Tens of thousands of people participated in the annual Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade, an event that marked the conclusion of a week-long festival dedicated to the LGBT community.
Friday's festivities were kicked off with performances and speeches at Gan Meir, which were followed by a colorful procession of floats and revelers. The participants sang and danced all the way from the park, through Bugrashov, Ben Yehuda and Arlozorov Streets before joining a massive street party on Gordon Beach.
Mayor Ron Huldai, American Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro and other politicians and public figures were in attendance. Shapiro, who wore a shirt with a rainbow flag, which has become the symbol of the gay community, told Ynet that the US supports the rights of the LGBT community members in Israel and around the world.
Tens of thousands on streets (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Free love in pride parade (Photo: Yaron Brener)
May Peleg, a transgender woman, told Ynet that "Israel's transgender community has been discriminated against all year, both by the gay and lesbian communities, and by the general public. We are only now starting to enjoy rights that gays and lesbians received 30 years ago," she said.
Yuval Topper and Mattan Erez, the two first gay biological fathers in Israel told Ynet: "We hope that our son can grow up in a better place than where we did," adding that the Interior Ministry still refuses to recognize Mattan as their son's biological father.
Opposition Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich carried a speech saying, "I have been a supporter of this community for years. I support equality for all mankind, regardless of race, faith, sex or socio-economic status."
Shay Deutsch, the chairman of the LGBT association in Israel told Ynet that "despite the recognition by the media, the community still sffers from many problems such as cases of suicide, teens that are expelled from their homes and transgenders who cannot find work. The State still does not give us equal rights," he said.
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