A tidal wave of sweaty bodies, fluffy rainbow ears and vodka water bottles crashed down HaYarkon Street along the coast of Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon — forming what was likely the city's largest gay pride parade to date. The explosion of pent-up social and sexual energy was a fitting climax to a steady build of pride events over this past week, and an ideal starting gun for another hot mess of a Tel Aviv summer.
The municipality originally estimated that a record 130,000 people would show up to the parade, including 30,000 tourists; police now confirm that the crowd at least broke 100,000. Local media outlets are hailing it as "the largest event of its kind in the Middle East" and proof that Tel Aviv has become "the world's best gay city."
Can't say I disagree. Even for those who suspect some pinkwashing is at play, the love, acceptence and sunshine beaming down on the androgynous HaYarkon street mob on Friday was overwhelming. And the freedom to strip to your thong in public and make out with a drag queen (or your same-sex life partner) is certainly given extra weight by the understanding that in other countries just a few hours away, the LGBT community is largely in hiding.
With that in mind, here are 27 of the most beautiful moments I witnessed at Tel Aviv's 2014 gay pride parade — just a few among millions.
27. This beautiful baby.
26. This crazy couple.
25. This kiss.
24. This selfie with a dark angel.
23. This fancy secret.
22. This in-float bear hug.
21. This lost parade fairy.
20. This slow clap.
19. This critical mass of rainbow shit.
18. This sideline dance party.
17. This sideline umbrella party.
16. This kid twirling this rainbow tie.
15. This immortal dance move.
14. This flawless shoulder surfer.
13. This sadomasochistic raven cop.
12. These golden boys.
11. This bisexual signage.
10. These viewing parties.
9. This summer lovin'.
8. These free hugs.
7. These hot chicks eating popsicles.
6. These sexy flight attendants in front of this mosque.
5. This jailbait covered in BDSM stickers.
4. These happy gay dads.
3. This topless mermaid on the rocks.
2. This post-parade ocean romance.
1. All this pride.
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