Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Secret's Out: Pinkwashing rules! - Israel Hosts World's Best Pride in Tel Aviv

Thousands Attend Pride in Tel Aviv
It's unfortunate gay men have yet to find a way to procreate - especially in Israel! Already a plethora of beautiful features exist in the mix of people here - think of the result of further combinations! Yet, more seriously, in Israel more than half of kids come from orthodox Jewish homes and the conservative, Muslim Palestinians have a higher birthrate.  The secular population is not growing. We need more gaybies - otherwise someday, we may say goodbye to the world's best location for PRIDE!

While Tel Aviv might be (in theory) dangerous - with an ongoing civil war less than 100 miles away and general threats of catastrophic destruction of this secular city - it's an fun-loving laid-back beach city and brings together a great mix of gays world-wide.  Anyway, we can count on Israeli/Jewish determination (yes, ok Zionism) and the U.S. Congress for protection.

First and foremost (besides the hot guys), Tel Aviv's climate - the perfect June weather (a mix of humid as well as cool, desert-like nights) and its lovely beaches - make it an ideal location. Hilton Beach is where the gays gather during the day.  The calm, sandy waters make it a relaxing place to hold the one (or ones) you love, cruise for some new friends or just float and look back and the pretty, rainbow-decorated sand exploding with all kinds of different guys - and some girls too! It's funny, some straight families also also get into the fun - they apparently don't mind exposing the kids to guys making fools of themselves...

Ironically, the gay spot, just near the Hilton, also shares the sand with the dog beach next-door - look out for roaming dogs that might trek across your towel - and the secluded orthodox beach (which rotates between male and female days). Don't be concerned - this is Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, and people (as well as the dogs) live and let live. If you really don't like crowds - or want an escape from the city, check out the nude/gay beach at Ga'ash.

Next, Pride in Israel has the best kind of parade - and the week-long party never stops! Not really a parade - this march winds through nicer chic neighborhoods and ends at the beach where they hold afternoon party on Gordon beach, complete with performances and drag queens. You don't stand and watch, you join and walk (or scamper forward to make new friends). Also, each night you can party it up; attend the hip-hop party at Lima-Lima (now called OCD) party, the young and fun Dreck, older and sluttier Beef, hipstery gay Street party at Shpagat, the Genesis Main event (for all), Tea Dance (for muscle daddies) and many other competing parties -- and of course, when you make the right friends you can crash parties (like those held at the Pink TLV gay hostel). Also, there's always the traditional, if trashy, Evita, where Eurovision Sundays bring gays and girls from all over! There's even a late night event beside the beach -- did I say beach again? Obviously parties can happen anywhere, but Israel provides the best atmosphere, especially when the climate also allows a late-night skinny dip and sleepover on the sand.
Sweden's Gay Mag featured us marching in the parade!

Finally, and why you shouldn't really tell anyone else, Tel Aviv is not yet too well-known (yet). Around 100,000 people attended this year's parade - and of course - tourists and locals packed the parties. But it's not yet so big that you can't make friends and see them over and over (for better or worse)! Still, the gays are coming - and the cash too - hopefully the accusations of "pinkwashing" will keep enough people away (I'm really not sure how promoting gay rights helps Israel; gays can't change the demographics!). The party is big enough to sustain 3 different gay Tel Aviv Pride websites, at least two tour companies seeking out cash for "gay buses" to the Dead Sea & Jerusalem, as well as endless party promoters on the beach.

Truly the only drawback is that people are not incredibly friendly or helpful - often they are downright rude. Yet, I did run into friendly occasions, including a taxi driver who insisted our friends wave the rainbow flag out the window on their way home from the parade! Still, I was "taken for a ride" in more than one cab and totally ripped off for a mediocre hair cut. Don't be concerned about the gays -  the Israeli boys are friendly - especially on the beach. Still, I would trade some rude experiences for street-safe Tel Aviv versus Rio, for example, where the beaches & boys are even better - but there's a chance of being robbed at gun-point.

If you need one more reason to attend - how about this incredible video & song produced for the occasion! Maybe I'll see you there next year...

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