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Assi Azar discusses film 'Mom and Dad, I Have Something to Tell You,' and his own coming out

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Israeli TV star Assi Azar, 32, told his parents he is gay when he was 24½.

"I came out to the public when I was 25," said Azar, who will attend a screening Tuesday night of his new documentary, Mom and Dad, I Have Something to Tell You, at the Miami Beach Cinematheque, 1130 Washington Ave.

"When I came out, it was the early stage of my career," Azar said. "I was a TV host for kids. My agent told me that if I came out, it would ruin my career and it would never move forward."

The opposite happened, he said.

"People had something to talk to me about. I was the gay host."

Since coming out, Azar also became TV and print spokesman for a high-end design center in Israel.

Azar created Mom and Dad, a 45-minute-long unscripted coming-out documentary, from the parents' perspective. He interviewed mothers and fathers of Tehila, an Israeli "version of PFLAG."

He also spoke with young people who attend an LGBT youth center in Israel where a mass shooting took place a few years ago.

Azar even interviewed his own folks for the movie.

"The issue my parents had -- they think I'm wrong, that I'm not gay. 'Tel Aviv made you gay,' they say. I did such a good job hiding it, they couldn't believe it."

Now, his parents "understand I have to respect the lifestyle I chose for myself."

Azar is careful to point out that when he says "lifestyle," he doesn't mean his sexual orientation, which he believes is genetic.

"I chose my words very carefully," he said. "I had two [lifestyle] choices: to live as a gay man or to deny it and live as a straight man."

IF YOU GO

MOM AND DAD, I HAVE SOMETHING TO TELL YOU

(Documentary by Assi Azar/Israel/2011/45min.)

"Mom and Dad, I have something to tell you" is a documentary film about the journey parents are forced to take once their children tell them they are gay or lesbian. Until now all documentaries about the subject of coming out of the closet have been from the point of view of the person taking that step, and for the first time we try to understand what happens to those parents after their child tells them he is gay, or their daughter confesses she is a lesbian.

Filmmaker and rising Israeli TV star Assi Azar will be in attendance!

Assi's appearance courtesy of the Israeli Consulate.

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