Andy Cohen, the larger-than-life TV personality, is the international ambassador at Tel Aviv’s Gay Pride Parade this year. In a statement following the announcement, Cohen said, “I’ve always wanted to go to Israel and can’t think of a better occasion to get me there.” As international ambassador, Cohen will lead the parade from Gan Me’ir Park to Gordon Beach on June 8.
This is Cohen’s first time visiting Israel. He said, “It’s so great to be here… I live in New York City and this is my first but definitely not my last time in Tel Aviv. I am a proud gay Jewish man and the only gay host in late night TV. I have been struck by how incredible it is, not only to be here, but as a proud gay Jewish man surrounded by my people.”
Since it is Cohen’s first time in Israel, he is taking time to tour the country.
(Cohen, notably, turned the comments off for his Western Wall instagram. He usually leaves his comments on. Perhaps he’s seen the deluge of comments celebrities get when they visit Israel.)
He also went to Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.
"This is my first visit to Yad Vashem … I'm completely overwhelmed. As a Jew and as a citizen of the world it's imperative that everyone get educated about what happened."
Host, producer & author @Andy Cohen at Yad Vashem today pic.twitter.com/BkmMheGR1T
— Yad Vashem (@yadvashem) June 6, 2018
In the past, Cohen has spoken about the impact his Jewish upbringing has had on him: “Jewish culture … is so much more than going to temple. It’s about who you are and how you live and how you communicate and certainly how you eat. Anyone who watches my show sees what a part it is of my life. I give a Mazel of the Day every day at the end of my show. Bravo has created a whole line of Mazel merchandise based on me saying it every night on the show. I know it’s not the exact definition of mazel tov, but to me it’s like a shout-out. It’s something nice, something positive, so there’s a little luck in there too.”
This year, Tel Aviv Pride is celebrating its 20th anniversary and is expecting a record turnout. Tel Aviv, consistently, is referred to as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. This isn’t to say Israel doesn’t have progress to make on LGBTQ+ rights; for example, same sex marriages abroad are recognized, but Israel itself does not have same sex marriages.
The theme of the parade is “community makes history,” in honor of 20 years of pride parades and the 30-year anniversary of the repeal of the law banning male homosexual sex. Superstar Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai is also set to perform.
As Time Out Israel explained, their slogan and logo intends to give “special expression to the diverse spectrum of colors that make up Tel Aviv’s LGBTQ community. The logo’s characters are waving the flag that has become a symbol of tolerance, acceptance of the other, and the aspiration for equality.”
“20 years for Tel Aviv pride march / community making history” Via Tel Aviv Pride facebook
Tel Aviv Pride celebrates the queer community in Israel and worldwide, and we’re so happy to see Cohen attend.
Header image background via wikimedia; Andy Cohen via Bravo TV.