Neil Patrick Harris named International Ambassador for Tel Aviv Pride
Neil Patrick Harris has been appointed Tel Aviv Pride’s International Ambassador.
Israel’s Tourism Ministry website announced his participation. The How I Met Your Mother actor is expected to attend the event, which is taking place on 14 June, with his husband David Burtka and their eight-year-old twins, Harper and Gideon.
“Tel Aviv has become a symbol of the openness and acceptance of the LGBTQ community on the world stage,” Harris said in a statement.
“We are honored to be in Israel for the first time and have the honor to take part in this beautiful celebration and to stand with the LGBTQ community in Israel and around the world, especially on the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.”
— The Asian Israeli (@datasianisraeli) June 6, 2019
Fans of the A Series of Unfortunate Events star took to social media to share their enthusiasm for his involvement.
One Twitter user said: “Soooo Neil Patrick Harris and his partner are gonna be in #TelAviv for #Pride!!! +10000000 points for the #holy land!”
“This is the greatest news ever,” another wrote.
Previous ambassadors include radio and television talk show host Andy Cohen and gossip columnist Perez Hilton.
LGBT+ attitudes in Israel
Tel Aviv is often described as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world and when it comes to the Middle East, Israel is considered among those that are LGBT+ tolerant.
Having decriminalised homosexuality in 1988, discrimination against those who identify as queer was prohibited in 1992. Openly LGBT people are allowed to serve in the military and in 2008, same-sex couples were granted the right to adopt.
While Israel recognises same-sex union, honouring marriages performed elsewhere, same-sex couples are not permitted to wed within the country. Earlier this week, 23 same-sex couples took part in a mass wedding in Tel Aviv to campaign for marriage equality throughout the nation.
Despite legislation being more inclusive of LGBT+ individuals in Israel, some political and religious leaders still publicly express homophobic opinions.
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Just last month, Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern urged Jerusalem Pride attendees not to wave rainbow flags “as they make the city ugly.”
In a letter addressed to the mayor, Moshe Lion, he wrote: “I know from the point of view of the law, the mayor has no ability to prevent the parade, and therefore I ask you to at least give a ruling for the flags not to be waved.
“I trust you to act wisely to remove this disgrace from us, especially now in these holy days between Jerusalem Day and Shavuot.”