Shez in Encyclopedia of Gay Histories and Cultures

pg. 484, Encyclopedia of Gay Histories and Cultures: Volume 2, George Haggerty

Jewish Israeli writers and filmmakers have been increasingly prolific, visible, and embraced in recent years. Yotam Reuveni was the first openly gay writer; Elisheva was an openly lesbian poet; Yona Wallach was the first outspoken bisexual poet; and Amos Gutman was the first gay filmmaker. In 1993, a mainstream press published Dana Amir’s first book of homoerotic poetry; recently, another press published Noga Eshed’s collection of lesbian-themed stories, Queen-Bee’s Nectar. Poet Ilan Sheinfeld’s poetry has been well received from the start and garnered him a prestigious prize as well as loyal readers. Eytan Fox’s fourty-five-minute film Time Off (1990) was the first to deal with gays in the military; Amos Gutman’s Amazing Grace (1992) was the first to deal with AIDS. In 1994 two stage shows energized the community: the gay-themed He Has Words of His Own, which has since toured abroad in English translation; and Laila Lohet (Hot Night), a lesbian cabaret. In 1997, the amateur Zoo Show premiered a series of vignettes of lesbian life and lore. Israel’s most successful comedy group, Pessia’s Daughters, billed as “the first Zionist drag show,” had its first gig at the 1995 gay pride even sponsored by CLAF (Israeli lesbian-feminist association, established in 1987) to celebrate its new nonprofit status and reorganization. Punk rocker Shez (Efrat Yerushalmi), who was the first out lesbian performer in Israel, used Laila Lohet to launch a comeback as a poet-songwriter. Although rumor and proof abound about the “lesbigayness” of some of Israel’s most success singer-songwriters, they have chosen not to come out while performing on Israeli soil. There is no local Ellen, Elton, or Melissa.

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