Sweden’s Ambassador to Israel, H.E. Carl Magnus Nesser, together with his colleague, the ambassador from El Salvador, H. E. Werner Matias Romero hosted a reception on Wednesday at the Swedish ambassadorial residence in Herzlia Pituach, to recognize IDAHOT – the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia; a worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversities.

When men and women with status in society proudly proclaim that sexual and gender identity is no longer an issue – this is after all 2017 – their words carry a lot of weight. Especially for youth (and their parents) struggling to come to terms with their own sexuality and identity problems.

Among the guests – mainly leaders of the LGBT community in Israel, were several representatives of other embassies in Israel and at least two Knesset members: Notable to grace the event was H.E Ambassador David Quarry (British ambassador to Israel) together with his spouse, Aldo Oliver Henriquez; MK Amir Ohana; MK Meirav Ben Ari; Nathan Rarick of the US Embassy, with his spouse Alexandro; Roger Atwood (spouse of Amb. Romero); and others.

The atmosphere was warm and inviting. Guests mingled, enjoying the generous refreshments and meal.
Both ambassador hosts addressed the gathering briefly. Amb. Romero thanked his diplomatic colleague for hosting the gathering at his home, and welcomed all the guests. Responding, Amb. Nesser thanked the guests for attending and spoke briefly of Sweden’s long history of changing the way society there accepts and welcomes equality for all genders and sexual identities. With humor and empathy, he also took leave of Israel as ambassador, as he will be returning to his native Sweden in June.

Israel is already a country known for its acceptance of non-standard sexual identities, but has a long way to go. Events such as these will help change societal norms, so that in the near future, sexuality will really be a ho-hum issue here too.

 Photo  by David Goland