Monday, August 7 at WorldPrideThe second day of WorldPride focused on issues concerning LGBT Youth, as dozens of LGBT teens attended a special meeting of the Knesset (The Israeli parliament) Committee for Children’s Rights. The meeting, initiated by the Jerusalem Open House and the Hoshen center for education and information, was chaired by MK Shelly Yachimovich (Labor), the committee’s chairwoman. Other prominent political figures were in attendance, including MK Ran Cohen (Meretz), MK Dov Khenin (Hadash), Dr. Yitzhak Kadman (Executive Director of the National Council for the Child), Ms.Yael Dayan (deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv and former MK), and officials from the Israeli Ministry of Education.
MK Dov Khenin of the Hadash Party stated that, “… we can’t afford to wait until there’s a regional peace before proceeding to handle human rights issues, nor can we wait for all human rights problems to be fixed before reaching out for a peace process”. MK Khenin stressed that regardless of other political developments in the region, all efforts should be made to ensure LGBT youth’ rights.
The youth representatives talked about the lack of awareness and support in their schools, and reported that due to this situation many LGBT teens can’t come out of the closet. They also spoke of the misery of teens banished by their estranged families, some eventually having no choice but to turn to prostitution.
After the meeting at the Knesset, the teens met at congregation Kol Hanshama, for a series of activities and discussions.
In the evening, the WorldPride Human Rights reception was held at the Jerusalem City Hall. Among the speakers at the event were Julie Dorf and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum (WorldPride co-chairs), Louis-Georges Tin (Founder and president of IDAHO – the International Day Against Homophobia), Ms. Fatima Amarshi (Executive Director of Pride Toronto), Russell Murphy (co-president of InterPride, the International Association of LGBT Pride Coordinators), and Hagai El-Ad (Executive Director of the Jerusalem Open House).