by April Hawkins, Senior Communications Associate | Israel and Palestine pose two very different situations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. Israel’s culture can be extremely conservative, but the law stands firmly on the side of equality: same-sex couples are allowed to adopt, enter into civil marriages, and benefit from the same inheritance rights as heterosexual couples. Transgender and gender non-conforming people serve in the army.
Palestine, on the other hand, is a complex patchwork of legality. In some parts of the Palestinian territories, being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is illegal. Palestinian laws are often changing based on the current political situation and the local climate is often informed by shari’a law, a strict legal system based on Qur’anic teachings. Many LGBT people have fled Palestine to find a more accepting environment in Tel Aviv, the gay mecca of the region.
In mid-February, Executive Founding Director Selisse Berry visited with leaders of both Israeli and Palestinian LGBT organizations, including Israel Gay Youth, Hoshen, and the Aswat Group, while participating in a leadership development excursion with a number of women leaders from the USA. Read more about her experience in our monthly newsletter OutLines here.