lgbtq activist in israel during hamas attack fled to dubai 2023
A Contradictory Feeling
Rachael Fried, an American LGBTQ+ activist, could have never imagined feeling a sense of relief upon landing in Dubai, a city where homosexuality is considered a crime. However, in the face of large-scale, surprising attacks launched by Hamas on Israel, Dubai became a preferable option.
An Interrupted Journey
Rachael, the executive director of the non-profit organization Jewish Queer Youth, had traveled to Israel with her wife to visit family and friends during the Jewish festival of Sukkot. Their journey, which began with an Emirates flight from New York to Israel with a stopover in Dubai, was interrupted by unexpected attacks.
LGBTQ+ in Israel and Dubai :
A Complex Comparison Israel exhibits complexity in its handling of LGBTQ+ issues. Although LGBTQ+ identities are not criminalized and Tel Aviv is recognized as the “gay capital of the Middle East,” same-sex marriage is not legal there. In Dubai, same-sex sexual acts can result in a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
The Impact of Hamas Attacks
On Saturday, as communities across Israel were celebrating the Jewish festival of Simchat Torah, Hamas militants launched coordinated attacks, killing at least 800 people and injuring thousands more. Rachael and her wife, awakened by the sound of sirens, had to take refuge in a bomb shelter.
Return to Dubai :
An Unexpected Refuge Despite the strict laws against homosexuality in Dubai, Rachael felt enormous relief landing in the city after escaping the chaos in Israel. This irony did not escape her: feeling safer in a place where her very existence is criminalized than in a country undergoing a devastating terrorist attack.
Israel’s Response Israel officially declared war on Hamas, launching missile strikes on Gaza that killed over 550 people. The country was in a state of shock, facing the deadliest terrorist attack in its history.
A Reflection on Security and Identity Rachael’s experience raises profound questions about security, identity, and existence in a world where conflicts and prejudices continue to define the boundaries of freedom and safety. Her story highlights the complexities and contradictions inherent in navigating between different cultures, laws, and crises as a member of the LGBTQ+ movement.
Other links :
LGBT Rights in Dubai EMIRATE : https://www.equaldex.com/region/united-arab-emirates/dubai