The Homo Land

“This is not the homo-land, this is the Holy Land.” – New York-based Rabbi Yehuda Levin, head of a pan-faith coalition working to prevent World Pride from taking place in Jerusalem next month.

Last fall, I happened to be seated next to the representatives from Jerusalem Pride at the plenary session of InterPride’s annual convention. I sat there taking notes while the reps from various Pride committees from around the world introduced themselves at the microphone, a long and rather tedious ritual.

But when the young woman from Jerusalem Pride spoke of their determination to proceed despite threats of violence, despite that the Jerusalem police had warned them not to expect protection, there was an odd reaction. There was a nice round of applause, sure. But there were also some wet eyes, as a couple of hundred jaded gay activists were suddenly reminded that their own dilemmas about beer sponsors and disco entertainers and radio headsets were a extravagant luxury, almost laughable problems to have in a world where merely walking down a street will get you stoned by religious extremists.

Later this week, the Jerusalem police will issue their decision as to whether World Pride can take place, based on their assessment of the potential for violence and their ability (or desire, I fear) to keep the marchers safe. Regardless of their decision, I imagine that there will be a march of some sort and that there will be an ugly confrontation. I’m thinking about that brave young girl that I met. And I’m worried.