Over 200000 at Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade, region's biggest

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TEL AVIV Tens of thousands of rainbow flag-toting revellers attended the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parade in Tel Aviv on Friday, billed as the largest of its kind in the deeply conservative Middle East. The theme of this year's parade is "Bisexuality Visibility".

It was the city's 19th pride parade and according to Tel Aviv's municipality, the largest in the Middle East and Asia, with a high number of global revelers arriving over the course of the week to take part in the parade and its related events.

The march passed through main streets of the coastal city until it reached the shore, where a large party kicked off and is expected to last until early the next morning.

Tel Aviv has emerged as one of the world's most gay-friendly travel destinations.

Before the march began, today (Friday) at 10:00, there were already gay pride events in Tel-Aviv, including concerts by musicians, a happening and an award giving ceremony for activists.

Same-sex marriage is against the law in Israel, but polls published in the country's media this week suggested that around three quarters of Israeli Jews supported permitting it. "As much as the march is fun, in the end it is an act of defiance, a statement for our society that we have a long way to go in Israel in order for people to be equal in Israel" Huldai said.

The Hiddush organization for religious pluralism, which commissioned the survey, said the figure demonstrates a growing public push toward the government to establish "state-recognized same-sex partnerships in Israel".

The world's first bisexual Pride has taken place in Tel Aviv amid the city's Pride Week.

"With all the bad things happening to gay, lesbian and transgender people all over the world, I am so happy to be in a place that is so welcoming", he said.

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