Last week, a number of LGBT-rights laws failed to pass in the Israeli Parliament. Among them, there was a bill that would have equated the rights of gay and straight families of soldiers who have died in battle. Omer Nahmany, an Israeli military officer (Currently in the reserves force), turned to Facebook, and wrote a brave and emotional post in protest.
My name is Omer Nahmany, 25-year-old, a Second Lieutenant in the artillery corps – and a homosexual.
I grew up in a house that taught me to love Israel, my country. My father, a military officer and a reserves volunteer to this day, has taught me all my life that serving in the army is not something you compromise on.
When I was drafted, I fought hard to become a fighting soldier, despite health issues – and was enlisted to the artillery corps.
During my service it was obvious to me that I would go to Officer’s school, and eventually I became a [Military] officer, as I’ve always dreamt.
Many times during my service, I was asked – ‘Why would you want to be gay and a combat officer? Wouldn’t you rather serve someplace more comfortable, and not in the middle of the desert or on the battle lines? Isn’t it a contradiction – being gay and being a combat officer?’
And my answer had always been – There is no contradiction. The beauty of the military is that we’re all equal. We wear the same uniform, we eat the same food, we’re in the battlefield together, during training and – if needed – during wartime. There are no divisions between a straight soldier and a gay soldier.
My soldiers can count on me to never abandon them in the field, and I can count on them.
But this week – I was abandoned in the field. Not by my soldiers or by my commanding officers, but by the Israeli government.
The same government that asks me to go to battle and maybe lose my life, had refused to pass a law that would equate the status of a gay bereaved family to that of a straight family.
They’re saying that if I die in battle, my partner and my child would NOT be officially recognized as a bereaved family [With the benefits and rights that come with it]. That my blood is inferior to the blood of my brothers in arms.
I’m supposed to go into battle knowing that I’m a second class citizen, only because I’m gay. That I’m good enough to die for this country, but not good enough to be an equal-rights citizen.
This situation, where the state of Israel asks me to risk my life in battle but refuses to take a political risk for me on the benches of Parliament is insufferable and contradicts every value I was thought during my military service.
Today I’m asking the country to fight for me, just as hard as I know I will fight for my country when I’m called.