TA Gay Pride set to paint town all kinds of colors

Thousands of tourists expected to attend this year's event which will focus on periphery's link with Tel Aviv.

Gay pride flag 370 (photo credit: Yoni Cohen)
Gay pride flag 370
(photo credit: Yoni Cohen)
Tel Aviv Gay Pride has become well-known around the world over the past few years for the successful events held in the city and this year organizers are trying to spread the pride around the country with a week of events at the beginning of June under the banner "Pride Flags Countrywide."
Though the central events will all take place in Tel Aviv, everyone in the country should be able to walk the streets with pride, the Tel Aviv mayor's advisor on Gay Community Affairs explained Wednesday at a colorful press conference.
"The message that we chose this year actually casts spotlight outside the city, on the periphery and the periphery's connection with Tel Aviv-Jaffa as Israel's secular and gay capital," Yaniv Weizman, who is also a member of the City Council, told reporters in Tel Aviv. "Most of the gays, lesbians and transgenders who currently live in Tel Aviv were not born in the city and have strengthened our pride by coming from all over the country."
Gay pride (photo: Ziv Sadeh)Gay pride (photo: Ziv Sadeh)
The main event, The Gay Pride March, will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 8, with a community happening at Meir Park with musical performances, celebrity appearances and speeches by public figures such as Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz.
The parade itself will begin at 1 p.m. and will include a procession of floats and organized groups of marchers who will be accompanied by thousands of supporters waving pride flags and enjoying the fine summer weather. The parade will leave Meir Park, travel down Bugrashov Street then pass through Ben Yehuda Street onto Arlozorov Street, ending with a beach party at Gordon Beach starting at 3 p.m. Appearing on the central stage at Gordon Beach will be some of Tel Aviv's top DJs including Offer Nissim, Tal Cohen and Avihai Partok. Internationally recognized Israeli musicians Ivri Lider and Jonny Goldstein, the two main members of the pop-dance group The Young Professionals, will be hosting Uriel Yekutiel on stage.
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Last year an estimated 100,000 people took part in the parade, carrying colorful banners calling for equality under the banner “Being gay is ‘shaveh’ [worthwhile/ equal]. Organizers expect similar numbers this year.
Thousands of tourists are expected to arrive in Tel Aviv for the celebrations, which will kick off a week before the main parade. From June 1 till June 7, Hilton Beach will be decorated with gay pride flags and chill out music will entertain locals and tourists alike. The beach, which is popular among the local gay community, will host some of the city's leading clubs between midday and sunset everyday that week.
For those who want the full lowdown of all the up-to-date events, a brochure in Hebrew and English outlining the different Gay Pride Week events will be distributed on the beach.
Organizers promised a number of colorful surprises in the lead up to the main event. On Tuesday, a pedestrian crossing near the Habima theater was painted in the colors of the gay pride rainbow flags. The colorful crossing was quickly painted white again, not because of opposition to the move, but simply because it posed a safety hazard, Weizman explained.
For those looking for something a little more cultured to get in the mood before the big parties begin, there will be a cultural festival held at Tel Aviv's Pride Center between May 25 and June 7. The festival will include theater and dance performances as well as lectures on topics such as BDSM, gay politics and gay surrogacy. The festival, which is backed by the Ministry of Culture and Sports, will include exhibitions and galleries featuring works by leading gay artists from Israel.
If the build-up events and the parade itself weren't enough, the pride festivities will continue when the 7th Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival comes to town between June 9-16. The festival will feature some of the most cutting edge gay and lesbian cinema from Israel and abroad (www.tlvfest.com)
For more information on all the upcoming events see www.telavivgayvibe.com
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