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United colors: 5 local centers and organizations for the queer community

United colors: 5 local centers and organizations for the queer community
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We know that together we are stronger – and we have more fun. Here we’ve compiled a list of local centers and organizations where Israeli and international queers can build a peaceful revolution for a more accepting society, while also feeling the warm support and love of a much needed greater family.
 
The Gay Center

 

Gay Center

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The ever-busy LGBTQ Center of Tel Aviv is not the result of a new trend of “pinking up” the White City: it was founded back in 1983 to fortify and enrich the LGBT community. “Today, more than 6,000 people pass through our doors every week, and we are solidly committed to serving each and every member of our diverse community,” they say. The Center offers a wide range of activities from theater shows and drama workshops to round table talks and group therapy sessions. Their mission: “For as many ways as you can define family, we are here to support. From relationships to parenthood, we guide and connect you throughout your journey.” 
For questions about membership contact: membership@gaycenter.org, or visit gaycenter.org 
 
A Wider Bridge 
This community based start up focuses on bringing American LGBTQ people into meaningful and thoughtful connection with Israel and LGBTQ Israelis.  “Our programs create opportunities for education, engagement and experience, and include travel, speakers and discussions, cultural events, online resources, advocacy and philanthropy,” they state. A Wider Bridge brings Israeli LGBTQ leaders, activists and artists to the U.S. to talk about their work, and share their stories of hope. “We bring Israeli and American Jewish and LGBTQ community leaders together to learn from each other, to share their best practices and build lasting collaborative relationships.” 
Read more about programs in collaboration with advocacy organizations and LGBTQ groups at awiderbridge.org
 
Maavarim
Maavarim translates to “passageways” – so it’s no surprise that this community organization’s goal is to empower members of the trans community, facilitating personal and social change. According to a recent study, gender variant people make up 6% of the worldwide population – yet the lack of knowledge, the backwards education and the clueless healthcare system often ignores their needs. Not in Israel: “We provide the support needed for transgender and gender variant people and their loved ones in their daily lives and their journey. We build community resources and knowledge through research, partnerships and training,” they say. 
More info on their ongoing programs on maavarim.org

IGY
IGY

© Ido Cohen

The Israeli Gay Youth organization is dedicated to empowering LGBTQ school kids – but instead of creating a bubble, they work within the formal education system. “We are creating a meaningful social youth leadership to help them design a better community and a better Israeli society,” they say. IGY operates programs and social groups for 3, 000 plus teens – girls, boys, and transsexuals - with the help of hundreds of volunteers. Their motto is borrowed from the great educator Janusz Korczak: “Fixing the world means fixing its education”. IGY aids youth living in non-metropolitan areas, arranging anti-homophobia programs, opening youth centers and providing a safe space for LGBT youth. 

igy.org.il 

 

The Jerusalem Open House 
The JOH for Pride and Tolerance is an activist-run organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people and their allies, founded in 1997. The group’s budget comes entirely from private donations, and their greatest challenge is to open a dialogue about the “heterosexualist” traditions and misconceptions in social institutions, including family, school, and religious establishments. “This challenge is especially formidable in Jerusalem, a city of traditional values and deeply-rooted religious commitments, where we offer religious programming, Shabbat and holiday services,” they say. The center holds a social group for Orthodox gay men and connects with LGBTQ synagogues abroad. 
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