This years Tel-Aviv Gay Pride Parade will take place on the 7th June 2013, tens of thousands of spectators and participants are expected from Israel and abroad. This will be Tel-Aviv’s 16th annual parade which is part of a week-long celebration of the LGBT community in Israel. The Pride Parade was originally called the Love Parade and when it began there was much disagreement and controversy due to the large religious community in Israel and conservative viewpoints. At the time many of the participants were prominent political and cultural figures who helped to promote equal rights and freedom of expression. Today the atmosphere is much more liberal, the gay community is embraced by most Israelis and the parade is no longer a political issue. The huge celebration of love, equality and freedom is attended by gay and straight people alike and an incredible party atmosphere prevails. The Tel-Aviv Pride Parade was the first in Asia and there are now other Pride Parades held (on a smaller scale) in other Israeli cities, like for example Eilat. Tel-Aviv’s parade is also the largest in Asia, in 2012 150,000 people participated.
This is the 2012 pride prade, video by tour guide Zahi Shaked
As part of the week-long celebration there will also be art exhibitions (Night Stamp at Beit Ha’ir), parties, lectures, festivals and the annual LGBT Film Festival. Tel-Aviv is also home to the LGBT Center which services the community with issues like health care, cultural events and support groups. Tel-Aviv has a thriving gay community with bars and nightclubs (Dreck, Evita, Shirazi, ADD) geared towards LBTB revelers. The Tel-Aviv Hilton Beach is unofficial a gay beach and was voted one of the world’s top 10 gay beaches. In 2012 the city as a whole was voted the World’s Best City of Gay tourism by gayCities.com 2011. You will generally find wide acceptance by the Israeli population of the gay community, with many openly gay (and much loved) stars in the entertainment industry and even Israeli couples who celebrate their marriage in private ceremonies.
The parade will include extravagant floats, marching groups, dance groups, music and entertainers. The Tel-Aviv Pride Parade will begin at 10am at Me’ir Park (Gan Me’ir) with musical performances and celebrity appearances. The parade will then proceed( at 1pm) down Bugrashov Street, turn north into Ben Yehuda St, west into Arlozorov St. and then south towards Gordon Beach where the parade will culminate in a huge beach party. Entrance to the beach party is free and it will be hosted by model Bar Refaeli, there will also be well known DJs and live performances by Israeli singers. The beach party usually goes on until the early hours of the morning and the celebrations continue over the weekend.