Tel Aviv Pride is an annual, week-long series of events in Tel Aviv that celebrate Israel‘s LGBT community life, scheduled during the second week of June, as part of the international observance of Gay Pride Month. The most-attended event is Pride Parade which is the largest in the Middle East.
Tel Aviv was the first location in Israel where “gay” events were organised and also the first city in Israel to host a gay pride parade. Tel Aviv Pride parade today is the biggest pride celebration in continental Asia, drawing more than 100,000 people.
The Tel Aviv Pride Parade, originally known as the Tel Aviv Love Parade, started in 1997; it assembles and begins at Meir Park, then travels along Bugrashov Street, Ben Yehuda Street and Ben Gurion Boulevard, and culminates in a party in Charles Clore Park on the seafront.
In the early years of the Pride Parade, the majority of participants were politically motivated. Later on, as the parade grew, people who took part came with the notion that the parade should focus on LGBT rights, equality and equal representation, and should not be used as a stage for radical politics, which are not accepted by most of the parade’s participants. Gradually, the parade came to be less political due to the scale and diversity of participation.
By 2000, the parade had evolved from being a political demonstration and became more of a social-entertainment event and street celebration.
In 2012, the parade attracted crowds exceeding 100,000, making it again the largest gay pride event in the Middle East and Asia. The event is advertised all around the world by Tourism Ministry (Israel), marking the city of Tel Aviv as “the” premiere LGBT tourism destination.
For 2014, with an anticipated parade attendance of 150,000, a decision was made to move the after-parade beach party to Charles Clore Park (from Gordon Beach) for its much-larger space (the previous location could no longer accommodate the increasingly overwhelming crowds).
Pride should be celebrated everywhere, it is events like these that bring people together and leave politics out (most of the time). After all, we are all one – human, be yourself.