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Gay Youth Group in Israel Reaching Out to Arab LGBTs

Gay Youth Group in Israel Reaching Out to Arab LGBTs


In Jaffa, an LGBT organization seeks to begin a dialogue, according to a story from Haaretz.

Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, has a story of bridge-building between the stark cultural divide separating gay Arab youth and young Jewish LGBTs.

When the Israel Gay Youth organization first decided to do outreach to LGBT youth in the city of Jaffa, the group thought it would start a discussion group; but the gay Arab youths chosen to be counselors for the effort said first more basic groundwork had to be done. So it has launched Israel's first Arabic-language online resource for LGBTs.

"From our meetings we learned that in Arab society, there isn't a lot of discourse on the gay issue," says the group's CEO Ran Leabel. "So at this stage we're not opening a group, but have translated our site, so that at least the information will be accessible to Arabic-speaking youth. We're also setting up forums in which Arab-speaking guides will provide answers."

Yet even IGY's own Arab counselors say they fear being known as members of the LGBT community publicly. So they prefer not to use last names in the media or on IGY's website.

Calling it Tel-Aviv's older sister, the Israel Ministry of Tourism's site, says Jaffa is a place for beginnings, including Bible stories, such as "...Jonah's journey, Tabitha's restoration to life, and Peter's conversion of Gentiles." But Leabel, Anton and the rest of the Arab-outreach team at Gay Youth Group are working to also make Jaffa "birthplace of equality and acceptance of LGBT Arabs" to that list of firsts.

Read the story at Haaretz.

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