For many years, gays and lesbians in Israel were all but forced to live their lives in the closet -- homosexuality was officially illegal in the nation, state censorship prevented sympathetic and honest portrayals of gays in the media, the Army and Police would not permit homosexuals among their ranks, and violence against the few who dared to openly express themselves was common. However, in the 1990s that began to change -- laws against gays were lifted, new laws prevented official discrimination on the basis of sexual preference, a number of popular Israeli films and television series included positive gay characters, homosexuals were allowed to serve openly in the military and the police, and Israel's representative in the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest was a transsexual. 1998 came to be known as The Summer of Pride in Tel Aviv, the center of Israel's growing gay liberation movement and home to a growing number of gays and lesbians who would no longer be silent about violence, discrimination or their lives. Yair Qedar is a journalist who covered Israel's gay liberation movement for the gay journal The Pink Times; he makes his debut as a filmmaker with Gay Days, which explores the history of the struggle for gay equality in Israel, as well as the tumultuous events of 1998. Gay Days was an official selection at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival.
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