Riding the wave of a successful Gay Pride week in June, Tel Aviv's gay community has something else to celebrate - the city's Hilton Beach has been named as one of the 10 best gay beaches in the world.
In honor of Pride month, LGBT travel website Gaycities.com compiled its annual list of the top 10 best gay beaches, complete with photos from each of the beaches.
Hilton Beach, which has long been a popular spot for Tel Aviv's gay community, was recognized in the list that featured some of the most popular and famous gay beaches around the world including Miami's 12th Street Beach, Farme de Amoedo in Rio, Sydney's North Bondi Beach and Playa de las Balmins in Sitges, Spain.
The website refers to the gay life in Tel Aviv as "by far the most vibrant and eclectic in the Middle East."
Gaycities.com says that "Hilton Beach is not just any gay beach, but a hotspot packed with sunbathers, both olive-skinned locals and visitors from all over the world, looking to experience the city’s flavor and get rid of their tan lines."
Back in January the same travel website named Tel Aviv the best gay city of 2011.
The write-up referred to Tel Aviv as “the city that never takes a break” and called the LGBT life there “perhaps the most vibrant in the Middle East.” The website praised the openness of the city by the sea and said that thanks to “the democratic tradition of Israel, the gay community enjoys political freedom as in no other middle-eastern country.”
Gaycities.com said that “rarely a month goes by that Tel Aviv
isn’t celebrating some musical or cultural event,” adding that “huge dance
parties” host local and European DJs each weekend.
Tel Aviv garnered the
support of 43 percent of the website’s voters, followed by New York City (14%),
Toronto (7%), Sao Paolo (6%), Madrid (5%), London (5%), New Orleans (4%) and
Mexico City (4%).
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai greeted the news by writing on his Facebook page that “victory in this competition further
highlights the fact that Tel Aviv is a city that respects all people equally,
and allows all people to live according to their values and desires. This is a
free city in which everyone can feel proud, and be proud of who they
Ben Hartman contributed to this report