Last week, over 250,000 people filled the Tel Aviv streets for its famous Pride Parade — a reminder of the city’s status as a welcoming home for LGBTQ people, and of the cultural and legal strides LGBTQ Israelis have made toward greater acceptance and equality. However, for many LGBTQ Israelis, daunting challenges still exist. That’s where Israel Gay Youth (IGY) comes in: an Israeli nonprofit that works within formal and informal education systems to embrace, teach and support LGBTQ Israelis between the ages of 13 and 23.

“We want Israeli youth to feel welcome and loved no matter who they are,” says Liana Meirom, International Secretary of IGY. To do so, the organization teaches courses on gender and sexuality in over 40 classrooms and hosts more than 45 social groups to establish safe environments where teens and young adults can freely express their sexual orientation and gender identity. IGY’s leadership teams also help prepare the next generation of leaders with the skills they’ll need to continue developing Israel as a nation of equality.

IGY is the only organization serving all LGBTQ Israelis — regardless of religion, culture or geography — and hosts programs across the entire region. They also operate four youth centers in Tel Aviv, Afula, Rishon LeZion and Petah Tiqwa, helping young LGBTQ individuals socialize and find support in challenging moments.

As part of our ongoing Israel70 year and in honor of Pride Month, on Wednesday, June 20th at 7:00 p.m., join the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia at Mekor HaBracha to hear from IGY representatives Liana Meirom and Nizar Helawy, who as Coordinator of Arab Groups specializes in the particular challenges of expressing both one’s LGBTQ and Arab identities. Register here.

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