170,000 people celebrate the Tel Aviv Pride Parade

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Tel Aviv (AFP) – More than 170,000 people took part in Tel Aviv’s Pride Parade on Friday, a city spokesperson said, as the annual event progressed toward pre-pandemic numbers.

Partygoers dressed in colorful outfits celebrated in the sweltering heat, waving rainbow flags and dancing to electronic music as floats rolled slowly through the streets of Tel Aviv, considered a rare oasis of LGBTQ+ tolerance in region, AFP journalists said.

“It’s supposed to be about the fight for LGBT rights, but it’s more of a party. So…I like to party,” said Liat Shana, 29, wearing a shiny green wig and eyebrows assorted.

Aviv Gal, 28, who works in education, said it was ‘important’ to show that there are ‘so many people who want to achieve the rights of the gay community, and that we are in fact equal “.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai noted that while members of the LGBTQ+ community in Israel continue to “face obstacles,” things are looking up.

“Conversion therapy has been completely banned, gay men can now donate blood, and surrogacy for same-sex couples is now legal,” Huldai said at the parade launch.

A spokesperson for his office estimated that more than 170,000 people attended the event.

“Tel Aviv has always been and always will be a welcoming home for all trans, lesbian, gay, queer and non-binary people,” he said. “Here they will always count, here they are always welcome.”

Parade attendance in 2019 was around 250,000, while last year some 100,000 revelers took part in the city‘s first Pride event since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Israel has the most open attitude towards homosexuality in the Middle East, with a large and influential gay community, particularly in Tel Aviv.

A spokesman for the Tel Aviv mayor’s office estimated that more than 170,000 people attended. Attendance in 2019 was around 250,000, while last year saw some 100,000 revelers, in the city’s first Pride event since the Covid-19 pandemic RONALDO SCHEMIDT AFP

But some members of the LGBTQ+ community accuse Israeli authorities of “pinkwashing”, or using their cause to paint a liberal veneer on an image tarnished by Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

Conservative Jerusalem held a small Pride march last week under tight security.

A 2015 Pride event in Jerusalem ended in tragedy when an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man stabbed a 16-year-old girl to death and injured several others.

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