However, is Pride Month supposed to be about parties? A friend pointed out to me that the Pride Parade (and Pride Month) are not supposed to be about good times and parties. My friend told me that the real Pride Parades with meaning are in Jerusalem and Haifa. He have said that Tel Aviv has lost the meaning behind these important events. When I was told this, it made me think. As the readers of my blog know, I am very aware of the importance of gay pride. I have written about it in previous posts. Am I wrong for looking forward to all the fun? Did Pride Month in Tel Aviv really lose its meaning?
After thinking about these questions for a bit, I came to the conclusion that Tel Aviv is simply ahead of Jerusalem, Haifa and other conservative cities. When you walk down the street in central Tel Aviv, chances are you will see two men or two women walking and holding hands. They can do this without fear of being attacked or ridiculed. (This is true for the most part. There are always going to be a few hateful nuts out there). The mayor and the city council are proud and supportive of the city's LGBT population. In honor of Pride Month, the city is covered with rainbow flags and even a cross walk was given a makeover in a sign of solidarity. Tel Avivan's are a bit spoiled by the openness and tolerance of their city. There isn't a need to demand acceptance, because they have it.
While the situation in Tel Aviv might be great, this is not the case for the rest of the country. Tel Avivans should remember that they do not live in a bubble and that the fight for acceptance and tolerance in the rest of the country is still an uphill battle.
A mere 50 minute drive down Highway 1, Jerusalem is the polar opposite of Tel Aviv. In Jerusalem, the pride parade is extremely controversial. Every year the police wonder if they could guarantee everyone's safety. "Religious leaders" from Islam, Judaism and Christianity stop fighting each other and unite behind their mutual hatred of gays. In Jerusalem, LGBT people must take to the streets and show that they will not be chased away or forced to hide who they are. They must show that they are not ashamed of who they are.
But while the fight for acceptance rages on in the rest of the country, I think it is OK for Tel Aviv to celebrate the progress made over the years. After all, Tel Aviv was not always the oasis of tolerance that it is now. It truly is amazing that in an area of the world like the Middle East where gays are put to death in 5 near by countries, a city like Tel Aviv exists. My advice to those that see a lack of meaning in Tel Avi's Pride month is to party in Tel Aviv, but also take the time to travel to a city like Jerusalem and march in their parade as well. Enjoy what you have in Tel Aviv and than try and bring it to the rest of the country.
HAPPY PRIDE MONTH! :D