Israeli Gay Rights Activist and Television Star Assi Azar to Speak at URI, March 31

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KINGSTON, R.I. — February 25, 2016 — Israeli television star, Assi Azar will speak at the University of Rhode Island on Thursday, March 31 at 7 p.m. Free and open to the public, the program will be held at the Gender and Sexuality Center, 19 Upper College Rd.

Co-host of Israel’s versions of “Big Brother” and “American Idol” (The Rising Star), Azar is one of the most popular, likable and influential entertainment personalities in Israel. He has used his celebrity and visibility to speak out for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) community, and was selected by “Out” magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential LGBTQ people in 2009.

Azar will screen and discuss his 45 minute documentary film “Mom and Dad: I Have Something to Tell You.” The film, which was aired nationally on Israeli television, tells the story of his and others’ coming out to their Israeli parents and the journey the parents undergo as a result.

In the discussion to follow the film, Azar will address what it is like to be gay in Israel in terms of laws and societal acceptance; the relationship between the LGBTQ communities and the religious communities in Israel; differences between Israeli and American society regarding gay issues; and gay rights in the Middle East.

The program is co-sponsored by URI Hillel, the Gender and Sexuality Center and the Harrington School of Communication and Media. This program is funded in part by the Hineinu Department of Hillel International.

This event is one of several programs planned as part of URI’s annual LGBTQ Symposium taking place March 28-April 2. For more information about the symposium, please contact Annie Kosar at

For more information please contact Amy Olson, URI Hillel, 401-874-2740.