Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ITVS and Howard University Television air "City of Borders": religion and sexual orientation in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Israel

On Tuesday June 29 Howard University Television (WHUT on PBS) aired “City of Borders”, directed by Yun Suh, a 66-minute documentary compressed into about 58 minutes for airing. The printed television listings had incorrectly listed the film as 30 minutes.

The film centers around a gay bar in Jerusalem, the Shushan, and traces the lives of several patrons from both Jewish and Palestinian or Islamic communities. One young Palestinian man talks about being gay on the West Bank (Ramallah, a town destroyed by Israeli forces a few years ago). A few of them describe acts of violence against them; one shows considerable disfiguring scars; one boy talks about being responsible for younger siblings (even while gay), as part of mideastern family culture. There is a lot of material about the 2006 gay pride parade in Jersualem. One man goes to Tel Aviv, and shows it as a city of relative freedom. At the end, one man goes to Cleveland, where he has a partner, and he discusses the fact that even if he could legally marry, his lover could not get him a green card to come into the United States, as would be the case with a straight couple. He does mention DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996.

The website for the film is here.

The film comes from “Television’s Independent Voice” (ITVS) and the Center for Asian American Media.

I’m reminded of a 2001 film called “Bethlehen Diary” (Proxima Films) about the West Bank; I saw it at the University of Minnesota.

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