2014

WE ARE EVERYWHERE
IGY is celebrating its 13th year of
activities, activities that started
with only one social group in Kfar
Saba.

expressions of LGBTphobia that
are unfortunately still present in
every city and town in Israel, and
often even in schools in Tel Aviv.

Over the years we have grown
and developed programming
throughout Israel within 34
municipalities, and so many
additional areas of work.

In addition to the growth of the
organization geographically, IGY
team members identified the
need to provide new services
for marginalized populations
in our community including
within the Ethiopian community,
Arabic speakers, the deaf
community, and youth on the
transgender
spectrum.
We
intend to develop personalized
activities to meet the needs of
these populations. Despite the
severe difficulties within these
populations to accept different
sexual orientations and gender
identities, we have found
enthusiastic partners within the
above-mentioned communities
to work with us hand in hand.
With the help of our partners
and a budget dedicated to this
important initiative, we have
created activities for each of the
target populations.

2014 started with significant
organizational growth throughout
the periphery of Israel. We have
expanded in the north and
in the south, highlighting our
understanding of the importance
of being close to the home of
every LGBT young person in
Israel.
Within the last year, we saw the
first leadership group operating
on a national level. This is a group
of young people who raise their
voice to be heard at the center
of public discourse in Israel.
Although Tel Aviv won the honor
of being the number 1 LGBT
destination in the world, and is
seen as the center of liberalism
to those abroad, beneath the
surface the reality for young
people is quite different. The
Leadership Group depicted for
the first time in Israel’s history
the complexities and difficulties
of dealing with the daily

WE HAVE DOUBLED OUR ACTIVITIES
THROUGHOUT ISRAEL

In the coming year, IGY has
dedicated itself to an additional
goal to expand our educational
activities outside of the LGBT
community and to make sure
the voice of LGBT young people
is heard by Knesset members,
and the relevant government
agencies. IGY representatives

have met with dozens of
Knesset members in recent
months, including ministers and
decision makers in the Ministry
of Education, Ministry of Health,
and the Ministry of Social Affairs.
We are determined to promote
the recognition of the needs of
LGBT youth and to ensure the
government takes responsibility
for the needs of youth within our
community.
In November 2014 a discussion
was held for the first time in a
special session in the Ministry
of Education, following an IGY
initiation together with the
Chairperson of the committee
regarding LGBT youth in the
education system. This was
the first breakthrough following
lots of very hard work to get
recognition of the rights and
needs of LGBT young people in
Israel. We will continue to work
to change the current reality
within the Ministry of Education.
We believe, and are certain,
that our continued hard work,
together with empowering the
unique and important voice of
LGBT youth, we will reach our
goals. We will create a better
future for youth and young adults
in every village in Israel, a more
open Israeli society, and a more
diverse Israel that accepts all of
the differences among us.
On behalf of the IGY
family,
Ran Laebel and
Mandy Michaeli
Co-Executive
Directors,
IGY

3

OUR WORK IN 2014

Over

OUR PLANS FOR 2015

In over

34
200
municipalities
volunteers
Youth Clubhouses

2014 has been a major year for IGY. We have
expanded our work throughout the periphery of
Israel, expanding our reach to more and more
young people in the farthest corners of Israel.
We are proud to say that we have over 3,000
regular participants in our groups, programs and
courses! This does not include the thousands
that reach our online portal every day. 2014
was an important year for us, and we would like
to thank all of our volunteers, supporters and
friends who made our work possible!

IGY has major plans for 2015. In addition to expanding our ongoing
work we will be initiating new projects and outreach to have an
even greater impact in 2015! We invite you to see our plans below.

Project Nir
Groups for 14-18 y/o
Groups for 18-23 y/o

Our groundbreaking Online Help Service for LGBT youth is set
to launch in 2015, which will allow us to provide an online live
chat service to LGBT young people in real time. We will greatly
expand our ability to reach out to young people throughout
Israel, and to provide them with the services they need.
We are in the final stages of opening 2 new LGBT Youth
Clubhouses outside of Tel Aviv. We will soon have a LGBT
Youth Clubhouse in every area of Israel - in the North,
Center and South.

National Groups
4 Religious Groups

for men and women, divided by age

Leadership Group

We are planning to open even more groups for
young people living in the farthest corners of Israeli
society. We understand the difficulties of living in
the periphery of Israel, especially as a LGBT young
person, and for that reason we are opening more
and more groups throughout Israel.

2 Transgender Groups
for m2f and f2m

2 Ethiopian Groups

We have opened

11

by age: 14-18 and 18-23

new groups

The new group for Arab young people has all of its
guides registered and trained and we are looking
forward to open our doors in the first months of 2015.
This is a particularly complicated group to open, but
the need within the Arabic speaking community is
great, and our dedicated volunteers are determined to
initiate this groundbreaking initiative.

Project Nir has reached

1,500

over
high school students

30

Following our recent success we will continue to
expand our programming for underrepresented
populations in our community. We are in the
final stages of initiating programming for LGBT
young people in the deaf community.

new youth leaders were
trained and empowered with the
knowledge to make a difference
Thousands of young
people have taken part in
our online forum in 2014
For the first time IGY participants of
the Year of Service project joining the
IDF as a group, initiating the first ever
LGBT group in the Israeli army

4

We initiated programming for marginalized
populations within our community including
Ethiopian youth and transgender young people

We will be launching new After School
Help Centers that will provide tutoring
for exams, practice for the SATs and a
helping hand with homework in an open,
safe and LGBT friendly environment.

en
, ev t!
s
e
Y Eila
in
5

WE ARE

in Over 30 Municipalities in Is

IGY is the only nation-wide organization
in Israel dedicated to the needs of LGBT
youth and young adults. At the heart
of our organization are the IGY social
groups according to location and age.
Building on the Israeli tradition of being
part of a youth movement, we offer
weekly meetings for LGBT young people
across the country to come together
to ask questions, learn together, build
a community, and give support to one
another. Weekly groups are offered for
two separate age groups, one for youth
aged 14-18 and the second for young
adults aged 18-23. Each group has a
highly trained team consisting of a male
and female counselor, who guide the
regular activities.
Within these weekly meetings we provide
a safe, non-judgmental and empowering
environment, while building community
and a sense of belonging that LGBT
young people cannot find elsewhere.
Each week the counselors lead an
engaging activity on a wide range of
topics including coming out of the
closet, LGBT politics, sexual health, and
other theoretical and practical subjects
that help to navigate their current reality.

WE ARE

rael

Difficult questions that would otherwise
go unanswered finally have an inviting
environment to be given the proper
attention they deserve.
Over the 13 years of our programming,
we have witnessed LGBT young people
grow up through our organization and
go on to become
community leaders.
"IGY is the only
It has been inspiring
to see their growth
nation-wide
and dedication to
organization in
the well-being of the
LGBT community.
Israel dedicated

to the needs of
Within
2014
the
number of our group
LGBT youth and
grew
dramatically,
bringing with it a
young adults"
drastic rise in the
number of young
people receiving such critical services.
We are expanding our model of youth
groups to the farthest corners of Israel
and are proud to have groups in over 34
municipalities in Israel! This is a major
development and we will utilize this
momentum to continue to expand our
activities in 2015!

As we expand
our work to more
corners of Israel,
we will be sure
that all young
LGBT Israelis have
the support and
guidance they
need!

6

in the Clubhouse

The LGBT Youth Clubhouse is an IGY
initiative that provides a space where
LGBT young people can come together,
and meet people like them. Knowing they
are in a safe place that accepts them, they
can come and simply be themselves, while
having the support to seek services when
necessary. Beyond being a safe space,
the Clubhouse is an empowering space
that encourages the young participants
to launch new initiatives and design
programming for their peers.
The Clubhouse provides an important
space for youth-at-risk who may not thrive
in such a structured environment like our
other activities. Our highly trained guides
are always present when the Clubhouse
is open to answer questions, and to keep
an open eye for any worrying signs among
the participants. Due to the nature of the
group, we have seen a heightened number
of youth-at-risk participating within the

Clubhouse, and have
been on heightened
alert towards suicidal
tendencies.
The clubhouse is open 5 evenings a week,
and offers a safe space to those young
people in our community who need it most.
We aim to expand this important initiative
and open a Clubhouse in every geographic
region of the country,
North, Center and
"IGY’s
South. Currently we
only have a clubhouse
Clubhouses
in Tel Aviv, and are in
offer a safe
the advanced stages
of opening one in Beer
space to those
Sheva and 2 other
young people in
cities in Israel. 2015 is
looking promising!
our community

who need it
most"

IGY's guides
pose in the Beer
Sheva Clubhouse.
The LGBT Youth
Clubhouses provide
LGBT youth with a
unique opportunity
to meet other young
people like them,
and interact in a
safe, accepting,
and liberating
environment.

7

WE ARE

in the Ethiopian Community

Over the past 13 years we have become
experts at providing services to LGBT young
people, but there are still some sections of our
community who are underrepresented within
the organization and whose needs are going
unanswered. The Ethiopian community is a
highly marginalized population within Israeli
society, and this reality is true within the LGBT
community as well.
Until recently, Ethiopian youth were missing
from IGY. In 2014 we decided to do something
about it. After an intensive outreach campaign
we facilitated a committee of Ethiopian LGBT
activists to map out the community and
identify the greatest needs facing the youngest
members of their community. Following a
series of meetings a number of interesting
conclusions were reached.

A guide from the Ethiopian Igy group "Kala"
poses with a participant of the group and Tel
Aviv city council member Mahrata BaruchRon at an event in honor of the launch of the
groundbreaking project

8

The first decision was to initiate a group
specifically for Ethiopian LGBT youth to help
them navigate the struggles between their
sexual orientation or gender identity together
with their Ethiopian heritage. Due to their
shared experience and similar struggles it was
decided that a group for Ethiopian youth would
create a welcoming and open space where the
unique challenges they face can be discussed.
Each meeting provides a safe and open space
for young LGBT Ethiopians to feel equal and
know they are not alone. This space allows
for an honest discussion about the different
challenges they face on a regular basis, such
as the internalization and suppression of their
sexual orientation or gender identity, fear of
homophobia or social alienation within the
Ethiopian community, and oppression within
the wider LGBT community.

opened 2 groups, one for Ethiopian youth
aged 14-18, and the second for young adults
aged 18-22. The participants have been hugely
enthusiastic and we are excited to expand the
group in the coming year.
Additionally, and equally important, a
process has begun to integrate the Ethiopian
narrative
within
our
programming
"If we want
throughout IGY. In
order to fully meet the
to build a
needs of the Ethiopian
community, and to
pluralistic and
build a pluralistic
open LGBT
and
open
LGBT
community we must
community,
make IGY accessible
we must make
to all sections of
our community. The
IGY accessible
participants of the
to all sections
committee and group
will aid in acquainting
of our
the young people
throughout
the
community"
organization with the
traditions,
culture
and struggles of the
Ethiopian community.
We aim to create a more diverse LGBT
community and Israeli society. We strive to
build a community in which people can live
their lives as a whole person, including all
aspects of their identity. This project is the first
example that shows that this goal is attainable,
and we intend to reproduce this model within
other underrepresented populations within our
community.

We will provide the tools and framework to
integrate these young people into the LGBT
community without having to minimize the
unique and special nature of this community.
We are proud to report that within 2014 we

9

WE ARE

in the Transgender Commun

For years, there were teenagers and
young adults within the transgender
community whose needs were not
being met by IGY’s activities. Since
our programming was not relevant
to them, they were not participating
in our various activities. IGY aims to
be the home for all sub-communities
that make up the LGBT community
in Israel, providing social support
and a safe environment, adapted
to fit the variety of identities and
cultural backgrounds that make up
Israeli society. At the same time the
organization will learn the unique
needs and characteristics of the
different populations, and to provide
appropriate solutions throughout our
nation-wide programming. We aim to
create a future LGBT community that
views the marginalized parts of our
community as an integral component
of our community, through direct
contact and the building of solidarity.
The transgender community has
suffered for years from exclusion and
oppression, including from within the
LGBT community. Transgender young
people, whose identity does not
match their biological gender must
not only deal with the gap that exists
between how society sees them and
who they are, but also many engage
in complicated medical procedures
including surgery and hormone
replacement therapies.

10

ity

The transgender community is one
of Israel’s most disadvantaged
communities, and suffers from
discrimination in employment, in
medical services and much more.
Throughout the years transgender
young people were largely absent from
our programming and programming
throughout the LGBT community
organizations,
and
we decided that 2014
"The transgender
was the year that
this reality changed.
community has
We therefore began
suffered for years
to engage a process
of consultation and
from exclusion
outreach with leaders
and oppression,
of the transgender
community
to
including from
understand
how
we
could
make
within the LGBT
our activities more
community."
welcoming, and to
better serve the needs
of the transgender community.
Following this intensive process two
new groups were born- one guided
by a transgender woman, and one
guided by a transgender man. These
groups will provide young people who
are questioning their gender identity
a safe space to ask questions, learn,
build community and influence the
wider LGBT community in Israel. This
important initiative is in collaboration
with the Gila Project for Transgender
Independence and the organization
Ma’arivim, bringing a wide community
perspective and expertise to the
project.

Three guides from the transgender groups,
Sam, Sky and Bell, pose together for an
advertising campaign. Their groundbreaking
work will ensure that transgender youth receive
the support they need!

11

WE ARE

in the Religious Community

IGY operates three programs for religious
LGBTQ young people divided by age
and gender. Although the majority of the
participants are Orthodox, the group is
open to young people who connect to the
religious narrative, regardless of their levels of
religiosity. An overwhelming majority of these
individuals are unable to find comfort in their
surroundings, which often espouse religion as
being opposed to the LGBT community. Some
have sought treatment within their communities
from unqualified individuals who lack the
skills to adequately serve them, and others
have been too scared to make any attempt
to become part of a supportive framework.
All of the aforementioned suffer from severe
and consistent loneliness, which can result in
serious emotional and social issues.
IGY’s programs enable dozens of young people
with a safe and accepting space in which they
can communicate their difficulties without fear
from social, communal or even familial status
being put in jeopardy. Since they all share a
religious background, they are able to speak
openly and find ways to navigate their religious
and LGBT identities in a healthy and rewarding
fashion.
One of the main issues with which we wish to
deal is the damage caused to the individual's
self-image by the deep crisis of questioning
one's sexual orientation. This damage brings
many of these individuals a sense of despair,
usually manifested in risky behaviors. Therefore
all of the content within these sessions has
been adapted to meet their reality and to best
handle the serious issues they are facing.

The religious groups hold meetings every two
weeks in discreet locations due to heightened
privacy concerns. Each group has two guides
who are highly trained and have the support
of a team of social workers, educators and
mental health professionals. Each meeting
has a structured discussion that takes place
on a variety of topics regarding faith and
LGBT
identity.
Within this enabling
"IGY’s programs
environment,
the
participants
are enable dozens
able to take off
their daily masks of young people
and interact with with a safe and
fellow
religious
LGBT youth on an accepting space
honest and open
in which they can
level. The religious
groups
also communicate
organize
holiday
celebrations
and their difficulties
Shabbat services without fear"
for
the
entire
organization. It is a
wonderful way to expose the other participants
to a segment of our community that they would
most likely not encounter.
These activities are not aimed at directing the
participants to specific conceptions, neither
religiously nor personally, and each individual
has the right to choose their life style in
accordance we their beliefs and conscience.
IGY's activities do not encourage anyone to
accept any one specific way of life. Our goal
is to create a safe space for young people to
raise questions, to deal with their loneliness
and to meet other people like them.

A letter we received in the summer of 2014 from
a participant from our religious group. It has been
translated from Hebrew, and the author's name has
been removed to protect his privacy
12

13

WE ARE

in the Classroom

The Nir Program is named in honor of Nir
Katz, a youth counselor who was murdered
at the attack at the Bar Noar LGBT youth
activity in 2009. The murder made us realize
that we needed to take a step outside of our
own community and to educate the wider
public if we were to effectively combat
homophobia and hatred. Although we
were effectively empowering young people
throughout Israel, it was not enough, and
we needed to engage the wider education
system in order to create a safe environment
for all students in Israel.
The program is based on the model of
the American Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA),
creating LGBT and straight ally youth
clubs in schools in order to directly engage
homophobia within the education system.
The program advocates for tolerance
and human rights while educating young
leaders by supplying them with tools and
skills necessary to facilitate social change.
The Nir program empowers LGBT youth,
granting them a sense of communal
belonging within their schools, instead of
fear and isolation. It is unique in addressing
LGBT and straight youth in one setting,
educating them not only about the LGBT
community but also about other forms of
discrimination including racism and sexism,
emphasizing the need to accept “the other”.
A survey on the climate in Israeli schools
completed by IGY in 2008 in partnership
with Tel Aviv University, found that 57% of
LGBT young people suffer from abuse due
to their sexual orientation in their schools.
28% reported being victims of sexual
harassment and 64% regularly heard

14

homophobic remarks made in class. In her
2007 research, Hagit Ashur Efron found that
most LGBT teachers preferred to hide their
sexual orientation within their schools. This
data depicts a disturbing reality in today's
Israel, a reality which cultivates fear and
shame instead of safety and pride.
2011 was the pilot year of the Nir Program,
and
the
project
has grown to over
"The murder
35
classrooms
throughout
Israel.
made us realize
The
program
is
that we needed
acknowledged
by the Ministry of
to take a step
Education and is part
outside of our
of the student’s Civic
Studies matriculation
own community
grade. The students
debate
issues
and to educate
such as identity,
the wider public
homophobia,
the
"other",
social
if we were to
change, democracy,
effectively
and the Israeli LGBT
community.
The
combat
program
supplies
homophobia
the
participants
with practical tools
and hatred."
needed to facilitate
social change and to
empower them as young leaders.
Every group initiates and operates projects
following the completion of the program to
decrease homophobia, extend tolerance,
and promote communal involvement in their
school and in the community. A change
in public conceptions regarding sexual
identity can and must start in schools.
Given the framework and support, students
who are members of minority groups can
turn into powerful leaders of social change.

Nir Project action – the writing on the wall says
"Love and pride". Through our activities we can
change the atmosphere in high scools to be
more accepting to all who are different.

The Nir project helps
school students combat
stigma and stereotypes
surrounding LGBT people
and other minorities
through a unique and
open discussion

15

WE ARE

Fighting HIV

IGY GUIDES POP THE STIGMA
AROUND HIV

HIV

Through outreach and education, we can make sure that young people in our
community are protected from HIV. Due to the dangerous rise in HIV in Israel within
the last few years, our guides and activists have been emphasizing the importance
of sexual health, and disproving misconceptions surrounding HIV.

is not
transmitted
through
coversation

It is equally important to raise understanding of HIV and to offset the stigma
that those with the disease suffer from on a regular basis. Our guides launched
the below outreach campaign to “pop the bubble” surrounding stigma and
misconceptions of HIV.

HIV

HIV
16

is not
transmitted
through
touch

HIV

is not
transmitted
through
kissing

is not
transmitted
with a
condom

HIV

is not
transmitted
through

HIV

is not
transmitted
through
protected
sex

friendship

17

WE ARE

Creating New Leaders

In order to create deep and lasting change,
it is our responsibility to train and empower
the next generation of community leaders.
We are working tirelessly to create a
cadre of young leaders who are ready
and prepared to engage social action, in
order to inspire change within the LGBT
community and the wider Israeli society.
By providing continual learning as well as
practical activities we will instill real life
knowledge.

WE ARE

The leadership group also takes the
responsibility to represent the organization
in a variety of forums both national and
regional for youth. For example, during the
2014 pride events, it
was the Leadership
"In order to
Group that visiting
every group in the
create deep
34
municipalities
throughout Israel to
and lasting
discuss issues that
change, it is our
affect their lives, to
come up with a slogan
responsibility
and campaign for
to train and
Pride 2014. Eventually
the issue of visibility
empower the
became a coherent
theme
throughout
next generation
the discussions and
of community
the title of “We are
Everywhere,”
which
leaders"
is displayed proudly
throughout this report
was chosen.

We couple functional and theoretical
training to give these motivated young
people both the fundamental base as well
as practical tools to combat social issues.
They work together to identify an issue
within their lives, either within the LGBT
community or wider Israeli society that
they work as a group to affect change. In
order to learn how to work in teams, they
are given roles and divided into teams.
They then work through the many stages of
activism from identifying the issue they will
work on, to devising a theory of change and
implementing an action or project.
We are amazed by the ability of the young
participants to make a change. They have
We utilize mentorship and personal a nuanced understanding of the challenges
feedback as key tools for leadership they face, and are ready to work to tackle
development. The leadership program them.
further plays a profound role within the
organization, coordinating actions and
statements among the various groups.

IGY youth
leaders marching
towards the Israeli
parliament, the
Knesset, to demand
that their voices are
heard.

18

Giving a Year of Service

In 2011, IGY partnered with the HaNoar HaOved
VeHalomed youth movement to launch the
groundbreaking “Service Year” initiative. A
group of young people spend a year living and
volunteering together prior to joining the IDF.
The model is well-established in Israel and has
been in use for a substantial period of time;
however, there has never been an attempt
to adjust this framework to the needs of the
LGBT community.
The underlying rationale of the project is to
operate a normative continuation framework,
based on the successful Shnat Sherut (Service
Year) model, which will allow at-risk LGBTQ
youth to experience independent life and
participate in empowering activities, with the
guidance of experienced staff.
The project is thriving and we have seen great
success. In addition to learning critical skills of
independent living such as planning a budget,
performing household chores and dividing
responsibilities among themselves, they
heighten their skills of community activism
as they play an increasingly larger role in
underprivileged
communities
throughout
Israel. Together with highly trained IGY guides,
these young people implement programming

within community centers and local schools
on a regular basis.
This project has recently received accreditation
from the Ministry of Defense and this group will
now join the army together to a special unit,
and this will be the first LGBT group within the
army in Israel’s
history. Once they
join the Nahal unit
They heighten
they will continue
their skills of
to remain as a
group and utilize
community
their experience
activism as
in
volunteering
to
continue
they play an
their community
increasingly
outreach within
the periphery of
larger role in
Israel. We are
thrilled at the
underprivileged
potential
this
communities
project
holds
in
developing
throughout Israel
them as young,
experienced
leaders ready to take the reins of our community.

"

"

IGY youth spend a
year volunteering
together before
joining the army.
They volunteer
together to
improve the LGBT
community and
Israeli society.

19

OUR BUDGET
As you can see, our budget has grown drastically over the last year and we
have even more ambitious goals to reach in 2015. We are amazed by the
increased impact that our recent grown in funding and subsequent increase
in staff and volunteers afforded us. We have been able to continue our drive to
reach out to the most vulnerable populations on the edges of our community
both geographically and socially. The IGY family is expanding and we can
feel the change in every part of the organization.
Our work would not be possible without our dedicated supporters. In order
to maintain our current growth and momentum we require the support of
generous individuals and institutions in Israel and around the world. We invite
you to contact IGY to see how you can join us in making a difference in the
lives of LGBT youth throughout Israel. Help us make 2015 a year to remember!

We are
expanding
our reach.

Help us reach our 2015
goal!

Project Expenses:

We would like to thank our donors who supported our work in in 2014!

Total: 1,287,660 NIS
20

Our local groups were genersouly supported by the
municipalities of: Haifa, Herzelia, Kfar Saba, Petach Tikvah,
Ashkelon, Beer Sheva, Eilat, Holon, Rehovot, Modi'in, Tel
Aviv, and Ramat Gan

We would also like to thank
our private donors in Israel
and throughout the world.
21

For $4,000 you can provide weekly meetings, guidance
and support to groups throughout the country. You will get
regular updates from the group, a line of communication
with an IGY team member and direct insight into the impact
your support is having.
You can chose any geographic location and have a direct
impact in that community!
For more information contact Zachary Cohen at zachary@igy.org.il

Website: igy.org.il
Contact us through our
Outreach Coordinator,
Zachary Cohen:
zachary@igy.org.il

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