Though there have been some gay protests or events in Lebanon as of late, Israel remains the only country in the Middle East to hold annual Pride Parades. Admittedly, the Haifa parade doesn't draw quite the crowd that Tel Aviv does, but turnout last Thursday was pretty impressive - over 500 according to one estimate, possibly even more.
Having been present this year and the last, I have to say that the turnout was definitely higher this time around. I spoke to Yulia, who was heavily involved in the event, and asked her what contributed to the sudden spike in marchers. She attributed it to better marketing, but I suspect that last August's shocking event also played a part in rousing people.
The parade went by without a hitch, but police was out in full force to protect marchers just in case.There was a small group of counter-demonstrators, mostly clad in knitted skullcaps.
Representatives from the self-defined Palestinian gay women's group Aswat were also present. Here, one of the members is being interviewed.
Compared to Tel Aviv, Haifa's Pride Parade can be described as tame and it often felt more like a protest than a parade.
An exceptionally racy poster at this docile gathering: "It's most delicious in the ass".