Ofer Erez is the first openly transgender to head an Israeli organization..
(photo credit: PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS)
The LGBT advocacy NGO Jerusalem Open House named Ofer Erez as its new head on Wednesday. Erez, 24, is currently a captain in the IDF and will be the first openly transgender paid CEO of an organization in Israel.
Erez is also the first “out of the closet” transgender to serve as an IDF officer, and in recent years he was sent by the Foreign and Defense ministries to advocate for Israel abroad.
During his military service, Erez also voluntarily served as a consultant for the IDF Gender Affairs adviser to the chief of staff.
In this position, he took part in drafting a new code of transgender service in the army.
Following his appointment, Erez expressed gratitude to lead the NGO’s Jerusalem branch, which he sees as a uniquely challenging place.
“The Open House has a historic role in shaping the fate of the Israeli society in general and the Jerusalem society specifically,” he said.
“I am proud and excited to take part in leading the struggle for a respecting, equal and tolerant society in Jerusalem and in the entire country. The challenges in the area of Jerusalem are wide and diverse, and I expect the following years to be meaningful.
We will expand the work and the services that the Open House provides; we will strengthen our community and reach new societies,” he said.
The Open House chairman Erin Globus said: “We are proud of the selection of Ofer. Besides his big talent, his unique course of life proves that he is the right person to do the job and that he will attack the many challenges that our community faces – including violence and discrimination.
“We are sure that the Open House staff, led by Ofer, will take the NGO and the community forward,” he said.