Tel Aviv Pride
Tel Aviv Pride (Hebrew: גאווה תל אביבית) 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 the Pride Parade.
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 beach party on the seafront. The Parade is part of the biggest pride celebration in continental Asia, drawing more than 100,000 people in 2011 alone, approximately 5,000 of them tourists. 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.
As a part of Tel Aviv culture
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. In recent years, the Parade's reputation for inclusiveness, along with Tel Aviv's world-class status as a gay-friendly destination and a top party city, has attracted more that 100,000 participants, many of them from around the world.
By 2000, the Parade had evolved from being a political demonstration and became more of a social-entertainment event and street celebration.
The eleventh Tel Aviv Pride Parade, which took place in 2008, was accompanied by the opening of the LGBT Centre in Tel Aviv. This is the first municipal gay centre in Israel, whose purpose is to provide services specifically for members of the city's LGBT community - such as health care, cultural events, meetings of different LGBT groups, a coffee shop, and many others.
During the 2009 Pride Parade, which coincided with the centennial celebration of Tel Aviv's historic establishment as a city, five same-sex couples got married in what was called "the wedding of the century" by the Israeli celebrity Gal Ochovsky.
The Parade on 10 June 2011 grew to an estimated 100,000 participants and included official representatives of LGBT groups from global companies such as Google and Microsoft. (Tel Aviv boasts one of the largest concentrations of hi-tech companies of any city in the world.)
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 Gardens (from Gordon Beach) for its much-larger space (the previous location could no longer accommodate the increasingly overwhelming crowds). The event was hosted by Israeli actress/supermodel Moran Attias, with performances by Israel's transgendered superstar Dana International, the Israeli representative for 2014's Eurovision talent contest Mei Feingold, and the Israeli actress/pop-rock star Ninet.
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