In Israel, a major part of the population does not learn math or English, geography or science, biology or history, democracy or that being gay is not a choice. The present Minister of Education is from that segment. He has implied repeatedly, also when in function, that being gay is a choice — and an evil one at that. Or they see it as a mental impairment.
Now a 12-year old student has been beaten into a hospital bed by his classmates. You should know that such things don’t happen in Israel in the frequency that seems normal in the US. The minister, therefore, came to his sickbed. We’re all commanded to visit the sick. But he came in function. And he assured the young patient: “I’ll use all means at my disposal to eradicate this horrible phenomenon.”
Well, that’s good news. Overrepresented among victims of bullying and other violence are members of the LGBTQ community. I’m not saying anything about this particular boy or situation which I’m unacquainted with and which is not the issue at all. But if one wants to stop school violence, one needs to begin always speaking highly of non-straights.
(This violence is not only often directed towards LGBTQ individuals. One even doesn’t need to be “not normal” or think that to be targeted. Behavior that is not “gender-confirmative” sets off many violent people.
And that’s where it hits all boys and girls, men and women, and anyone in between or out. Not to become victim to this violence, all apparent males are expected to not be “too friendly” or “too sensitive,” and all apparent females are expected to not be “too confident,” take “too much initiative.” This drives all cisgender heterosexuals towards giving up on their authentic selves and starting to act as fake stereotypes — until they don’t know any better anymore. And this all enforces sexism as nothing else.)
The minister should also include countering hate speech from political allies. Even if they call themselves “proud homophobes.” In his circles, gay is seen as a lifestyle choice opposite of being religious. So that’s how they justify looking down on someone whom G-d created gay in His Image.
This besides the tiny number of straight men who chose to go gay. Which is a democratic right and can only be fought one way: by showing how much greater your lifestyle choice as an involuntarily straight religious Jew is. And you don’t show that when you utter arrogant hate speech.
This minister has not been known as a gay-ally until now. It’s not too late.