Sometimes I wish I was gay. Nobody throws me any parades. Not in Tel Aviv and certainly not in Jerusalem. Nor do I get to enjoy the added wardrobe. I’m kind of a big guy. A “bear” by gay standards. I probably would prefer twinks, if I were forced to choose. At gun point of course. In which case the clothes wouldn’t fit anyway. As it stands my wardrobe is constantly being raided. M. loves wearing my t-shirts. She now borrows my boxer shorts and wears them around the house. I find it oddly arousing.
I’ve been working on the translation of a hit TV show with one of Israel’s leading producers. When I told him that I was fundraising for my own independent film project his first question was whether or not I was making a gay film. He went on to explain that the gay community was very supportive of projects with GLBT themes. I thought about it for a second and it made sense. When I was in film school my go-to editor, a lesbian, was always showcasing her films in festivals, regardless of their quality. This was true for almost every gay and lesbian filmmaker I had the pleasure of working with. They were always off to some film festival or screening. No group was lining up to support a mildly obese straight white Jewish male who made absurd, often nonsensical films.
We are friendly with a gay couple from D.’s nursery. They have a set of twins from a surrogate in the US. Since Israel doesn’t recognize them as a married couple they enjoy all the benefits a single mother would. This means a deep discount on the monthly rate as well as other tax breaks. What do M. and I have to show for our marriage certificate? Jack shit. Matter of fact we’re one of the few parents in the nursery who are not gay. It’s kind of reverse discrimination. We’re always left out when they have play dates.
My sister in law is German. Black Forest German. Even though she is in her late 30’s (ahem…) and has two kids she loves to get down and party. I mean dancing all night, getting wasted and living to tell about it the next day. When she came to Israel with the family this past January she begged me to find a club for her to party at. When I asked her what kind of club, she replied “A gay one of course.” It made sense. The gay clubs here are probably the most fun. I haven’t been to a club or a disco or whatever the fuck they call those places since I was a teenager. But I remember them being full of Arsim and Frechot, Guidos and Guidettes, in the parlance of The Jersey Shore. The music sucked and everyone looked like they had shopped at the same fucking chain store. I was at a gay club on a video shoot on New Year’s Eve 2008 and it was the most fun I had had in years. A tranny greeted me at the door with a joint and a shot and before I knew it I was knee deep in foam and bubbles. Fabulous!
Last May my cousin came to visit from the States. Since she’s lesbian and she happened to show up during Gay Pride Week I took her to Hilton beach. It was an orgy of colors and music, a scene so amazing and utterly surreal that I felt like I was on some mushroom trip. What kind of beaches do we straight folk have? The kind where fat hairy men in speedos eat watermelon and make you want to gouge your eyes out. Or thin men in speedos at Frishman beach playing Matkot so loudly that make you want to gouge your ears out. Or fat women yelling at their children. Or thin women with strange tattoos of Chinese characters which probably mean “Turtle” or “Skank” smoke hookahs and yell at their boyfriends. Or religious people on Metzizim that close the beach off entirely and then separate the men from the women. Listen assholes, I like my beaches such that you can’t tell who’s male and who’s female, just the way God intended.
My taste in music is gay. It really is. I wish I didn’t have to try to go to such lengths to hide the fact that I’m rocking out to Elton John or Lady Gaga. Or worse. Yes, worse. The Pet Shop Boys or George Michael. If anyone asks what I’m listening to I say “The Killers” or “The Roots” or Miles Davis. Depending on who’s asking. Musically speaking some of Israel’s greatest ambassadors are gay. Dana International, a transgender singer won the Eurovision conpetition in 1998 and has been a huge asset to Israel in the world. I had the pleasure of doing a video for another gay Israeli singer, a former Israeli Idol star and Eurovision representative. He was humble and articulate and, for one of the few times in my life, made me proud to be an Israeli. Let me tell you, if we had these people doing our hasbara, our public relations, we wouldn’t be so isolated internationally.
A while back I wrote a blog about the unjust law that required parents to pay an additional fare for a stroller on Israeli buses. The only MK to stand up and do something about it was openly gay Meretz representative Nitzan Horowitz. He passed a law in the Knesset and now strollers are free (well, not during rush hour but that’s reasonable) He was also one of the few that stood up to former Shas Interior Minister Eli Yishai when that dickhead wanted to forcefully deport the foreign workers and their children. Mr. Horowitz is now running for Mayor of Tel Aviv and I wish I could move back there just so I could vote for him. Matter of fact I wish all the MK’s were gay (or at least out of the closet) and maybe then our country would look a lot different.
A while back I was having an argument with a religious co-worker. He asked me what I considered worse; If D. were to one day tell me that he found God and was becoming ultra-orthodox or that he found cock and was coming out of the closet. I didn’t even have to think about that one. If he were ultra orthodox I would inevitably, being the goy that I am, lose him. The opposite would be true if he were gay. I would respect him and his courage to come out even more, knowing how much of a coward I am in almost every aspect of life.
I’m pretty sure all of us are a little gay. Yeah, you too Putin. Who hasn’t fantasized about Ryan Gosling? Or Oz Zehavi? Well, maybe not, but you get my drift. Some of us are just more honest about it than others. And if you are gay, God bless you and let me tell you this; There’s probably no better place in the world to go about being gay than in Tel Aviv, Israel.