cycle.
There were more and other murders going around this summer.

A lynch on the beach, someone killed a couple, a father killed his daughter... it's all very gruesome and that's what makes the Yellow News on the television.

According to a Newspaper poll Israelis feel more secure.
Seeing a title like that, my immediate assumption that this means the people living outside Israel proper feel less secure than ever. That is, that the average Palestinian doesn't feel personally secure.

I can hear the apoplexy already.

But fuck it, because if my "personal security" (which doesn't feel that great by the way) is enhanced because we're crushing the freedoms of others... that's not real security, that's walking around willingly blindfolded in the middle of the road.

In that poll it says that "Leftists were also revealed as more confident on the national front than rightists. Just 39% of rightists said they felt very secure, while 51% of those describing themselves as leftists said they felt thus".

I do not know who these Leftists are, because I don't think I've ever felt, since becoming politically aware and knowing why I'm secure in my home, less secure. Simply because the situation we're in is just not sustainable. The fact that haven't been any Nationalistically motivated crime in a while (even the Qassam rockets in the South haven't been that active) the violence that saturates my society is spilling over onto the News and thus into our conciousness even more.

But our conciousness is dissonant. Us Israelis are so used to danger coming from "Them" that crimes like the shooting at the LGBT youth centre was a surprise, that murders coming from families of known Mafia families, that rape and murder are on the front of the national News pages... we feel more secure, because Palestinians aren't shooting us or blowing themselves up.

So they can keep demonstrating against the Separation Fence and Wall and the IDF can shoot at both Foreign (same story, different News agency) and Domestic journalists who go to witness how the IDF protects Us from Them.
After all: 85% [of civilians are] saying they believed the army would be capable of protecting Israel if it were attacked.

*Thumbs up*

In my previous entry one of my most excellent and good friends asked, more seriously than not, to remind her why she lived here.

I ask myself that as well, but that line of questioning is really counter productive, because I was born here. I've never lived any where else and very likely no place I ever live will ever feel like home.
There is violence, crime and hate everywhere.
Possibly there is a difference in the societal framing of those human behaviours.

The systematic Othering that I feel is so insidious and invidious is stifling. The way the campaign I spoke about in my previous entry very simply and without much thought, casually disseminates the idea that not only are Jews better than non-Jews (the Goyim, the Gentiles), but that we must keep Jews from choosing a life that may or may not include the Judaism that Israel proclaims to be the true path.

I've been told, more than once by more than one person, that I'm narrow-minded. I find, more often than not, that I'm told this when I challenge the ideas that have been presented to me as default.
An argument usually comes to a stalemate when the person I'm arguing with says "I'm secure in the knowledge that I'm right!".
What a lovely thing to have, righteousness.
To never doubt or question, or to have been doubted or questioned.
The last time I felt that way was when I was serving my time in the IDF and when I came back to reserve duty in the same place... my doubts left me less equipped with the ability to deal with the fact that my actions were contributed, contributing, to the death of people (innocent and not).

I know I'm one of the good guys. I don't know how "nice" I can be about it any more.
eumelia: (Default)
I demonstrate with you.
You just don't know it.

I'm on the New Profile mailing list. Many of the emails we receive are articles regarding human rights violations, government response and opinion pieces that support the Palestinian right to self-determination, criticism of Israeli policy both in Israel proper and the Occupied Territories.

Sometimes, they're just way off the mark.

In Dafna Golan's recent Op-Ed titled "Come demonstrate with us", she commiserates and pontificates on the fact that the recent rally for solidarity with the LGBT community following the attack brought thousands of people in support of Queer rights, while the are barely any Israelis in the demonstrations against the un-ethical expulsion of Palestinian families from the Shiekh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem.

She writes:
It's a shame Gal Uchovsky1 is not taking part in the demonstrations in East Jerusalem's Shiekh Jarrah neighbourhood. It's always a pleasure to see him, and if he took part, he would see that, compared to the handful of Israelis who come to protest the expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes so Jews can live there, his rally in honour of the dead and wounded at the Tel Aviv gay and lesbian center was a great success. If the tens of thousands of people who gathered at Rabin Square were to march through the small neighbourhood in the heart of Jerusalem, maybe the expulsion of the Palestinian families would stop, as would the construction in that neighbourhood of a new Jewish settlement, perhaps the most dangerous of all.

Enter the Oppression Olympics.

Basically, she's criticising one minority for not doing enough for another.

Not helpful and not okay.

Instead of laying the blame on the fact that the Queer Cause got more press, why not focus on the rhetoric that enables this.

Queer people go to the demos and are anti-Occupation activists.
They just don't do it through the LGBT orgs. of which Uchovsky and Co. are a part.

The newly formed Coalition of Pink Communities, which houses under it two of the queer Palestinian orgs. and other radical queer groups, does indeed intersect the various oppressions, homophobia, racism, misogyny and capitalism, just to name a few.

Queers are not visible at the demos for the families of Shiek Jarrah or at the Separations walls in Bil'in and Nialin.

Why?

Because the Big Orgs, like the Aguda, the Jerusalem Open House etc. do not deal with Israeli policy concerning the Occupation.
They just don't.

Many queer people oppose those policies, many queers do not care because they are not knowledgeable about anti-Occupation politics or the policies that enable the continuing Occupation.

Dafna Golan is picking on the fact that one Hate Crime brought thousands into the street while her cause remains small potatoes. This should not make her go all sour grapes on the LGBT's for not doing enough when it comes to the Occupation, because really, it just comes off as petty and alienating.

I've written before on the fact that the mainstream Queer movement isn't particularly political.
The mainstream LGBT movement, true to its character, is assimilationist. While many of its visible members will speak out against racism and other things, it is not a truly liberationists movement because we are still part of the Israeli mind set.
We're the only democracy in the Middle East, we're the best place for queers in the Middle East, yadda, yadda, yadda.

The problem is narrative and Dafna Golan is falling for it; She's saying what I've been saying, the inherent connection between the various oppressive structures in Israeli society and by default the effects on Palestinian society.
No problem there. However, when she's trying to argue that this issue is more important than that she's missing the point that no, it's actually our lives and not so much the "issues".
Saying the privileged in Tel-Aviv have it easy is obnoxious and just plain untrue, as she so callously ignores the intersection of queer identity along with Palestinian identity, just as an example.
Not to mention that trying to blame the fact that there aren't enough activists on the idea that there are other issues out there just reflects the fact that privilege still abounds.

That some rights are considered more important than others is not the LGBT Organisations' fault, nor is it their responsibility. The bubble burst a long time ago. What needs to be dealt with is the hot air blowing in every direction.

This Op-Ed came onto my mailing list as a "good" piece. Too bad it perpetuates the notion that LGBT fold are a monolith of opinion and that they're too selfish to think about the rights of others.

In the meantime, I'll continue to be an Israeli-Jewish queer who is pro-Palestinian.

Uncanny how those two notions go together!

Notes:
(1)Gal Uchovsky is a Big Name Gay. Considered one of the "leaders" of GLBT community by the mainstream, for the mainstream. He's a columnist, screen play writer and over-all celeb. Just fyi.
Back to text
eumelia: (Default)
These many thought came about because of my slowly becoming more involved in fandom, developing ideas of my own for writing fan fiction, talking to other fans about these issues and real life events paralleling fandom events too closely in my mind.

About a year ago I wrote a post about why I'm obsessing with Torchwood.

Now I have some new thoughts.

But I think I need to write a little something that will further contextualize what I'm writing.

A Bit About Buffy, because it's important )

Buffy and I parted ways a few years ago. It's still the best show to ever be on television; writing wise, thematically and just plain awesomeness. I have seven academic books about Buffy.

It changed my life, I'll always be grateful2.

All that was a long way of saying, I take my entertainment seriously. Not only that, it takes me seriously as well.

Torchwood changed my life as well, in a vastly different way.

Not too long ago I wrote: I love Torchwood and generally speaking, Torchwood loves me..

It's obvious to me, but I suppose I should disclaim, that I'm well aware that the people on Torchwood , just like every other show, movie and book that I read, are fictional, I will not be able to go to Wales and meet any of them.
And despite a phenomenon like this, they are not real.

Except, that they are.

Introspective Personal Thought On Texts That I Love )

When it comes down to it, the past year was hard and I really cannot imagine how I would have gotten through it were it not for my girlfriend and Torchwood (it helps that she enjoys the show as well). I had to deal with a real world that didn't go exactly like I expected.

Wake up call.

As most of you know, during July I was still pretty shook up over what happened in Torchwood: Children of Earth, you just need to browse back to see how deeply affected I was. I don't know how my GF stood me. I don't know how anyone stood me.
Then in August the real life tragedy of a Hate Crime against queer youth struck and I was shook up again.
Living in the country that I do exposes me to violence on a scale that at times is just too much.

I felt so disgusted with myself that I took the death of Ianto Jones as hard as I did.

It's gratifying knowing that I'm not alone. That I am validated and can validate others in their love of text and how it affects them.
How we affect it.

I think I'm going to be writing fic very soon.

Notes )
eumelia: (Default)
I didn't write about the big rally that was orchestrated last Saturday night (the 8th) because frankly by then, I was pretty much wiped out.
Also, it pissed me off and I was very disappointed by it.

I had vented a hell of a lot, cried some more and as is evident by the frivolous entries of the past week, I just didn't have any more to write.

The repercussions of the shooting are still felt, though it is now old News and due to other strings of murder being reported and investigated with about as much gusto as a Lion pride at midday in the bloody savannah, the fact that no suspect has yet to have been found is not even worth an update.

Not that I'm surprised.

The shooting itself shocked me, but I wasn't terribly surprised. My society is violent and filled with strife. Not to mention that the mainstream media and mind-set refuses to see any correlation between the Occupation, the virulent racism and xenophobia of our social structures and the hatred of anything gender non-conforming (which is a large umbrella under which misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, biphobia etc all fall).

The rally, as mentioned, was a disappointment for me. The only worth while speakers were one of the wounded kids who was just heart breaking and couldn't stop sobbing and a few other people of note from the more grass-roots queer movements.

One of the things that really annoyed me, was the exclusion of former Memeber of Knesset Issam Machool (of Hadash - Al'Jabha), who wanted to speak out against the homophobia in the Palestinian communities and how it's compounded by the harsh racism of current Israeli policies.

This was deemed too "political".
Same with a representative from Aswat - Palestinian Lesbian Group based in Haifa.

It pisses me off.
Royally.

In the blog post Palestinian Gays under the Hijab, Nisreen Mazzawi writes:
While in the world the legend of the democratic country of the middle east keep announce its jingles regard its tolerant city Tel Aviv that provide a shelter of the Palestinian gays running from their society and families, The Palestinian gay community and supporters are excluded on purpose from public events specifically from the solidarity anti homophobic demonstration held yesterday in Rabin Square.
[...]
For the Palestinian gays who live and struggle for their lives under the occupation, Tel Aviv is not an alternative or a safe shelter, the few who succeed to do their way to Tel Aviv end up living and working in the streets, not once they are victims of the Israeli propaganda that use their cases to promote this image.
[...]
While we believe homophobia is equal to racism and hate is equal to hate and murder is equal to murder, the majority of the Israeli gay community choose not to see the link and to ignore other kinds of violence abundant in the Israeli society.

I recommend the whole post, it's very informative and just gives you a broader picture of the intersection of different destructive oppressions in Israel and Palestine.

If you recall, in the weeks before and during Pride month I wrote about the campaign of using LGBT Israeli culture to promote the image Israel as a "pluralistic, democratic and tolerant" nation.

Israel may not be the most horrendous place for queers, but the saturation of violence along with the Occupation colouring every facet of life whether we like it or not. That of course, in turn, colours the entire social conception of what is "acceptable" and "not acceptable", what's "In" and what's "out".

I've never really felt "In", whether it was being generally a little eccentric, outspoken, visibly queer or just not having my politics (whether during my apathy years or later/now) mesh with what is considered worthy opinions, the past two weeks very much struck me as a kind of final straw, which I've possibly mentioned before.
Compounded with crap that [Southern!Girl] and I had to deal with this year on account of our relationship which I won't get into right now... I feel as though this place just isn't it any more.

I don't know what's going to happen. I never did, but this opened my eyes a little wider.
eumelia: (Default)
Yesterday I went to FantasyCon, the one day summer Convention, the theme was Romance and Love in sci-fi and fantasy, seeing as it fell on the week of Tu b'Av, which is basically the Jewish Valentine Day.

I really needed it.

I wore my Torchwood t-shirt (with Jack and Ianto), there was a lecture on sub-textual romance in Doctor Who (pre-Eccleston... 'Ship wars are woe), which was great and I ended up talking a bunch with the lecturer who is writing her PhD (I think) on the Doctor Who.

I love academic geeks... my people.

There was also a really good lecture on Slash and the way it enables us to appropriate characters and content of media that isn't really representative of, well, us.

The atmosphere of the Con, despite the cosplayers and decorations and the baby Dalek on the floor, was quite sombre because of the shooting last Saturday night. There is a huge amount of intersection between the Con-going audience and participants and the LGBT community. One of the reasons I never felt, until I went to Uni, that I needed a queer community was because I had one in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy community.

I finally broke down and cried quite a lot when I spoke to [livejournal.com profile] morin, who I've been friends with since I was in the third grade and who is my BFF. We hung out before we went to the different lectures we had planned and eventually we began to talk about how much it sucked here.
Zie and hir partner have been talking about leaving Israel for a while now, but the past few months since Netanyahu took office and last Saturday being the last straw in a lot of ways, hir saying that really brought it home for me.
I can't think of anything that really good here.
And I started crying.
[livejournal.com profile] morin, having known me for such a long time (and possibly being a telepath) came prepared and gave me a bunch of tissues.
I got a bunch of hugs after by many people... a crying Mel is a very miserable looking Mel.
[livejournal.com profile] avgboojie even gave me a tentacle filled hug, simply because I hijacked her Cthulhu plushy.

[Southern!Girl] is staying over and I spoke to her about how I felt. Really, this is a very visceral feeling, wanting to say "fuck it", get my degree and fucking leave.
I don't know of any place which is that much better, that I can imagine building a new home in.
I've thought about living elsewhere for a while, being a part of a different place at some point, but I always thought that I'd come back here and live here and just be here.

I'm not wanted here.

Israel is basically a unique blend of the USA and Iran and I feel very little hope for that mix.

I don't know how much more I can tolerate not being tolerated. In this place that I can only see as a negation of everything my parents hoped it would be when they chose to leave South Africa.
eumelia: (Default)
As if a gun-fire wasn't enough the prove it, Ha'aretz News Paper put together a survey (which will be published in full on Friday and I will report about it) that shows that 46% of Israelis think gays are deviant.

I'm wondering a bit about the language and hoping the full survey shows other statistics regarding Lesbians and Bisexuals... I'm really not holding my breath for any Trans inclusion, though one never knows. I'm keeping my eyes open.

The survey uses a representative sample of 498 interviewees, you can read the break down in the actual article.

Dr. Kamil Fuchs, the statistician running this survey states:
Fuchs added that the timing of the survey- the week in which a murderous attack was carried out at a gay community center in Tel Aviv - should be taken into consideration. "It's possible that what we have here is a reaction to trauma and also that hate-filled people think this is not the moment to admit it," he said.

The survey shows that secular people are very liberal in their attitude toward homosexuals as compared to other Western states. "In other countries there are also very conservative secular people. In Israel, in contrast, those who define themselves as secular have very liberal positions," Fuchs said.
Emphasis mine.
That interesting phenomena is discussed in the Israleft blog post ...and who is Left, if you're interested.

This whole incident should act as a wake up call for the rest of the nation.
It won't though.
To see the connection between homophobia, racism, xenophobia and the relationship between Capital and Capitol can be daunting. That religion, when so intertwined with government, creates a discourse of hate and exclusion.
That there is an inherent tie between thinking gays are deviant, deporting the children of foreign workers and building a wall around a disenfranchised population isn't something we privileged people want to think about too closely.

This is a democracy!

Only for some and even for those, it is limited and gravely inadequate.

I think it's easy to see how entrenched we are in only seeing the Other and not seeing what we have in common with the Other when Yaniv Weizman (head of Tel-Aviv's gay youth organisation) is quoted as saying this:
"It comes as no surprise to me that almost half the public thinks I'm mentally ill and should be imprisoned, treated or killed. However, I feel we've made some progress. If 26 percent of the religious and 27 percent of the Arabs say we're not perverts, you can say we've achieved something."
Emphasis mine

That's a really idiotic thing to say, in my opinion. Because honestly now, we're not all a big monolith. If we were I'd be a successful, white, gay, cis man who lives in Tel-Aviv.
That's the "face" of the LGBT community and at times I find myself wanting to throw a shoe at the one who is speaking about mass Outing, which I think is a stupid tactic. Or about "saving" LGBT Arabs who live in the West Bank or Gaza.
*sigh*
No one is perfect and I'm blinded as well by my own privilege.

But seriously, systematic oppression isn't one oppression at a time.
eumelia: (Default)
Today I came out to my hair dresser, who has been cutting my hair for seven years.

It had never come up, because I had never spoken to her about anyone I had been dating, I'd vent about my mom, we'd talk about my hair... sexuality was not the top of the agenda.

Her exclamation of surprise: "You're gay?!" irked me a bit, but that passed and now I can process why that is.

Obviously the whole discussion came up because I went to get a hair cut in order to somehow make a change in myself and somehow deal with the tragedy of my community.

I mentioned that that was one of the reasons I needed a hair cut.

"You were there?" she asked anxiously.
"No," I replied "but it was an attack on my community"
"You're gay?!" she exclaimed.
Feeling far too worn out to start the whole gay vs. bi thing I simply said "Yeah".
"Well hello!"

The next half an hour was filled with me talking, venting and pretty much being pissed off, but nicely.

What irked me, is the constant assumption of heterosexuality. I'm not blaming my hair dresser or anything, this is the way society is constructed. The assumption is that most people are straight, so how are we supposed to know who is not until they say so.

And along with the assumption of heterosexuality, come the stigma of queer.
I've now veered away from my hair dresser (my hair looks great, just my the way).
Through out the past few days, I've been reading articles upon articles telling me that the police have no clue as to where the gunman is.
People raising hypothesis that this was a vendetta by a spurned lover, that it was a self-hating queer person who was rejected from the youth group (what?!) and of course that the LGBT community are falsely accusing the Orthodox community and spreading the hate.

I have had it up to *here*, I swear.
My dad asked me about that "lead" the police had regarding the spurned lover and at the vigil I attended yesterday someone glibly said that if it the killer wasn't hate motivated then it would feel really empty.
I opened my mouth on both that person and my dad:

#1 How can one even try and justify murder in that way, because that's what it is. Trying to find an "excuse" as to why a killer decided to kill.

#2 It's derailment of the issue. This is a hate crime. Homophobia is a prejudice that goes on without censure. It is transparent, it is jokes and violence committed because of it goes under reported more often than not.

#3 The degradation and defamation of LGBT people is ongoing. The reason we had no "build up" for this tragedy is because we are under constant attack. All the time. Every day. Every where. And no, I'm not exaggerating.

And finally #4 Whoever this person was, he didn't just go after one person, or a specific individual. The man carried an Uzi. That mass destruction and multiple shots in rapid succession.

Coming out to my hair dresser (see what I did there) was my choice. Those kids lying in the hospital were Outed in a way that will leave them scarred forever, beyond the physical and emotional trauma of being the victims of a shooting attack because some of the families have rejected them.

We've been told to not be afraid.

I can't help but seethe in the dark and I am afraid.

That ended up being much more dramatic than I intended..
eumelia: (Default)
You may find it tedious, or boring, or even just plain irritating that I'm blogging about the same thing over and over again and basically repeating myself.

Obviously this is something that needs processing and information needs to be disseminated.

As I said in my previous post, I did not know the deceased, but I know people who did, because that's how small our world is.

Those kids, one of whom is in critical condition, all of whom are still in hospital as far as I'm aware, will never be the same again.
Nor will any of us, I'm afraid.
Some of those kids do not have a home to go to because they were outed and their parents and family do not want their children to be "that way".
Can they be cured?
As though the way your body, mind and heart reacts to people is some kind of horrible disfigurement of the soul.
If we even have one.

The reason I keep writing about this (and will probably write more about tomorrow) is because I am in the belief that silence is violence.
That the police do not have the beginning of a clue as to the whereabouts of the murderer and that unless he wants to be found, he will not be found.
Call me cynical, but it's been a while since I've trusted the police with anything that actually amounts to securing me and the people I know.

As for "incitement against the religious", I'll let you read the writing on the wall again.

Thoughts? Questions? Opinions?
eumelia: (bollocks)
I still can't stop thinking about Saturday night.

I didn't know the people who were murdered, nor any of the wounded.

It was a youth group meeting, just a bunch of teenagers playing cards while one of the few adults they could trust was there to just... be there for them.

A friend I spoke to today feared this will just be the first of many incidences and I find that so heart breaking and it pisses me off, because I honestly thought that while things were crappy, it wasn't all full of shit.

I wasn't too keen on the anti-religious rhetoric that came out, mainly because I fear it will backfire and I honestly don't believe that all religious people are evil.

Reading this article though, makes me hope that something might actually be done to curb the power of religion in this country.
Long quote, includes links )
I suggest you read the whole thing, that isn't even the worst.

But the more I read up on the language several Rabbis used, that religious Members of Knesset used over the years to denigrate and demean LBGT people:
Comparing us to bird flu.
That we're sick.
That we aren't legible to adopt and actually went so far as to push for legislation.
Saying that our "lifestyle" causes natural disasters - the famous earthquake comment.
That we undermine the entire Jewish religion.
That we are AIDS ridden.
That we are we are worse than beasts unfit for consumption.
That we have no souls.
That we corrupt children.
That we are the agents of autogenocide in Israeli society.

Bigotry, upon lies, based upon the twisted mindedness of religious people who have too much power and too much air-time.

Now it's our turn and fuck if we're going to be quiet.
eumelia: (Default)
Footage from last night's impromptu demo in Tel-Aviv following the attack (includes English subtitles):



Now back to work.
eumelia: (Default)
I think I may be able to write coherently about what happened.

First of all, thanks you everyone who commented on my previous post, sent me an sms, an email, a phone call, all that.

I was safe and snug at home away from Tel-Aviv.

I didn't go to the impromptu Pride March that took place in the vicinity, nor will I be able to go to any vigil today (possibly tomorrow). I am going to go to the big demo that's going to happen in Rabin Square on Tuesday.

The number of injured rose to 15, at least 7 of them went into surgery during the night. Almost all the injured are minors (i.e. under the age of 18).
The death toll remains two, though over the night there were reports that a third had died but that turned out to be a mistake.
The murder victims are a 16 year old woman/girl and a 26 year old boy/man.

The girl (and all the other minors) went to this little underground floor which for nearly 20 years has acted as the headquarters of the LGBT Rights Association, colloquially known as The Aguda. The place has acted as a place of gathering for various queer groups, including this youth support group. There was no security guard, because this place for more than a decade, has been considered a "safe space" smack in the middle of Midtown Tel Aviv.
Talk about Queer central.

That dead man/boy acted as a councillor to these kids, many of them (if not most) closeted. This was where they came to be themselves, to vent, to get support, to be with others who are like them.
Like us.

During the months leading up to Pride (Fuck, just a month ago!) and during June Pride month, I wrote a bit about various homophobic incidences that happened over the country and one of them was a "random" would-be gay bashing in Tel Aviv, simply because two guys were kissing in the street.

There can really be no doubt that this was anything other than a homophobia motivated attack. Anyone trying to think of alternative scenarios is fooling themselves, or trying to. That little corner in the middle of the alley streets of central Tel Aviv was a known venue. Even if the little piece of shit didn't know it was going to be Teens and Young Adults there last night, the shooter knew damn well that there were going to be queer people there.

The recent entry written at the Israel Left blogging website begins like this:
Something happened in Tel-Aviv tonight, a milestone in the delicate relationship between minority and majority, left and right, and whatever other classifications you may wish to use here.

Honestly, I do not think so.
This is perhaps that most violent incident in scale, and it is overwhelming when an incident like this happens in the supposed cosmopolitan metropolis of "the only Democracy in the Middle East", however, we do not know how many queers do not report incidences of violence against them all year 'round. The statistics of this are very, very iffy. Queer people exist in every single intersecting demography. A large portion of them are closeted.
Just like these kids.

I think it is incredibly naive to believe that this is a milestone in anything. This is a flare of a disease, an acute symptom of a social disfigurement. The violence in which it was committed is alarming and may indicate that the pressure in the melting pot is reaching critical, but homophobia has been and is alive and kicking and only the incredibly clueless would thing otherwise, yes, even in liberal Tel Aviv.

Just last week [Southern!Girl] and I went to a Butch/Femme event, she was the Butch and I was the Femme and it was such a clear dyke event, that just walking in the street we both felt exposed but at the event itself in the Rogatka bar it felt so incredibly safe and good and fucking fun.
I did mention that if we were a little bit more on the South end of Tel Aviv I don't know how safe I would have felt walking down the street in my fancy dress and her in a fancy suit.

That centre is just a few kilometres South-West of where were.

I'm feeling kind of queasy.

The police's response to this was to close down the other LGBT clubs and meeting spaces because the gunman is still at large.
Seriously?
That's your immediate answer? To try and police our movements even more, especially when Queers are fucking everywhere in Tel Aviv and the majority are really not going to be "hanging out" at the community gathering centres unless there is an event.
And that's the point.
We go to the same cafe's as straight people, the same movie theatres, the same bloody streets okay!
This attack was deliberate and for our safety you're telling us you're closing down our other (what we believed) were safe spaces.

Last night I was in shock. Today I'm fucking pissed.
You can follow my Twitter which I used last night to disseminate information.
eumelia: (Default)
The Tel-Aviv Headquarters of the LGBT Association was attacked about an hour ago by a man in black who came in began shooting.

2 dead.

12 wounded.

I'm shocked.

I cannot even... comprehend...

This place acts as a club and tonight there was a gathering of young people.

The shooter fled and is still at large.

I'm feeling sick.

I don't how there can be any doubt of this homophobia motivated killing spree.

Fuck me.

I'm at home and I can't... fuck.

Edited to add an initial report: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3755400,00.html

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Eumelia

June 2015

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V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.

*KABOOM!*

-"V for Vendetta"

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