Sunday, August 21, 2011


I think of Prague as a very progressive and tolerant city so I was surprised when I found out that this year's Pride festival was the first one in the capital.

For those of you unfamiliar with Pride: Have you been living under a rock?

No but really - Pride is a festival which takes place in cities the world over. It celebrates tolerance and generally centers around the acceptance of people no matter their sexual orientation. It's basically an LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) event, but everyone is welcome to join in the fun and festivities.

Prague's Pride Festival lasted for five days with tons of awareness and tolerance events. I was really impressed. It was also backed by the mayor's office... but apparently not the president's office. There was a little political tiff in which the president's office called 'homosexualism' 'deviant' and then tried to recover by saying 'deviant' isn't negative it just simply means 'different.' The Pride organizers did their best to stay out of the politics and just capitalized on all the extra press they got from it. Nice job.

'My son is not a deviant.'
But with the mayor's backing came a lot of police and security to make sure everyone had a fun and safe time.

We went to the parade that Saturday and the music festival right after it for the afternoon evening.

At first we were just watching the parade and taking pictures and dancing at the bottom of Wenceslas Square (like you do) and then eventually we decided to jump into the parade.

Why not?
There was one moment of surprise/disappointment when we walked past a group of skinheads surrounded by riot police who were flipping off everyone in the parade (including my friends and me) and yelling all kinds of slurs (which I basically couldn't understand because they were in Czech).

Can you see them flipping us off?
Honestly, I knew there's a skinhead movement in the Czech Republic, but I find it easy to forget simply because I literally have had zero interaction with those people and I never hear about anyone else's interaction with them.

Luckily, it was a controlled situation. Everyone exercised their right to free speech that day.

— J

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