Omer Nahmany, an openly gay Israeli military officer (Currently in the reserves force), made headlines a few months ago, for spearheading a protest against Israeli laws which prevented gay partners of fallen soldiers from getting the same rights and benefits as their heterosexual counterparts (The Israeli Defense minister later promised to rectify the situation).
Now, Omer is calling for another protest, asking his fellow soldiers to march along with him, in uniform, in the upcoming Pride parade in Jerusalem, scheduled to happen on July 21st.
Apparently, many Israeli soldiers were told they are NOT allowed to take part in Pride, in uniform – or even in civilian clothes. The Israeli Defense Forces’ official stance on the matter, is that Pride is a “political” event, and therefore soldiers should not be a part of it.
Recently, we’ve decided to march together in Pride in Jerusalem, as one group, to show the Israeli society that there are officers, soldiers, cops, and firemen, who are a part of the LGBTQ community.
Marching together in groups such as these, is a very common thing in Pride parades around the world. Just a few weeks ago, a police officer proposed to his boyfriend during Pride in London.
I posted my call on Facebook, and within several hours, received numerous responses. Among those, were many messages about military officers who refused to let their soldiers march. In trying to understand the situation, I contacted the IDF, and was told Pride is a political march”, and therefore soldiers should not take part in it.
Claiming that Pride is political is unfounded and shows the IDF’s hypocrisy. A person does not choose to become part of the LBGTQ community, but is born that way… The IDF often prides itself in being liberal and progressive, creating a safe environment for LGBTQ soldiers… So how can the IDF, that does so much for its LGBTQ soldiers, deny them the right to march in Pride?
I invite all those who serve in the various defense forces, to join me and other officers… and to march together in full uniform, for the first time ever in Israel, next week in Jerusalem. Let’s show the state of Israel that the IDF is everybody’s army.