Tel Aviv Pride Celebrates Bisexuals
The Gay Capital Of The Middle East Focuses This Year’s Pride Festivities On The Bisexual Community
by Heather Cassell
Bisexuals are getting the visibility that they’ve long sought at Tel Aviv Pride with this year’s focus on the invisible B in LGBTQI.
Tel Aviv Pride organizers are touting the parade theme “Bisexual Visibility” as the “first large-scale pride parade in the world to ever celebrate the theme bisexuality,” according to a May 9 news release from Tel Aviv Pride.
The pride event is the largest pride event in Asia and the Middle East, the organizers tout, and one of the largest pride parades in the world. It is the only pride parade in the world that is fully sponsored by the Municipality, tout the organizers in the release.
The weeklong pride festival attracts an estimated 200,000 participants, Tel Aviv Pride organizers estimate that of this year’s Pride goers 35,000 will be visitors from other countries, organizers add.
This year’s official host hotel is NYX Tel Aviv, which will be lit up in rainbow colors during Tel Aviv Pride Week.
“Every year tens of thousands of the LGBTQ community from around the world visit Tel Aviv-Yafo. We are proud to have them join us during Pride Week celebrating the diversity and spirit of tolerance that makes Tel Aviv the best gay city in the world,” says Yaniv Weizman, city council member of Tel-Aviv Yafo who is in one of the city leaders in charge of LGBTQ Affairs, in the release.
The pride parade and celebration near the Mediterranean kicks off June 3 with the parade and celebration June 9.
“Both in Israel and around the world, many bisexual people feel that they are an invisible group within the LGBTQ community. Here in Tel Aviv, we are committed to celebrating each and every LGBTQ person and ally equally, so that we can all be out and proud together,” says Efrat Tolkowsky city council member of Tel-Aviv Yafo who is in one of the city leaders in charge of LGBTQ Affairs, in the release.
Where’s the B?
Israel’s bisexual community has come a long way during the past decade.
Eight years ago, Gay Israeli Idol Judge Gal Uchovsky declared that there were no bisexuals in Israel during a panel discussion on my first trip to the land of milk and honey at iPride, a conference hosted during Tel Aviv Pride 2009.
The iPride conference was organized by nearly 20 StandWithUs fellows at the Tel Aviv University.
The comment was disturbing and based on ignorance. The bisexual community definitely exists in Israel.
In 2009, the bisexual community was small and suffered from a visibility issue, not unusual for bisexuals. However, a small band of bisexual activists was organizing following the dissolution of a bisexual group in 2007 after two years of being in existence, according to Shiri Eisner, organizer of Panorama, a bisexual organization, told Girls That Roam at the time.
Shiri was handing out literature and speaking with people who walked by her table draped with the bisexual flag in Gan Meir park outside of the Tel Aviv Municipal LGBT Community Center during the Tel Aviv Pride that year.
“What I’m trying to do is raise awareness, create visibility, and build a community which is three things that we need and don’t have at the moment,” Shiri, who participated in the first bisexual pride party that attracted more than 100 people the night before the Tel Aviv Pride parade and celebration, said at the time.
She was proud of the community and its allies. Many turned out to support the bisexual community at the party. Others were opening their doors to representatives of Israel’s bisexual community to participate on panels when approached by bisexual community members.
“I just felt like in order to create a bisexual community what I need to do is not create it myself, but just create the space for people to create it themselves,” said Shiri. “That really just happened last night.”
Fast forward eight years later, Tel Aviv Pride is shining its spotlight on the bisexual community with this year’s theme, “Bisexual Visibility.”
However, Amsterdam has hosted a bisexual conference that lasts upward of three days during the city’s eight-day Pride festivities for at least the past three years, according to Theresa Sparks, senior adviser for transgender initiative at the Office of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.
Tel Aviv Pride has put a spotlight on other communities under the rainbow during its pride festivities within recent years, such as last year’s “Women for a Change,” and “Transgender Visibility,” in 2015.
Book your next adventure to Israel with Girls That Roam Travel. Contact Heather Cassell at Girls That Roam Travel at 415-517-7239 or at .
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