First store: 62 Ibn Gvirol Street in Tel Aviv
When ? Late July!
What better way to celebrate Gay and Lesbian Pride Month than to pay tribute to places where monumental strides in gay rights have taken place. Online travel advisers CheapFlights (www.cheapflights.com) offer its top gay-friendly destinations
Some of the first-recorded mentions of same-sex relationships, unions and marriages trace back to ancient Greece. Though relationships between two men were eventually banned thousands of years later, Greece is back on track. In 2011, more than 10,000 activists marched at the annual Athens Gay Pride parade.
One of the first national gay rights organizations, the Mattachine Society, was founded in Los Angeles by Harry Hay in 1950 to help improve the civil rights of homosexuals. Today the city still brims with art and culture nurtured by its active gay community.
New York City
The Stonewall Riots in New York’s Greenwich Village incited the first gay rights movement in the U.S. in 1969.
When police raided a local gay bar that summer, activists fought back. To honour the one-year anniversary of the riot activists walked from downtown to Central Park in the country’s first gay pride march.
For decades, members of the gay community have flocked to San Francisco . It was Harvey Milk in the 1970s who encouraged a generation of men and women to mobilize and fight for civil rights and changes in legislation. The first openly gay man elected to office in California, Milk was a beacon for a younger generation and a martyr for homosexuals nationwide after his assassination in 1978 .
Canada is by far the gay-friendliest country in all of the Americas . But equality didn’t come easily. The 1981 bathhouse raid in Toronto enraged so many people that thousands took to the streets to protest the injustice.
The city has come a long way since; it was recently picked to host WorldPride, an international celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, in 2014.
The Supreme Court of the 50th state to join the union made a big case for same-sex marriage in Baehr v. Lewin when it ruled that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is unconstitutional. The islands are home to a diverse gay community, and hosts thousands of gay travellers each year.
A known leader in LGBT rights in the Middle East, Israel is way ahead of the curve when it comes to adoption, marriage and military equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-identified people.
It’s no wonder Out Magazine designated Tel Aviv the gay capital of the Middle East.
The first country to legalize gay marriage in 2001, the Netherlands was voted the largest supporter of same-sex marriage in 2006 by the European Union and is a premier destination for LGBT travellers.
From Barcelona to Chicago, Israeli LGBT delegations were warmly received: ‘Boost for PR’
Israeli representatives at the Barcelona gay pride parade received a warm welcome, after being shunned by Madrid last year over the May 31 flotilla raid, which sparked global outrage.
This year the Israeli delegation was unequivocally summoned, and its members flaunted their background at least as colorfully as they did their sexual identity on the streets of the Spanish city.
The high point of the parade was a performance by the Israel group Knob with singer Jouel, who entertained a crowd of 250,000 people.
But the Tel Aviv delegation didn’t just dance in the streets. They also met with the local Catalonian government and decided to spur cooperation between the two cities.
Tel Aviv Municipality, which held its annual gay pride blowout just a few weeks ago, expressed satisfaction with the visit as a boost to Israeli PR.
Last week a delegation also visited the gay pride parade in Berlin, where they established a stand advertising Israel and handed out information pamphlets on Tel Aviv’s hottest spots.
Another group was warmly received in Chicago during its pride parade as well. The city’s Time Out magazine chose the blue and white float as its favorite, and 200 locals were picked by the city’s consulate to dance on and around it. Dead Sea products were handed out as favors to all participants.
Tel Aviv Council Member Yaniv Weizman, who holds the tourism portfolio and is also the mayor’s special advisor on LGBT affairs, explained that the city would continue to target the LGBT tourist market.
“I believe success in this field will have an incredible affect, politically and economically, and especially contribute to the status of the gay community in the city,” he said.
Tel Aviv is referred to as “the city that never sleeps,” and this Thursday (June 30) it will live up to its name by hosting its annual White Night (Layla Lavan). Since 2003, when Tel Aviv was declared the White City by UNESCO, the municipality has been marking the honor by offering a host of special events for the benefit of the residents and visitors of Tel Aviv. Here is a selection of this year’s hottest music, food and cultural events taking place throughout the city.
Tour of Rothschild Boulevard
Various musical and theater street shows will line the beautiful boulevard.
Rothschild Boulevard, Bialik Street. All night long
Matti and Shlomo – until the sun rises
Matti Caspi and Shlomo Gronich will perform in an open-air concert, offering authentic Israeli music until the sun rises.
Northern Tzuk Beach, 1 a.m. Free admission
Various concerts by some of Israel’s best rock bands.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Shaul Hamelech 27.
Israeli folk dancing
Starting at 9 p.m., Israeli folk dancing with Sarah Aviv with special guest dancers.
Gordon Beach. From 9 p.m.
The flea market in Jaffa will be open all night, offering special stores and arts & crafts stalls. There will also be numerous street theater performances, music, exhibitions, galleries and more.
Flea market, Jaffa. Free admission
R&B and hip hop will be playing all night in Bialik Square. Afrobeat, funk and hip hop artists will perform, starting at 10 p.m.
Tel Aviv’s famous Dizengoff Center will host a Pop-Shop party, where Dizengoff Street meets King George Street. The mall’s stores will be open through the night.
All parties free of charge
Yehudit Ravitz at Zappa
Israeli music legend Yehudit Ravitz will perform songs spanning her whole career, as well as new hits at a special concert.
Zappa Club, Raul Wallenberg 24. Free admission
At Jaffa Port
Ahinoam Nini and Mira Awad will perform their “Together and Alone” evening at the Jaffa Port, and artist Ruba will open her one-woman show “Out of Place,” a collection of recent works dealing with issues of belonging and identity. There will also be workshops with stylists Doreen Attias and Ravit Assaf.
A night at the opera
The Israel Opera will join in the celebrations in a concert of opera hits that will begin at midnight into the wee hours. The opera stars will each perform a few arias, accompanied by pianist Eitan Schmeister and Michael Ajzenstadt as host.
(03) 6927777, NIS 65 www.israelopera.co.il