Israel will be the featured nation in the 20th Annual Equality Forum, a worldwide summit for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) issues, held in Philadelphia on May 3-6, 2012.
On Tuesday, May 1 through Sunday, May 6, the 13th Annual Gay and Lesbian Art Exhibit will feature the works of Israeli photographer David Adika in the lobby of the Gershman Y, Broad and Pine streets; Adika will also give a lecture at the University of the Arts and meet with the artistic community of Philadelphia.
More after the jump.
On Wednesday May 2, a VIP kickoff event will take place at the Gershman Y, with Daniel Kutner, Consul-General of Israel for Philadelphia.
On Thursday May 3, there will be a Featured Nation panel discussion on Israel. On Friday May 4 there will be a drag show at Tabu nightclub, 200 South 12th Street, with a performance by Tel Aviv drag performer and signer Osher Sabag.
Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director of the Equality Forum, says, “Every year, we have an international focus,” which means it examines “the conditions and challenges of that particular (nation) in terms of the LGBT community of that particular nation. It also gives us an opportunity to measure the United States against what has been achieved or what hasn’t been achieved in that nation or region.”
About the religious extremism in Israel, with rabbis condemning “sodomy”, Lazin says, “Everybody’s entitled to their viewpoint. Israel is, I would call it, a ‘semi-secular’ country. Certainly the religious community has much more of an influence than it would in most first-world nations. But it is a democracy, and the LGBT community (in Israel) is treated with dignity and respect.”