Earlier this week the Knesset — the legislative branch of Israel’s government — passed a bill that loosened surrogacy regulations. Unfortunately for the LGBT community, it did not include a clause that allows gay couples to use a surrogate if they want to have a child.
On July 18 — and as reported by Haaretz — hundreds of demonstrators in Tel Aviv blocked roads, shouting slogans like “Netanyahu is a homophobe” and “Homophobia is terrorism.” The Prime Minister’s vote against the amendment to include a gay surrogacy clause is particularly controversial since he supported it publicly earlier this week.
Israel’s Eurovision community, which includes a large number of gay men and women and plenty of straight allies, has been particularly outspoken. This includes the country’s two most recent Eurovision winners Netta Barzilai and Dana International, and Netta’s composer Doron Medalie.
Netta has long been a supporter of the LGBT community. Just moments after winning Eurovision 2018, she was asked to speak about her large gay following at the winner’s press conference. She said: “I cherish them — most of my team, well, some, a great some, hold me up. I am nothing without them — without the vibe, without the happiness. I will be performing for them for the rest of my life.”
Netta backed that up earlier this summer by delivering a show-stopping performance at Tel Aviv Pride. And now, in between interviews in New York, she’s let her voice be heard once more.
She shared an image of two male silhouettes holding hands with a child and all of them filled with the colours of the gay pride rainbow. The “Toy” singer used the hashtag “waking up for our lives” along with words “We are all equal.”
The message is clear: Netanyahu, gay men and women are not your “Toy” and they will not let you play around with legislation impacting their lives.
The protests over Netanyahu’s surrogacy flip-flop will continue over the weekend, with a large protest scheduled for Sunday evening.
Netta’s songwriter Doron Medalie shared a simple and direct video calling on people to turn up and express their anger and dismay. Sitting before a simple rainbow stripe, he said:
“We have been waiting long enough. It’s time for equal rights for the LGBT community. Come to the protest on Saturday at 20:00 in front of The Government Building in Tel Aviv, to make this state more equal for us.”
That protest has finished. But a new protest will take place on Sunday at 18:30 in support of a transgender men and women after a trans person was attacked last week.
Dana, perhaps Israel’s most famous Eurovision export, reminded us that she’s still a queen 20 years after her win.
The “Diva” hitmaker shared this Facebook video along with the caption: “Now it’s our turn to say no.” The lyrics that she sings take a clear stance.
“Have 8, have 9, have 10 children…Unless you are 2 men — and the state doesn’t let you do it. From today, we all join the struggle for equality.”
She added that she is “determined” in the Facebook post.
Are you in Israel and will you attend the next protest? Are you waiting for other Eurovision stars to speak up? Let us know down below!
PS Special thanks to Maor and Ron for your assistance!
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