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A little bit about me

My name is Ayala Katz. I was born in Israel (1961), raised in Givatayim, where I met my first husband, Rami. In 1990, when I was 29 years old and the mother of a 7 year old boy and 1 year old baby, Rami was killed in an IDF training exercise (“1st Tze’elim Disaster”). Five years later, I met Gili. Together we built a combined family, with my, his, and our kids.

On August 1, 2009, my 26 year old son Nir was murdered in an LGBTQ hate crime, together with a 16 years old girl. Many others were wounded, physically and psychologically. The “Bar Noar” was a center for LGBT youth in Tel Aviv where Nir worked as a volunteer counselor. 

Following Nir’s death, I was invited to become the Chairperson of the LGBT parents’ support organization, Tehila. One of the highlights of that time was a visit of the right wing Education Minister in the LGBT Center in Tel Aviv. I served in this position from December 2009 until February 2011. I worked to promote Tehila in the media and foster cooperation between Tehila and other LGBT organizations in Israel and abroad. During 2011, I wrote a weekly opinion column on Ma’ariv’s website, where I discussed a range of issues and current events and focused many columns specifically on LGBT issues.

The main project I pushed forward was the establishment of the Nir Katz Center for Violence, Discrimination, and Homophobia Reporting in Tel Aviv, which opened in August of 2012. Sponsored by the Israeli LGBT Association, the Nir Katz Center operates a helpline to field complaints of LGBT abuse and offers concrete psychosocial and legal support to victims of violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, using Israeli LGBT Association services. 
The center became the source of information on LGBT hate crimes and discrimination, enabling activism in the parliament, the police and other organizations.

Rather than remaining private with the pain of my loss, I chose, again, to act with the power of the pain, the sadness and the hope that the world can be a better place.

I began to speak up publicly – over and over again, in interviews and on stages at rallies, conferences, and in schools, high-tech companies, academic conferences and classes, in a culture riddled with prejudice against LGBT persons, about the dignity of human life regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. On top of public speaking and writing, I worked with LGBT organizations on a variety of projects, especially in several projects with IGY, Israeli Gay Youth.
In addition to interviews with the media, I was speaking at many human rights, academic, and LGBT events, including Gay Pride Parades in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Beersheba, Rainbow Families Association funding conferences, and other events, as well as programs geared towards educating high school students about LGBT issues. I was also speaking at LGBT - related conferences at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Tel Aviv University, Netanya Academic College, Academic Business School in Rishon LeZion, and Emek HaYarden College.

I was invited to speak at the MANEO International Conference “Building a Queer and Tolerant Neighbourhoods” in Berlin in 2011, and participated in working groups at this conference as well, and in several other meetings in Berlin during the years, including the police department, city hall and the German Foreign Ministry. On 2014 I had several speaking events in the US.
Some formal facts about me:
I received a B.A. from Tel Aviv University in Sociology and Education in 1983 and an M.A. from Lesley University, Israel, in Interdisciplinary Studies with a specialization in Group Leadership and Arts in 2008.
I had over twenty years of experience working in the field of software development and information technology, as well as experience in systems analysis, project and technology management, group facilitation, and leadership training. 
I love to study, so I have also studied Master NLP, Guided Imagery, Buddhist Psychology and many other. Now (2023 forward) I study Existential Psychotherapy.

Ayala Katz profile photo
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