This year, Pride festivals around the world are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a milestone in the history of the LGBT+ movement, when the events of 1969 following a police raid on New York’s Stonewall Inn gay club brought the fight for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights into the public arena.
The Prague Pride Festival, taking place from August 5 to 11 this year, will also revisit important LGBT+ moments in Czechoslovak history.
“Even though homosexuality has been decriminalized here since 1962, the Stonewall Riots still hold an important message for us: to publicly join a queer community that is very diverse and contrasted,” said Hana Kulhánková, Director of LGBT+ Festival Prague Pride.
Mutual support and collaboration across the community is the leitmotif of this year’s festival.
“A number of transgender people and lesbians, alongside gays, also played an important role during Stonewall, but these people were soon forgotten,” says Kulhánková adding that many of those freedom fighters have largely been forgotten. “During the festival week, individual queer sub-communities will be given more space – i.e. not only gays and lesbians but also transgender and non-binary people, bisexual, asexual, and, for the first time this year, intersex people as well.”
Italian actress, politician, and trans activist Vladimir Luxuria, and British model and asexual activist Yasmin Benoit will both appear at the festival. Czech audiences can also expect a Skype discussion with intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis.
The festival’s organizers say that intergenerational encounters are an important link between the past and present. This year’s Pride will recognize older members of the LGBT+ community, launching Pride Life, a multi-day program, which will take place at the headquarters of Life 90 organization and provide support to seniors.
Visitors can also look forward to remembrances of the Stonewall protests with Slovak photographer Robert Vano, who himself took part in the riot. Also on the program: a retro disco, intergenerational brunch, and a discussion of the current realities of elderly LGBT+ people today.
According to organizers, this year’s campaign theme, Together Within Reach, refers to the fact that even today, 57 years after the abolition of homosexuality’s punishment in Czechoslovakia, many of the same-sex couples still prefer to refrain from public display of affection, like holding hands.
“The chosen creative idea comes from an insight that reflects the ambivalent feelings of the community – a moment when something is so close, but at the same time, cannot be reached,” says Lukáš Rýdl, Strategy Director at 2FRESH agency which created this year’s campaign.“Thanks to the findings of the target group study, we know that even the most common situations, such as holding hands, are still causing contradictory reactions when in public,” he adds.
This year promises more than 130 events, most of them free. The festival kicks off with the traditional opening concert at Pride Village on Střelecký island on Monday, August 5th. This year’s headliner is Daniela Sea, best known for her role as trans character Max in the cult series The L Word, performing as a part of a musical duo with Swedish DJ Gunn Lundemo.
Among other marquee names are Kapitán Demo and Leopold, pioneers of genderless fashion who represent a new generation of proud LGBTIQ* artists. Older generations will be represented by 80-year-old DJ Wika from Poland and Elpida choir accompanied by Never Sol in the joint project OLD’s COOL.
The Rainbow Parade will take place on Saturday, August 10th. The parade returns to its former route leading from Wenceslas Square to Na Příkopě Street and then through Náměstí Republiky, Revoluční, Dvořák Embankment, and Čech’s Bridge to the stairs that lead to Letná park. The festivities will continue in Pride Park at Letná Plain until 10 pm.
The queer program includes several music stages, a tent where a Pride Ball vogue dance competition will take place, a Ferris wheel, and a community zone with specially designated spots for people to meet, greet, and debate.
The festival is held under the auspices of the Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, Deputy Mayor of the Prague 1 City District Pavel Nazarský, Deputy Mayor for Culture, Sport and Neighbourhood Relations of Prague 7 Hana Třeštíková and Councillor of Prague 1 Petr Kučera.
For more information visit the official Prague Pride website.