I spoke with Idan Matalon over the phone from the offices of Moovz in Tel Aviv. Moovz—which can best be described as Facebook for gays – addresses not an Israeli need but a “global need,” Matalon told me, to “provide a space for gay people who otherwise don’t have a place to express themselves, to share their thoughts” and to meet other people and make friends. It has been particularly successful in Asia and Latin America—places, in other words, without public spaces for LGBT people.
Matalon, who started out as a YouTuber and is now also a columnist on LGBT issues for the news website Mako, told me about his experience of coming out to his parents. “It was very spontaneous, I didn’t expect to tell them,” he said. Living at the time in his family home in Gan Yavne near Ashdod, over dinner “I told my parents I was going to Tel Aviv with my girlfriends. I said I was driving and my mom asked why I was driving and why I always drove.” Over time, the tension built up over the table as Matalon tried to conceal what he was actually up to in Tel Aviv. Eventually he said, “I guess you have a gay son.”
After posting a version of his coming out story onto YouTube three years ago, Matalon received many responses from Israelis who has been through similar experiences. I asked him whether, based on these comments, he thought his coming out reflected the Israeli gay experience. “I have to say coming out was easier for me,” he said. “I got the support that I needed from my family and it was easier for me to express myself. Everyone was very accepting,” including his father who has since