Parading pridefully into the mainstream: gay & lesbian immersion in the civil core
The present paper is written twenty years after homosexuality was removed from the Israeli legal code. In just two decades homosexual men1 who mostly lived in the shadowy, obscure, and to be sure, silent margins of Israeli society have emerged into the public stage and are now nearly fully fledged citizens. In spite of not being persecuted, their very existence was fragile and hence no sense of community or minority was consolidated. Consequently, demands for full participation in civil society and civil rights were quite unfeasible, and even unheard of. An abject aggregate of “second-class” citizens2 who had only their sexual orientation as a common denominator developed into a rather strong, vociferous community who enjoys not only nearly full civic rights but also a distinct visibility in all walks of life. Lesbigays – for the sake of parsimony, this acronym will be used henceforward – conceivably constitute today the strongest minority in Israel. Most of their demands for equality have been met and resolved. Anti-discrimination laws protect their place at the workplace, same-sex couples and families are recognized to a relatively satisfactory extent, anti-defamation laws safeguard their reputation and status, and their presence in the public sphere and various institutions is quite ubiquitous.