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Good news for gay Palestinians

by michael February 06 2008
Municipal news

Jerusalem's one gay bar may have closed down awhile ago, and those yearly attempts at a gay pride parade continue to meet with fierce opposition, but in a rare bright spot for the Jerusalem gay community - and an even rarer bright spot for the Palestinian gay community - the first official Palestinian gay organization, an offshoot of the Jerusalem Open House, has just been founded.

A long-established group for gay, lesbian, trans and bisexual Palestinians in Jerusalem has decided to become independent.

Al-Qaws began life six years ago as a project of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance (JOH).

In branching out on its own it becomes the first-ever official Palestinian gay organisation. In November Al-Qaws received nonprofit organisation status and was renamed Al-Qaws - for Sexual & Gender Diversity in the Palestinian Society.

"During the six years of its existence, Al-Qaws has undergone an all-embracing organisational process of development," said a spokesperson.

"What started as a local professional-oriented project has grown into a national community and grassroots organisation, with activist leadership.

"This major development has been made possible thanks to the leadership group's determined investment, the deep commitment of Al-Qaws activists and the autonomous space provided to Al-Qaws within the JOH, enabling Al-Qaws to address the needs of the Palestinian LGBTQ community.

Jerusalemite wishes Al-Qaws luck in championing the rights of Palestinian gays. A more tolerant Jerusalem is a more beautiful Jerusalem.

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