Gay tourism to Tel-Aviv: Producing urban value?

30th Mar 2018

Gay tourism to Tel-Aviv: Producing urban value?

A new paper by Gilly Hartal is now available online.



Over the past decade, a growing number of critiques have been levelled at institutional LGBT initiatives in Tel-Aviv, characterising them as homonational and pinkwashing. Gay tourism to Tel-Aviv is one of the central initiatives under attack. Supported by national ministries and by local organisations, Tel-Aviv became a popular destination for a ‘gay vacation’. This paper explores the dynamic formation of the political economy of gay tourism to Tel-Aviv, underscoring the impact queer tourism has on Israeli LGBT politics and specifically on urban LGBT politics in Tel-Aviv. Particularly, this paper critically discusses neoliberal urban politics of LGBT value and valuation and its break from rights politics. I claim that the processes responsible for the increase in gay tourism to Tel-Aviv engendered confusion between rights achievements and recognition anchored in other kinds of national and municipal support (mainly allocations), encouraging fragmentation within the Israeli LGBT community. This process reproduced capitalist logics in urban spaces and constructed LGBT individuals as valued products based on their promotion of the urban space to other gay tourists, producing Tel-Aviv as a gay heaven and as a homonational hub. If the state works on the national level to create ‘pure’ homonationalism, the kind of homonationalism created on the urban level is an economic homonationalism: where the neoliberal agenda influences decision-making rather than questions of national belonging. Meaning that the effects of homonormativity are (becoming, once again) more significant within homonationalist political configurations.


Read the full paper here.


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