Watch: Drag Queens conquer the Holy City

The event included participants from various cultural and political backgrounds, including an Israeli soldier.

By REUTERS
February 17, 2015 20:28
2 minute read.

Drag queens conquer Jerusalem

Drag queens conquer Jerusalem

Jerusalem's gay community on Monday celebrated a first of its kind Drag Queen race on high heels, in which 40 participants attempted to reach the finish line without falling.

The race was organized by Jerusalem's LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) student organization and partly funded by the municipality.

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The event included participants from various cultural and political backgrounds said the organizers, including an Israeli soldier.

"This is what's so exciting about this, that the municipality supports this concept for the first time, it really gives the feeling of a home and finally we've moved centuries and we're going towards a better future," said "Lady Chocolate", a drag queen who lives in Tel Aviv.

"Lady Chocolate", a drag queen by night, serves as a soldier in the Israeli army by day, the organizers told Reuters.

An Arab-Israeli Drag Queen, named "Karma Sutra", and a former ultra-Orthodox Jew, named "Mishel LawBel", both well-known drag queens in Israel, were supposed to attend the event, but did not show up due to technical reasons, the organizers added.

In addition to the race, the participating drag queens performed musical numbers in front of a crowd of more than 250 spectators.

"(I am) very excited, very happy. I'm a native. I was born in Jerusalem. I still live in Jerusalem and it's so fun to see this happening in this city. It's about time," said drag queen "Bella to die for", who has a day job at Jerusalem's market "Mahane Yehuda".

Leshem Brosh, one of the organizers, said the event exposed an unfamiliar side of Jerusalem, usually known for its ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

"I think it's very important that the event is happening, specially here. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Our congress, the Knesset, is here. It's important for the people of this city that they will realize that there is a massive mature gay community as well. It is not an ultra-Orthodox city. We have gay people in the city as well," said Leshem Brosh, one of the organizers, who works for the LGBT student organization in Jerusalem.

The organizers faced difficulties in producing the event, Brosh said, as religious parties in the municipality objected the event and tried to prevent it from taking place.

"I'm really surprised, that it's the first time happening in Jerusalem. Because Jerusalem is very open for all the communities, for all colors, for all kinds. In Israel we love all the people. We love people because they are people," said Asaf, a visitor from the Tel Aviv.

Past pride parades in the holy city, sacred for the three monotheistic religions, have seen anti-gay protests and violence. In 2005, an ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed and wounded three participants.

But in recent years the march passed off in a sea of balloons, banners and rainbow flags without any opposition or incident, despite the city's conservative reputation.


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