I like Dana International. As I have said in the past, her winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1998 was a giant leap for gay acceptance in general and particularly for transsexual visibility. As a judge on Israeli Pop Idol in recent years, just by appearing in the living rooms of millions of Israelis, I believe she does more for LGBTQ equality than any Supreme Court decision could ever do.
But this post is not about her. It’s about 012 Smile, the Israeli telecommunications provider and their recent TV spot featuring Dana and Israeli comedian Eyal Kitzis who play themselves in a kind of alternative reality:
You see, LGBT acceptance is not binary; It has different shades, different grades. At the very far end there are those who define their so-called progressiveness with letting queer people live their lives just as long as they themselves don’t have to hear about it. The other side is closer to what 012 show us:
- In the ad Dana International is not asexual. This particular M2F has a male boyfriend, Kitzis, who is straight, and whom she fondly calls “Kitzi-Kitzi”.
- She also has a home, a family, a father that, much like ours, got mad when we talked too much on the telephone.
This parallel-universe-Dana seems to have had a childhood in the eighties quite similar to ours, and while all this may seem trivial to progressive-thinking-homo-lovin’ readers, it is probably not trivial to their parents.
You see, I complain quite a bit about Israeli advertising, about its lack of creativity and its sexist undertones, but for putting this ad on Israeli Channel 2 at prime time, all I can say is:
Bravo! Bravo, 012, bravo!
If advertising is harmful in its core, I believe this ad does quite a bit of good.