Woke up this morning after spending most of the night in anticipation of my first standup for Israel Television. Today I would cover the much anticipated Gay Pride parade. I jumped into the TV van, script in hand, ready and waiting for whatever Jerusalem would throw at me today. After what seemed like 25 police road blocks and having to argue to gain entry to King David street, I finally reached my destination. With moments to the broadcast and the parade about to begin, I stood amongst 7000 security officials, took a deep breath and prayed to God that the words would come to me.
I took a quick glance over my shoulder only to see thousands of rainbow clad parade participants getting ready to march. “We’re rolling!” and with that I began to speak: “I’m standing here on King David street where the Jerusalem Gay Pride parade you see behind me is about to begin. There is a massive security presence here with some 7000 Police and border guards on patrol. Officers here have been preparing for a wide variety of scenarios ranging from stabbing attempts to terrorist attacks with multiple casualties. Organizers were hoping for a longer, more central parade route, but they will only march several hundred yards along this street where I’m standing, down to Liberty Bell Park. About 5,000 people are expected to attend in a demonstration of Democracy in action…”
After a couple of takes with the parade marchers advancing towards me – mission accomplished! I celebrated my first real standup along side the participants’ accomplishment of finally being able to march in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a city where every day brings a new opportunity to feel free and alive, whether its proving yourself as a journalist or being able to be proud of who you are. Today was an historical day both for me and for the thousands of gay and lesbian citizens in the city we all call home.