Thirteen years after winning the Eurovision Song Contest with Diva in 1998 Dana International was back again representing Israel with her self composed entry Ding Dong as she attempted to win the title again. Dana’s victory in the 1998 contest had a strong impression on the world, and she became a cultural icon. In Israel (which has participated in Eurovision almost every year since 1973), on the night of the 1998 victory, thousands of people celebrated on the streets, and Dana has been a star ever since.
When I travel or speak with Israeli people and describe what I do for a living her name will come up within three minutes. It is like clock-work. I say something about Trans rights in English. The person I am speaking with asks what that means. Someone who is also Israeli and standing near us or involved in the conversation interjects and simply says, “Dana, you know Dana International.” Dana International has become synonymous with not only the rights of Trans people but the full LGBT spectrum of identities. It is amazing.
Although she was sadly voted out of Eurovison Thursday night the history of this extraordinary woman has helped change the understanding of LGBT civil rights not only in Israel but also across the globe. Take a look at this BBC video talking about her impact on our world:
I hope that you will be able to join me at our Federations’ LGBT Alliance booth celebrating Dana International and her contributions to our global community at Israel in the Gardens this June 5 in San Francisco.