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There was a little boy. His name was Yaron and he was born in Tel Aviv (Israel). He had a very happy childhood, and although his family was quite poor, his mom always found money to pay for his music lessons. The years changed and this little boy became older, and then happened the first tragedy in his life. His best friend Daniel who he loved and admired and who prophesied Yaron a big career as a singer was deathly involved in a car accident. Yaron wanted to do mountain biking together with him on the streets of Tel Aviv but his parent’s didn’t allow it to him.

While Yaron was a teenager the power of the crazy 80s was to feet everywhere. It was the era of Madonna, Ofra Haza and other big stars of that epoch. Yaron was at high school and he tried to find himself. He visited scene clubs of his city Tel Aviv – which is one of the most liberal metropolises in the whole South Mediterranean. He became clear with something he felt since his childhood but did not understand. He wanted to be a WOMAN. And at school Yaron was one of the best students.

In the proud age of 18, the in the meantime mature, Yaron told his parents what he is planning and what he was going to do with his life. They were shocked in the first moment and felt they would not be able to come in clear with that new situation. Yaron moved out of the parental nest but he was really lucky to have such parents. After two weeks he got a phone call from his mother asking him to come back. His decision was accepted. Yaron started to earn his own money in diverse shows working as a drag-queen. He parodied famous singers and women and he was perfect as a woman. And there he was discovered by one of the famous Israeli DJs, Offer Nissim. There was no turning back since then. He took hormones and after he collected enough money he flew to London where he had a sex-change operation. A beautiful woman named Sharon was born.

A big chapter in the live of Sharon closed with that operation.

Now there was nothing that could stay in the way to realize the big dreams of Sharon’s career. In 1992 she released the first album (“Danna International”) and it became a hit in Israel. Next albums were “Umpatampa”, “E.P. Tampa”, “Maganona” and “Free”, concerts in Israel followed and fan post came only in bags since then. Dana International – so the stage name of Sharon became as popular as her songs in ethno-dance style and were listened by people from all age’s groups.

Over 5,000,000 illegal copies of Dana’s albums were sold in Egypt (Dana is forbidden in Egypt). Egypt’s “afraid of its youth” and banned Dana… (Maybe just because she is Israeli).

That young woman had to fight not only with the Arabs but also with a lot of people in her own country. Her life in Israel was often brand marked with intolerance. Especially the orthodox Jewry doesn’t want to accept her. They see a sign of the devil and a darkness in Sharon and they say Dana was a living witness for it! Well there are not only beautiful moments in a fairytale although it had a happy end.

We could say that the year 1998 was the locomotive for her career. Dana won the KDAM (the Israeli pre-Eurovision contest) and flew to Birmingham to represent her country with the song “Diva” in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Dana had luck, she won the chanson and soon the whole world heard for the first time something about Dana International. Photos and interviews followed. It was not easy for Dana to talk everywhere about her spiritual sickness, but thanks to her a lot of people in the whole world found their sense of life and were more or less fully accepted.

This article originally appeared in Transformation 71

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