AP Promotes 'Devout Gay Jew' Drag Queen

One of the most inaccurate things that secular reporters do in reporting on homosexuality and religion is in putting the words “devout” and “gay” right next to each other – even when it’s clear that the sympathetic gay characters in their stories are shedding their religious traditions in favor of their gay identity.

The New York Daily News carried a story with the headline “Shahar Hadar, 34, is part of a growing cluster of devout gay Jews in Israel. He is one of a few religious drag queens that perform on Israel's downtown circuit.”

It’s an Associated Press story by Daniel Estrin, which began: “Just shy of midnight, Shahar Hadar trades his knitted white yarmulke for a wavy blond wig and a pink velvet dress...It has been a long and agonizing metamorphosis for Hadar, 34, from being a conflicted Orthodox Jew to a proud religious gay man -- and drag queen.”

Estrin used the D-word, and then it quickly dissolved in reality: “But while Orthodox Judaism generally condemns homosexuality, there is a growing group of devout gay Jews in Israel unwilling to abandon their faith and demanding a place in the religious community.”

But it quickly becomes obvious that Hadar was literally trimming away the outward signs of devout Orthodox faith to “increase his luck on the dating scene”:

As a practicing Orthodox Jew, it hasn't been easy for Hadar to integrate into mainstream gay life. He used to tuck his shoulder-length religious side locks under a cap to fit in at bars. Eventually, he sheared his side locks and trimmed his beard to thin stubble to increase his luck on the dating scene.

He's still looking for love. But this year, Hadar found acceptance - and self-expression - at Drag Yourself, a Tel Aviv school offering 10-month courses for budding drag performers. Students learn how to teeter on high heels, apply false eyelashes and fashion their own drag personas. Hadar, still a beginner, graduates next month.

AP’s Estrin even touted how drag queens are finding unity in bra-stuffing:

The drag school, much like Israel's gay community itself, offers a rare opportunity for Israelis to interact with others from disparate and sometimes warring sectors of society. The school may be the only place where a Jewish settler, a lapsed ultra-Orthodox Jew, an Arab-Israeli and Israeli soldiers have stuffed their bras together.

Of all the students in his class, Hadar was the only one to show up wearing a yarmulke.

"I think it's fabulous," said Gil Naveh, a veteran Israeli drag queen and director of the school, as he painted Hadar's lips apple-red before his midnight debut at a Jerusalem gay bar. "He stays true to who he is."

AP and the LGBT lobby are united in championing that identity politics of being “true to who he is” – even when the “he” is trying to be a “she.” It’s just as dishonest to pretend that Hadar is a devout Orthodox Jew as he ignores the Torah on homosexuality.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis