LGBTQ Leader Gila Goldstein Is Born

December 18, 1947

Actress, singer and transgender-rights activist Gila Goldstein is born as Abraham Goldstein in Turin, Italy.

Goldstein immigrates to Haifa as a child and is active with the Maccabi Haifa soccer club. Goldstein realizes by 1960 that she is female and begins using the name Gila. She works for a time as a prostitute in Haifa, then has sex reassignment surgery in Belgium. Goldstein is the first Israeli to have the surgery.

She lives and works as a dancer and stripper in Europe in the early 1970s. After returning to Israel, she sings and dances in bars and nightclubs, including Bar 51, and Amos Gutman bases a character on Goldstein in his 1986 movie “Bar 51.” Goldstein has a recording career in the 1990s and hosts a radio program with Nino Orsiano. She appears in movies in the 2000s and wins the supporting-actress award at the 2005 Miami LGBT Film Festival for her performance in “Good Boys.” She stars in an Israeli children’s television series in 2010, the year Alon Weinstock releases a documentary about Goldstein called “That’s Gila, That’s Me.”

In 1975, Goldstein helps found Aguda, Israel’s first support organization for LGBT youths, and she is best known for her activism for LGBT people. She is awarded the Israeli LGBT community prize in 2003.

Goldstein dies of a stroke Feb. 5, 2017, at age 69.