Today is Thursday August 2, the day of the Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem.
Thousands will enthusiastically attend, and at the same time Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern raised objections, reminding us that there are still many sides to this debate. And of course, we cannot forget the fatal stabbing of Shira Banki at the march in 2015.
When it comes to LGBT rights, we naturally think about our own countries, which is already challenging enough, but what’s happening abroad is shocking, and usually not covered by mainstream media.
In Chechnya, for example, the government launched a brutal campaign: with law enforcement torturing, humiliating, performing exorcisms and sometimes just making men disappear on even the suspicion of being gay.
In 2009 India made progress: overturning its ban on homosexual intercourse, but they reinstated the ban in 2013 and we continue to see harassment, blackmail, and even sexual assault.
But law is only one part of the picture.
For example, under Palestinian law, being gay is not technically illegal but arrest and torture are common anyway, a harsh reality that the media usually neglect.
This is a testimony from the Tel Aviv University Study: Nowhere to Run, Gay Palestinian Asylum Seekers in Israel by Michael Kagan and Anat Ben-Dor:
“The officers undressed me, tied my hands, and pulled me up to the ceiling. All the pressure was on my hands. As I remained hanging, three officers beat me over my entire body while they cursed me and demanded that I ‘confess’”
There are more testimonies, some so horrific that we can’t include them here but we’ve included a link to the original report
Something we almost never hear in mainstream media is that some Palestinian victims actually flee to Tel Aviv: one of the most LGBT friendly cities in the world.
What do you think is the best approach to protecting human rights?
Tell us in the comments, and let us know what topic you think we should cover next.Daniel Pomerantz is an attorney and the Senior Editor for HonestReporting.com, a media monitoring NGO based in Jerusalem, Israel. Twitter: @danielspeaksup
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