Blood splatters are seen on the walls of the community center for gay and lesbian youths in Tel Aviv, that reopens today, two days after it was the scene of a deadly rampage that left two dead and 15 wounded. There is an excellent report at the Jerusalem Post which describes many Israeli gay youth as "frightened, scared and in shock". The return to the community center is said to be "too scary to contemplate" for many youth, who are turning to online forums for support.
Liri Avrahami, manager of the gay youth forum at the Hebrew Web portal Tapuz, said the reaction of gay youth was essentially one of anxiety, and many posters to the forum expressed fear for their personal safety. "I think yesterday's event is simply terrifying!" wrote one user. Others said they were frightened, scared and in shock.
"They're afraid to come to Tel Aviv, and specifically, to attend gay youth events," Avrahami told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. "They say they don't intend to return to the community centers or even to just hang out in the mall in Tel Aviv. They're plain scared."
Usually, gay youth from all over the country flock to such centers in Tel Aviv, but many now feel those safe havens have been compromised, said Avrahami. The fact that the gunman is still at large only exacerbates the fear of being targeted.
Some gay youth are nervous not only about being attacked, but also about being forced out of the closet prematurely. "In essence, they're afraid they'll get shot and their parents will find out and judge them," Avrahami said.
But at the same time many young gay youth are afraid of returning, many others refuse to be frightened and are taking to the streets . Israeli gay activist Oded Katzman tells the Post: "I am standing at a street corner near to where the shooting happened, and there are a thousand people here. They are waving gay pride flags, wearing IDF uniforms, the shirt of the scouts and they are determined not to be afraid."