Tel Aviv Pride Flourishes As LGBTQ Community Still Seeks Rights

At noon on Friday, June 9, Tel Aviv’s annual Pride Parade will step off from the Tel Aviv Gay Community Center in Meir Park, with the theme of “Bisexual Visibility.” But as the procession has flourished to become the largest such celebration in the Middle East and Asia, some activists are struggling to reconcile the international image of the parade as “fun in the sun” with what they say is long-stalled progress in fighting homophobia and securing resources for Israel’s LGBT community.


A building on Dizengoff street, Tel Aviv, this week.

Rainbow flags adorn balconies and line the streets of Tel Aviv as the city gears up for its annual Gay Pride Parade.

Tens of thousands people are expected to flock to the Mediterranean coastline this weekend for Friday’s event.

But as the procession has flourished to become the largest such celebration in the Middle East and Asia, some activists are struggling to reconcile the international image of the parade as “fun in the sun” with what they say is long-stalled progress in fighting homophobia and securing resources for Israel’s LGBT community – especially for gays living outside the “Tel Aviv bubble.”

“500 cases a year of homophobic attacks have been reported [to Aguda, the National Association of LGBT in Israel] and there are still thousands more that are not reported on because we are so used it,” said Chen Arieli, chair of Aguda.

MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), a prominent LGBT rights proponent in the Knesset, said progress on LGBT rights in Israel is coming from civil society, not from legislation.

“Every year many bills are being submitted and rejected,” she remarked, “Unfortunately I don’t see a reason for that to change.”

Read the full story in the Jerusalem Post

Tel Aviv was dubbed “the world’s gayest city” by The Boston Globe and “the gay capital of the Middle East” by Out Magazine.
Last year’s Pride Festival attracted 200,000 people including some 30,000 tourists from around the world. The parade is part of a weeklong Pride Festival sponsored by the municipality from June 4 to 10. A Pride 2017 tourist information truck is parked this week at Hilton Beach — the LGBT community’s second home throughout the year. read more on Israel21c