Gay Pride Parade in Middle East city trouble free


Contrary to popular belief Tel Aviv is in the Middle East.

In my almost-30 years, I’ve never felt such freedom and seen so many different people gathered around the same values as during the celebration of Gay Pride in Tel Aviv. Joyful, colorful, powerful, sometimes a bit terrifying, but, for me, at certain moments, painfully touching. Although I knew what the day would be like, I wasn’t expecting to have such a visceral reaction to it.

More than 200,000 people, both locals and foreigners—and among them an estimated 35,000 tourists—make the city’s authority-funded Pride event the biggest of its kind in the Middle East.

Young and old, gay men, lesbians, straight people, trans women and men, gender benders, couples with children; all possible body types, different nationalities, ethnicities, and religions: there was room for everyone. And this year the huge street party’s theme was “Women for Change,” promoting women’s role in the LGBT+ community.

“Dear friends, we have been marching for years, and we will keep on marching in a search for equality,” veteran Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai told the crowd before the start of the march. “We will keep on walking the streets of Tel Aviv in the hope that pluralism, tolerance, and the liberal values of this city will spread throughout the country, Middle East, and the whole world,” said Huldai, who has run the city since 1998.

Meanwhile, 92.7km south of Tel Aviv they are still struggling with equal rights for women:

Other criticisms have been reserved for the ways in which the Hamas administration governs its own citizens. Their rules are based on imposing a strict Islamic code which must be adhered to. As with any religious extremists, they actually twist the real meaning of their religion to suit their own agenda. This religious extremism has resulted in infringements of personal rights and freedoms throughout certain sections of society within Gaza.

An example of Hamas’ widespread condemnation is seen in the treatment of female citizens. The extreme governing of women ranges from being forced into compulsory wearing of the hijab, to more shocking policies such as the enforced removal of a widowed mother from her children; a son when he reaches nine years of age and a daughter at age eleven. Since its original inception, this law has been reconstructed, now allowing a woman to keep her children under the condition that she does not remarry. Whilst this might be an improvement, it still represents a government that forces their will upon its citizens. This is based on their strict adherence to Islamic Sharia law, under which women are treated differently to men. The insistence of a dress code for women is just one example of this.

Along with its strict religious conservatism, Hamas even went to the extent of ordering men to cover up on beaches. This measure was part of Hamas’ “virtue campaign,” which included instructing their citizens on what kind of music they could play as well as banning the act dancing altogether. The Religious Affairs Ministry was established to oversee this program of censorship.

It is quite apparent that there is no separation between religion and government in Gaza. As a result, Hamas’ strict and religious extremism has resulted in a reduction of liberties for many people, including secularists. However, while the examples given previously are frustrating for those involved, there are certain human rights abuses which are far more serious in Gaza. For one, homosexuality is illegal under Sharia law. In 2005, Dr. Mahmoud Zahar, the senior leader of Hamas, described gay people as being “a minority of perverts and the mentally and morally sick.”

As can be expected after reading such a statement, gay people have no equality under Hamas’ government. In fact they have no rights at all, as their relationships are not even recognized. There is no allowance for them in law, for example in terms of adoption, and there exist no anti-discrimination laws in place to protect them. More over, it is their government alone which seeks to discriminate against them. The punishment for homosexuality in Gaza is severe, with men potentially having to spend ten years in jail as a result of their sexuality.

I think Winston Peters was talking about these kind of people when he made his statement on immigration.

I am still astonished that the liberal left think we can just ignore these sorts of human rights abuses.


-VICE News, Free Middle East,com

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.