Thursday, 28 July 2011

Jerusalem Open House

Jerusalem Open House is the hub of Jerusalem's lgbt 'community'. I enter Jerusalem and make my way to the said address of JOH. It is at number 4. I can see number 2 and number 6, and a rainbow flag where number 4 should be, but no door. Just a furniture shop. This has happened to me before, I have NEVER been able to work out how to get into this place.

Eventually I realise that I have to enter the door to number 2, go up two flights of stairs as if I am entering an apartment, and then I can reach number 4. Once there, my bags are searched by a security guard and I enter a room splattered with colours and a library full of everything possibly queer.  I sit down to a group of around 10 people. There are arabs, jews, christians, you name it. We are discussing whether the LGBT community should embrace the word 'queer' and therefore see its project as openly political. Should it join with the struggle for palestinian rights?

Karim tells us about growing up as a Muslim in a strictly orthodox family. He moved away 8 years ago because he "decided to become bisexual". He now lives in the old city of Jerusalem. He is about 60 years old. How can we understand his situation without realising how oppression works on more than one level? How it articulates itself upon more than  one identity?

I wish I had time to describe the conversations that we had and the people I encountered and the very slow slipping away of my Israeli nationalism, but I only have 4 minutes left on my internet.

This country never fails to surprise me. In four hours I am going to Jerusalem pride. Possibly the most controversial gay pride event in the democratic world.

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