Painting the town all kinds of colors

Thousands of tourists are expected to attend this year’s gay pride parade, which will focus on the periphery’s link with Tel Aviv.

Gay pride parade (photo credit: Reuters)
Gay pride parade
(photo credit: Reuters)
Tel Aviv gay pride has become well known around the world 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 of “pride flags countrywide.”
Though the central events will take place in Tel Aviv, everyone in the country should be able to walk the streets with pride, the Tel Aviv mayor’s adviser on gay community affairs explained last Wednesday at a colorful press conference.
“The message that we chose this year actually casts the spotlight outside the city, on the periphery and the periphery’s connection with Tel Aviv-Jaffa as Israel’s secular and gay capital,” city council member Yaniv Weizman 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.”
The main event, the gay pride march, will begin at 10 a.m. on June 8, with a community event 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 Bograshov Street, then pass through Ben-Yehuda Street onto Arlosoroff 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 Ofer 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.
Last year an estimated 100,000 people took part in the parade, carrying colorful banners calling for equality under the slogan “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 through 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 every day that week.
For those who want the full low-down on all the events, a brochure in Hebrew and English outlining the week’s events will be distributed on the beach.
Organizers promise a number of colorful surprises in the lead-up to the main event. On Tuesday, a pedestrian crossing near Habimah Theater was painted in the colors of the gay pride rainbow flags.
The colorful crossing was quickly painted white again, not because of opposition but simply because it posed a safety hazard, Weizman explained.
To get in the mood before the big parties begin, there will be a cultural festival held at Tel Aviv’s Pride Center from May 25 to 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 Sport, will include exhibitions and galleries featuring works by leading local gay artists.
If the build-up of events and the parade itself aren’t enough, the festivities will continue when the seventh Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival comes to town between June 9 and 16. The festival will feature some of the most cutting-edge gay and lesbian cinema from Israel and abroad (
For more information on all the upcoming events, see