OMG! It’s adoooooorbs! Yesterday, the Israel Defense Forces posted a photo on their Facebook timeline of two male soldiers holding hands. The caption challenged: “It’s Pride Month. Did you know that the IDF treats all of its soldiers equally? Let’s see how many shares you can get for this photo.”
As of 4:17pm Eastern Standard Time, the delightfully casual pic of one man chatting on his cell phone while the other totes a big, scary machine gun got 6,908 shares, 9,010 likes, and 1,284 comments, and majorly counting. Interestingly, the comments are divided between naysayers and supporters.
Israel has allowed openly gay soldiers to serve since 1993, with the passage of an anti-discrimination law. Ironically, that’s the same year “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” passed in the United States.
The Times of Israel reports that the photo is staged. The men are not a couple, and one of them is straight.
Before anyone cries “Foul!”, this is actually better. A gay man and a straight man holding hands couldn’t be a more comforting sign of acceptance, friendship, alliance and unity between gay and straight soldiers. The army isn’t about finding romance. It’s not about gay soldiers hooking up. It’s about fighting for your citizens while standing by your fellow countryman, regardless of his or her sexual orientation. Gay and straight holding hands together in joint cause is the greatest symbol of equality we can think of. We’d love to see a similar gesture from two American soldiers, wouldn’t you?