|Natalie Sade, executive director of the Aguda|
As delegations from all over the world are beginning to arrive in Cleveland for Gay Games 9, this becomes our city's defining moment: Will we welcome them with open arms? That’s the question we sought to answer in our August cover story. Tonight, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland will answer that question with action as they welcome a delegation of athletes, musicians, public officials and community members from Israel with a reception at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage featuring live Israeli music and a screening of Yeal Bartana's film Inferno. We chat with Natalie Sade, the executive director of the Aguda: The Israeli National LGBT Task Force, who is speaker at the event, about her visit.
CM: Coming to Cleveland, what are you expecting?
NS: We want to celebrate diversity. We see gay rights as human rights and human rights as gay rights. So we see ourselves taking part in a global gathering for equality and human rights.
CM: What’s the attitude of the delegation?
NS: Some people already participated in the previous Gay Games. Everyone is out, so there’s no issues about compromising identity. In Israel, you can be openly gay, so the delegation is very excited.
CM: As someone who advocates for inclusiveness, what does the Gaza conflict look like from inside Israel?
NS: We are a human rights organization. Before you are Israeli or anything else, you are a human being. If you are LGBT, you’re a human being. That, for us, comes before being Israeli or Arabic or Palestinian. So, for us, if you are LGBT and you are in need, we will help you. Of course, as far as we can reach – our reach at the moment in regards to Palestinians isn’t perfect due to the situation, but we are a human rights organization and we see humans in need. We will always do the best that we can for people that are LGBT and in need.