Happy Pride Month everybody!!
It is the month of June again and all over world, members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies are celebrating.
Last June, I came out on this blog and on my social media, after being inspired by the legalisation of same-sex marriages throughout the whole of USA. Something that was all over the news, this time last year.
But this June, I’ve done something even more exciting that I’ve wanted to do for many years… I went to the LGBT Pride Parade for the very first time!
Specifically, Tel Aviv‘s LGBT Pride Parade.
For those of you who have never been… Tel Aviv is a vibrant, metropolitan city in the centre of Israel, and is considered to be the Gay Capital of the Middle East. Over 100,000 people come to celebrate (over 200,000 people arrived this year), with over 20,000 tourists coming to Israel specifically for this event, making Tel Aviv’s LGBT Pride Parade the biggest in all of the Middle East & Asia!
Tel Aviv is so LGBTQ+ friendly, that it was actually named the best gay travel destination of 2011, in the world.
Not bad, eh?
This year, I got to experience the festivities and celebrations for myself. And trust me… I had a blast!
And luckily, I was able to take plenty of photos, so now I’m going to show you how truly amazing Tel Aviv’s LGBT Pride Parade of 2016 was.
Around The City
My sisters (my companions for the festivities) and myself, took a bus into the city and even as we were walking to the starting point, we saw that the city was filled with LGBT-related decorations.
“In short, with pride.”
The Happening at Gan Meir
Then we arrived at Gan Meir (Meir Park), which is a well-known location for the community as it holds the main LGBT centre of the country. It was in Gan Meir that there was a massive, rainbow-filled happening which lasted 2 hours.
After entering in the park, we were able to see just how massive and exciting the happening was.
There were so many stalls showcasing and supporting the many different groups and organisations within the LGBTQ+ community and many LGBTQ+ related activities and trinkets on display, as well.
“Beit Dror (Dror House) – The Freedom to Choose”
“Proyect Barak (Lightning Project) – Transgenders Talk Gender.”
“Ma’avarim (Transitions) – Sustainable Change for The Trans Community.”
One of my absolute favourite findings in the happening, was the children’s book about being a transgendered kid.
“I Just Want To Be Me”
As well as seeing the organisation Tehila, which is an organisation that supports and educates the parents of LGBTQ+ kids, on how to be supportive and accepting of their kids.
From left to right: “Parents Love Without Conditions”, “Equal Rights For Our Children.”
“I’m a Proud Mum”.
The organisation Tnu Le’Khiot Likhiot (Let The Animals Live) even showed up to demonstrate their support and pride by exhibiting items that were both LGBTQ+ and animal friendly.
And when we saw this shirt, we just had to get it. Especially because the theme of this year’s pride parade was Women For A Change.
We couldn’t help but get this too.
We even got plenty of stickers to wear on our person and collected many interesting and informative fliers.
“We were born naked, all the rest is drag”. -RuPaul.
The information booklet about Tel Aviv’s LGBT International Film Festival.
“Marching for the Fight Against Homophobia!”
The top pamphlet says: “This is how you’ll be trans-friendly!”.
There were also plenty of performances, music and dancing that people got to enjoy and even participate in.
And a circle was formed where people could dance inside.
And all around the park, there were people who were having a good time and showing their pride.
These beautiful queens were posing for the adoring cameras.
And even my sister decided to spruce herself up with a dash of rainbow magic.
But after two full hours of fun in Gan Meir, it was time to take our pride out onto the streets. We collectively exited the park and began the pride parade with lots of pride spirit.
“Together with pride we’ll fight against LGBTphobia and hatred”.
“Proud to fight sexism”.
There was loads of music…
So many balloons…
And plenty of people watching the parade from the sidelines.
Some of them were even generously spraying us with water, so we could cool down in the heat.
“We want RIGHTS not parties.”
There were so many people there.
Including plenty of tourists who came specifically for the parade.
This was also one of my favourite sightings of the day because despite what some people believe, religion and queerness aren’t mutually exclusive.
“Proud Religious Community”
Eventually, we turned the corner and made our way to the beach.
And it was there that we saw an awesome float with dancers and drag queens.
And then who do I see has showed up? …None other than Lea DeLaria, actress of Orange is the New Black fame and Alan Cumming, Tony award winning actor & director.
It turns out that both were appointed as ambassadors for this years LGBT Pride in Tel Aviv and were also speaking at the TLV Fest, Tel Aviv’s International LGBT Film Festival.
Leaving the Party
After 4 hours of insane fun (and of being in the extreme heat), we decided that we’ll call it a day and started to head home. But even as we were heading to the bus stop, we still managed to spot one more awesome rainbow.
And those were all the photos that I wanted to share from Tel Aviv’s LGBT Pride Parade in 2016!
I had so much fun at Tel Aviv’s LGBT Pride Parade this year and I definitely want to celebrate again next year too.
Israel is not perfect when it comes to our community (same-sex marriages are still not legal for instance, although some politicians have been trying to change that), but as you can see there is such a vibrant LGBTQ+ community and scene here that I would highly recommend you visit, even just to experience the pride celebrations and active scene here.
You definitely won’t regret it 🙂
Have you ever celebrated in an LGBT Pride Parade and if so, where? If you haven’t yet, would you like to?
Be Brave & Be Kind,
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Hey I'm Ella. I began my travel life by fulfilling my dream of volunteering abroad in Kenya, at the age of 21. That trip changed the whole course of my life and now I'm the creator and manager of Wide-Eyed Wanderer, a blog where I share every travel-related experience, musing and lesson that I've had since. Welcome to our community and don't be scared to join the conversation!
Life for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Russia has just gotten worse, following a new law in the State Duma banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” among minors. The law states that “it is essential to put in place measures which provide for the intellectual, moral and mental well-being of children, including a ban on any activities aimed at popularizing homosexuality … including instilling distorted ideas that society places an equal value on traditional and nontraditional sexual relations.” While “it would not be an offence to be a person of homosexual orientation,” activists worry the wording of the law is vague enough to leave officials across Russia the freedom to harass, intimidate and ultimately prosecute LGBT people on flimsy grounds.
The law, which follows years of creeping anti-homosexual legislation in a number of Russia's regions, has been widely condemned by foreign governments, especially leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Most recently, the Associated Press reports, on the opening day of the games, Feb. 7, 2014, Russian police arrested at least four gay rights activists in St. Petersburg with a banner reading, “discrimination is incompatible with the Olympic Movement. Principle 6. Olympic Charter.”
The penalties for transgressing this law are harsh. For Russians it could mean fines of up to $150, for officials up to $1,500 and for organizations engaging in “propaganda," up to $30,000. Engaging in these activities on the Internet, however loosely defined, carries significantly harsher fines. For foreigners the penalties are no less harsh, carrying a 15-day prison sentence and/or deportation from the country. What actually constitutes "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" among minors, however, has left many in the dark.
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View more work by Mads Nissen here.