Gay Czech Republic Steps Up with First Pride Parade

For the first time, the city of Brno in the Czech Republic (South Moravia –  about 2 – 2.5 hours from Prague by car) organizes an LGBTIQ pride event – the parade and an accompanying programme. June 28th!

The Queer parade in Brno supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and all queer people’s rights, visibility and self-identity.

Come and join us to show your queer pride and promote tolerance, respect and colourful society!”

Although the Registered Partnership Act was adopted in 2006, by which the Czech Republic has joined countries promoting respect for sexual minorities, there are still many problems that call for general attention. We want to contribute to the public discussion on issues ranging from the rights of same-sex parents, through the absence of equal rights for individual adoptions for registered partners, bullying of LGBTIQ youth, the invisibility of LGBTIQ seniors, to severe violations of transgender persons amounting to breaches of fundamental human rights and freedoms.

Indeed, the Czech Republic still lags behind some Western European states that have gone much further to ease barriers for same-sex couples. There is low public support for allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children, homophobia lingers, and there is a growing concern that not enough public resources are devoted to addressing the growth in HIV infections, particularly among homosexual men.

Nevertheless, gay organizations from across the region continue to look to the Czech example. Its law on registered partnerships makes the country a uniquely liberal outpost in post-communist Central Europe. Julius Kolenic, head of Slovakia’s Inakost (Otherness), says one of his organization’s biggest concerns is the “the homophobic speech of some [Slovak] politicians.” Regarding same-sex couples’ rights, Kolenic laments that “once again the Czech Republic is ahead of us.”

At the end of the year, the country’s two largest cities, Prague and Brno, will host their ninth gay and lesbian film festival, Mezipatra (Mezzanines).

And the country is still seen as an oasis for gay activists in neighboring Slovakia and Poland. According to an international poll conducted in the fall of 2005, the Czech gay server reported, only 39 percent of Slovaks agreed with registered partnership for same-sex couples. In the same poll, 36 percent supported the idea in Hungary and 42 percent in Poland.

My partner and I just got back from Prague – And I can tell you, it was a wonderful trip and we can not wait to go back! In the coming weeks, we will feature several stories on Gay Prague and the Czech Republic.

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