Thursday, November 15, 2007

Only Gay Bar in Jerusalem Shuts Its Doors

Shushan, the only gay and lesbian bar in Jerusalem, decided to close its doors this week after serving for four years as a place where drag queens, Palestinians, and Orthodox Jews intermingled, according to a story in The Times of London.

“Shushan was one of the few places where we could feel that we were in a free world,” Yan Carmel, a 21-year-old student at Hebrew University, told The Times.

Gays and lesbians in Jerusalem frequently face disapproval and violence. Last year, the city’s gay pride parade was moved to a stadium because police feared they could not protect marchers from attacks. The year before, an Orthodox man stabbed three people during a street procession.

The bar has been a target of violence as well. Two years ago it was severely damaged in an arson attack. No one was injured, and the attack helped the bar’s clientele become closer-knit, according to patrons.

Now Shushan’s customers are scrambling to find other bars.

“I’ve met three boyfriends there, and each time was magical,” Gil Naveh, a 24-year-old who performed in the club’s drag shows, told The Times. “There was the time I got proposed to outside Shushan, right in front of everyone.” (The Advocate)

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