As this nation prepares to re-debate the role of gays in the military, that acceptance is already a foregone conclusion by many of our allies, such as the well-regarded Israeli Defense Forces. Service is compulsory in that nation—male, female, gay and straight—and the only problem are growing numbers of draft-dodgers.
To make an example, the IDF is cracking down on celebrities "with less-than-perfect service records" and among the first in their sights is Ivri Lider, the handsome, out pop star called the "Israeli Ricky Martin." (Except he sings in Hebrew and is, umm, out) Lider's recent planned performance to celebrate the troops was abruptly canceled by the IDF. Lider explains his side of the story in an exclusive to Out's Shana Naomi Krochnal, who first profiled the singer in the March 2007 issue.
Tell me about your experience in the army. You were discharged after a month, right?
I had a really hard time. I was very confused. I went to the army psychologist, and after I went two or three times, they decided I was not suitable for the army. They signed me out and sent me home.
How did you feel about that?
I was an 18-year-old guy. I went on with my life, and when I got the chance, I really tried to give back, to give what I can to help my country. I think I did.
Lider says the IDF demanded he sign a loyalty oath and promise to continue to performing for troops. "It was a little insulting—I've been doing [this] for the last 10 years with no one asking me," he says, proudly noting that troops voted him a fan favorite for the past three years. Judge for yourself: Ivri Lider's gorgeous video is still on YouTube and in heavy rotation on Logo.