Top Official In Israeli Army Comes Out As Gay

"The IDF is the people’s army and it encourages all who want to contribute and grow," said 

Brig.-Gen. Sharon Afek.

A member of the IDF General Staff, the military advocate-general of the Israel Army, has come out as gay.

Brig.-Gen. Sharon Afek told the Israel Bar Association’s magazine that even though there are pockets of “ignorance and hatred,” he’s never experienced discrimination himself. “When I was a young officer, times were different and I worried that the issue would be used against me and that I might really hit the glass ceiling,” he said. “But happily, the issue did not make waves.”

“The IDF is the people’s army and it encourages all who want to contribute and grow,” Afek added. “I will be pleased if many more will follow in my footsteps.”

All Israelis serve a two-year minimum enlistment in the military, which began admitting gay, lesbian and bisexual service members in 1993. (Unit 8200, one of the largest units in the Israeli army, is known to have a large percentage of LGBT soldiers.) In 2013, the first transgender service member began serving openly in the IDF.

“I think that the decisions which were undertaken until now were balanced and well-considered and that they make it possible for all those serving in the IDF to fully serve,” said Afek.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.