Tourists from all over the world, including Europe, the US and even Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, will descend on Tel Aviv this month for the city’s famous Gay Pride Parade.
The event takes place on Friday June 7th, starting at 10am from the Gay Community Center at Meir Park, with music, shows and speeches, and the parade itself kicks off at 1pm with floats from the city’s top clubs, Evita, Shirazi, ADD, and Dreck.
The parade, which is expected to attract about 100,000 people, ends on Gordon Beach with a beach party that goes until sunset. Along with DJ sets by FFF, Dreck, Arisa, Evita and Popring, there will be live performances by pop stars Omer Adam, Michal Amdursky and others.
The Tel Aviv Pride Parade is marking its 20th anniversary this year. It began in 1993 when activists in the city’s gay community set up a closet in Sheinkin Garden and asked members of the community to step out of it.
The first official Pride Parade began in 1998, and has become a major annual event supported by the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality. The event, which costs $160,000 to stage, draws tens of thousands of people every year, both from Israel and abroad. Last year, an estimated 20,000 tourists from abroad came to take part in events, and more are expected this year.
Tel Aviv has become famous worldwide for its gay scene. Last year, it was voted the world’s best city for gay tourism by GayCities.com and American Airlines, sweeping past Berlin, New York and San Francisco. The same year GayCities voted Tel Aviv’s Hilton Beach as one of the world’s Top 10 gay beaches.
Throughout the month of June, Tel Aviv will be holding a number of cultural events, lectures, exhibitions, and festivals to celebrate gay pride. This includes the 8th International LGBT Film Festival will take place at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque from June 8-17th. The Rabin Square fountain will be lit up in rainbow colors for the month.
Additional parties will be held all over the city throughout the weekend, and an exhibition, Night Stamp, which celebrates 20 years of gay nightlife in Tel Aviv will be on display.
According to organizers, this year’s parade will be attended by Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, Opposition Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich, chairwoman of Meretz Zahava Gal-On and Knesset Member Dov Khenin.
“The Pride Parade has turned into one of the symbols of the city of Tel Aviv,” said Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Ron Huldai, who will launch the parade. “I believe that Tel Aviv-Yafo, a city of tolerance, is a beacon to other cities in this issue”.