Hit Israeli TV series breaks new ground on gay sexuality

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Hit Israeli TV series breaks new ground on gay sexuality

The Israeli production of the international hit “Dancing with the Stars” broke new ground on Tuesday when it became the show’s first version to introduce a same-sex duo as dance partners.

In the live broadcast, statuesque blonde Gili Shem Tov, an openly lesbian sports presenter, shimmied onto the stage in a skimpy dress, fishnet stockings and dangly earrings alongside her petite, straight partner, professional dancer Dorit Milman, who wore an identical outfit.

Before performing their piece, Milman gave Shem Tov a sisterly kiss on the cheek.

At a prebroadcast run-through earlier in the day Shem Tov told AFP that she had asked to dance with another woman because it was comfortable for her.

“For me it felt natural. I live with a woman, we are raising my son,” she said. “It’s not an issue.”

Shem Tov said her decision was driven partly by a desire to encourage Israeli society to become more accepting.

“If by doing that, even only a few people will be more tolerant or open-minded, so I achieved my goal,” she told journalists.

Israel’s gay community is hardly cloistered - the country hosts an annual gay pride parade and has a thriving gay club scene in Tel Aviv, the capital.

But intolerance of gays is also one of the few issues that unites the country’s religious Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities, and a 2009 poll found 46 percent of Israelis consider homosexuality a “perversion.”

Shem Tov said most of the reactions to her pairing with Milman were positive, with messages of support coming in from around the world.

But she said others expressed concern about the sight of a same-sex duo on a “family show.”


AFP
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