More than a thousand people arrived at the Gan Meir Park in Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon to participate in the 10th Gay Pride Parade. The marchers began at the park, where a municipal center for the gay community was opened last week, and will finish at Gordon Beach, where a party is planned to take place.
During the parade, participants shouted, “Are there any homosexuals here? And the crowd answered “yes”.
Dganit, one of the participants, said that her goal is for homosexuals to seem less like a phenomenon and more like an integral part of society. “The time has come for two males kissing on the street to be legitimate, even outside of Tel Aviv.
"We also want the right to same-sex marriages and adoption. Our message is not political but social.” According to Dganit, in the last few years the parade has been too provocative. “It doesn’t have to be a street party,” she said.
Morry, a Japanese tourist, arrived at the parade and said that “it was amazing, I know that this is prohibited in Judaism and still many people arrived, even the mayor is supportive. This is something that would never happen in Japan.”
Colors of Tel Aviv on Friday. (Yaron Brener)
A line of public figures spoke with the participants before the parade took off. Tel Aviv City Councilwoman Yael Dayan said “you are my brothers and sisters and I love you.”
MK Zahava Gal-On, chairwoman of the Meretz
party discussed the importance of the event. “This parade is a demonstration against those harming the freedom of expression. We are struggling for equality and respect and we have a long way to go. No one will stop us, we will be here again next year and we will be victorious.”
Queer as folk. (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Information booths were waiting for the marchers at the Gan Meir Park and some of the activists distributed materials and condoms. In addition, AIDS tests and quick responses were provided.
The municipal center opened will coordinate all of the community’s organizational activities. Tel Aviv City Councilman Itai Pinkas, who has been working on the center for more than five years, said, “We decided not to put a fence around the center because we feel good in Tel Aviv, we want everyone and we feel wanted. The center will be open at all times.”
The event will include a same-sex marriage presentation sponsored by the Six Colors Organization. The parade’s organizers clarified that they are not interested in causing unnecessary provocations, but rather to heighten people’s awareness of the gay-lesbian community in Israel.
Ten right-wing activists protested against the parade, no riots were reported.
Avi Cohen contributed to this report