'It's worth being gay'

From street parades to beach parties, there's something for everyone at the all-accepting Tel Aviv Gay Pride 2011.

Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade 521 (photo credit: Yoni Cohen)
Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade 521
(photo credit: Yoni Cohen)
The slogan for this year's Tel Aviv Gay Pride events is “It’s worth being gay!” And indeed, it looks like it'll be worth attending as the 2011 Pride Parade, the central event of the celebrations, is set to be as big and impressive as ever.
The huge street parade set to take place on Friday, is expected to be attended by thousands of locals and tourists, and will culminate with a beach party. The parade will begin in Gan Meir at around 1:30 p.m., pass through Bograshov and Ben Yehuda Streets and end at Gordon beach.
Though the parade is the main event, the weekend's festivities will kick off on Thursday night with "Sunset Beach Cocktail" party located on the southern part of the Tel Aviv beach close to the David Intercontinental hotel in Clara, a trendy open air mega bar. The leading DJs in town will come together to host the official opening of Pride Weekend.
On Friday morning from 10:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m. there will be a two-hour Gay City Tour, which will explore the heart of Tel Aviv, telling the story of the LGBT community. Pre-booking is necessary: www. telavivgayvibe.com, NIS 60,  Starting point: Meir Tower Herzl corner of Ahad Ha’am.
For those in search of something a little more upbeat, MTV will be putting on a crazy drag celebration hosted by TLV’s most favored drag queens, performing the hottest MTV hits. Gan Meir. 10:00 a.m. till 1:30 p.m.
Some of the best DJs in town and international guests will keep the beach party going until 6:30 p.m. Performers include Lovegang (Hamburg), Erez B.I., Samuel Blacher, Israel Aharoni, Ziona Patriot, Offir Malol, Shimai (Barcelona), Oscar Loya (Berlin) and many more.
A number of parties will pump on well into the early hours of Saturday morning. Evita, popular with tourists and locals alike, will be hosting its very own Parade Party, bringing the trash back to the dance floor. Evita bar, 31 Yavne St.
For those that still have energy left on Saturday, the 6th Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival will be opened with a party named "We Will Rock You!" Three Israeli divas - Talula Bonet, Oshree, Betty Licious - will be rocking one stage. The music will be provided by DJs Mikey Hefez, Mikka Shmikka & Adi Dgani, and straight from Berlin DJ Metzgerei. ZIZI, 7 Karlibach St. 10:30 p.m. NIS 30.
The pride weekend events, which cost a total of some NIS 300,000, are mainly being organized by Tel Aviv's municipality as well as volunteers from the community.
Over 5,000 tourists were expected to arrive from overseas just to join in the celebrations, said Shai Doitsh, "Tel Aviv Gay Vibe" Brand Manager and national board member of the LGBT Aguda.
Doitsh also explained that the municipality and all other bodies are fully supportive of the events and he believes that support will only increase from year to year.
In fact, many of Tel Aviv's residents support the pride celebrations, as well as the city's mayor, Ron Huldai. He recently said that "the gay community serves as a true example of tolerance and openness, and even lights the way for other groups in Israel."