Israel to launch first LGBT TV channel for Pride

Israel tel aviv Pride

An Israeli media company has announced it is launching its first ever live TV channel aimed exclusively at LGBT+ audiences.

HOT TV will be launching OUTtv to mark Pride month and it will show reality TV shows documentaries, romantic comedies and exclusive original programmes.

Shows to be aired by the channel include RuPaul’s Drag Race, Fire Island and the gay dating series Finding Prince Charming, hosted by former NSYNC member Lance Bass, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The channel will also cover LGBT+ events in Israel and internationally.

Tel Aviv Pride will take place on 14 June, with actor Neil Patrick Harris appointed to be the event’s official International Ambassador.

The How I Met Your Mother actor is expected to attend the event with his husband David Burtka and their eight-year-old twins, Harper and Gideon.

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 11: Actor Neil Patrick Harris attends CNN Heroes Gala 2016 at the American Museum of Natural History on December 11, 2016 in New York City. 26362_011 (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Turner)

Neil Patrick Harris is Tel Aviv Pride’s International Ambassador

“Tel Aviv has become a symbol of the openness and acceptance of the LGBTQ community on the world stage,” Harris said in a statement.

“We are honoured to be in Israel for the first time and have the honor to take part in this beautiful celebration and to stand with the LGBTQ community in Israel and around the world, especially on the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.”

Israel is considered one of the most LGBT+ tolerant countries in the Middle East.

Having decriminalised homosexuality in 1988, discrimination against those who identify as queer was prohibited in 1992.

Openly LGBT people are allowed to serve in the military and in 2008, same-sex couples were granted the right to adopt.

While Israel recognises same-sex unions and marriages performed abroad, but same-sex couples are not permitted to wed within the country.

Despite legislation being more inclusive of LGBT+ individuals in Israel, some political and religious leaders still publicly express homophobic opinions.

Just last month, Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern urged Jerusalem Pride attendees not to wave rainbow flags “as they make the city ugly.”