Prague Pride 2013: Gay Expats Speak Out

Plus the coolest and campiest parade-related parties and events

Rosie Dwelly

Written by Rosie Dwelly Published on 12.08.2013 09:35:10 (updated on 12.08.2013) Reading time: 6 minutes

With a recent study from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights showing that only 11% of the Czech LGBT community is out in the workplace, it’s clear that the Czech Republic is “lagging behind” other post-communist countries in this area, says Prague Pride Chairman Czeslaw Walek.

It makes sense then that the theme of this year’s third annual Prague Pride (August 12-18), “Coming Out” reflects a pointed effort to increase this number “By informing the LGBT community as well as the general public about the different aspects of this topic, ” says Walek. “Coming out often is a difficult process, not just for gays or lesbians, but sometimes even more for their families, friends, and colleagues.”

One lesbian expat we spoke to, Amanda, concurs: “No one who is queer/gay/whatever comes out just once. You have to do it your whole life and in a variety of situations and to numerous people. It can be nerve wracking since you never know if you will be pleasantly surprised by the other’s reaction or disappointed by their ignorance.”

Though Czech President Zeman has been less outspoken against LGBT issues than his predecessor Klaus, he hasn’t exactly been a supporter of Prague Pride. His recent refusal to grant Czech academic Martin C. Putna a professorship is just one a worrying example. Says Czeslaw: “Allegedly his decision was based on Mr. Putna’s participation in the first Prague Pride Parade where he was holding a sign mocking the ultra-conservative politician and activist Ladislav Batora.”

Czeslaw adds, “We were disappointed and surprised by this, especially since president Zeman participated in the presidential debate on LGBT issues that Prague Pride organized last year.”

The outlook isn’t entirely bleak however; when asked if there have been any major changes in laws or legislation regarding gay marriage or LGBT rights since the last Prague Pride, Czeslaw noted, “Currently a group of MPs is trying to amend the law on registered partnership to include adoption of children by the gay or lesbian partners of the birth parents”. He adds that “This is an issue that we addressed during Prague Pride last year, when we held a photo exhibition of Czech LGBT families in which the birth mother or father is currently the only legal parent.”

Czeslaw ended the interview on an optimistic note. “Despite the horrible stories we often hear from Russia and Africa, there are many positive developments in the world. We sincerely hope that Prague Pride will be able to change things for the better in the Czech Republic as well.”

THINK FISH PT. I at the National Theatre's New Stage
THINK FISH PT. I at the National Theatre’s New Stage

To that end, things have progressed nicely since last year’s festival with a busy program of events, many of which are free to attend, taking place all over the city. The celebration culminates on Saturday, August 17 with the main Pride march and concert. The new venue on the terrace of the National Theatre will host outdoor events throughout the week and the famous nu-disco divas Hercules and Love Affair Soundsystem are booked to headline the main stage after the parade. 

Of celebrating 2013 Pride in Prague, gay expat, Jay, says, “Prague has a fun gay scene in different ways than the big European cities. It’s a smaller community but within it there are different groups of people, kinds of parties. Prague Pride is a fantastic time to celebrate this gem of a city!”

Prague Pride Parade
When: August 17 at 14:00 
Where: Na příkopech 
Route: Na příkopech, Náměstí Republiky, Revoluční, Dlouhá, Staroměstské náměstí, Pařížská to Letna. Check out the full route map here. 
Free entry
The parade through the city centre, complete with rainbow musical floats, is the main event of the week. Thousands of people joined the 2012 march and this year’s looks set to be even bigger. This time round, a new route has been introduced due to the Střelecky reconstruction. Arrive from 13:00 to meet with the rest of the parade and make the finishing touches to your outfit and design your banner. 

Prague Pride Concert and DJ Stage
When: August 17 from 16.00 to 22.00
Where: Letná Park
Organized by: Prague Pride
Free entry
After the excitement of the parade, enjoy a cold beer and some great music at Letná Park with live concerts, a DJ stage and JarmarQ (the Pride information market). Performers include Jan Bendig, Bags, Dědovy blechy, Lola běží, The Travelers, Lanugo, Cartonnage. The event will be closed by this year’s biggest stars : Hercules and Love Affair Soundsystem.

Freedom Night with Toxique
Freedom Night with Toxique

Freedom Night with Toxique
When: August 16 from 20.00
Where: P.M. Club, Trojická 10, Praha 2
Organized by: Freedom Night
Entrance fee: 200 Kč
Local retro-poppers Toxique will be bringing their unique brand of soul flavour to regular lesbian party Freedom Night. The band’s singer Klára Vytisková told me  “I love Prague Pride! Last year we had the best crowd ever, so I’m looking forward to repeating the energy explosion! And to anyone who’s totally against the message of this party – as Aretha Franklin sings – ‘RESPECT’, that’s what all of us should learn.”

Business-forum 3.0  
When:  August 18 at 14.00
Where: Hilton Hotel Praha, Pobřežní 1, Praha 8
Organized by: IBM, Hilton Hotel, and Prague Pride
Entrance through registration only via
Third edition of the forum which focuses on the subject of  the LGBT community and the world of business. The event is intended primarily for the representatives of companies (HR, management, CEOs). This year’s topic is ‘marketing to the LGBT audience’ – what works, what doesn’t and what are the obstacles and experiences in the Czech Republic and abroad.

Creative Afternoon 
When: August 13 from 16.00 to 21.00
Where: Piazzeta of the National Theater
Organized by: Prague Pride
Free entry
A creative programme not just for children including a slam poetry competition, storytelling with non-traditional fairy tales such as ‘The Prince and the Prince’, a badge making workshop and painting through dance. Fun for all the family! 

Mezipatra Brunch Hater’s Club 
When: August 18 from 11.00 to 14.00
Where: Piazzeta of the National Theater
Organized by:  Mezipatra, o. s.
Free entry
An alternative addition to this year’s line up – a bit of reverse psychology to get the discussion flowing. What do you hate about gay and lesbian life? Don’t keep your negative feelings under wraps. Are you tired of the non-existence of lesbian bars, the music in gay clubs, bad legislation or religious backwardness? Would you like to join the parade but hate the idea of 10 other sweaty people standing next to you? Would you like a lesbian social life, but hate lacrosse? Serious and not-so-serious topics welcome.

NOH8 Open Photo Shoot
NOH8 Open Photo Shoot

Open Photo Shoot for the NOH8 Campaign
When: August 18 from 17.00 to 20.00
Where: Mamaison Riverside Hotel, Janáčkovo nábřeží 15, Praha 5
Organized by: NOH8 campaign
Individual photo shoot: 700 CZK
Couples & group photos: 400 CZK/person
Take part in the international charitable NOH8 Campaign which promotes and raises awareness for marriage equality and anti-discrimination.Celebrity Photographer and NOH8 Co-Founder Adam Bouska will be working around the clock to photograph 5-10 frames for each person that comes through the door.

The Secret Diary of a Fag Hag
When: August 16, 14.00 to 17.00
Where: Piazzeta of the National Theater
Organized by: A Broad’s Way Productions
Free entry
A Broad’s Way Productions is a Prague-based theatre company whose work focusses on issues of gender, sexuality, and identity. During Pride 2013 they will be compiling information, stories, pictures and video samples for their new work-in-progress “The Secret Diary of a Fag Hag”, an exploration into the mysterious world of women who proudly declare themselves “flame dames”, “fruit loops”, “queen bees” and, above all, “fag hags”. “The Secret Diary of a Fag Hag” project will be hosting an interactive installation at the Nova Scena Piazza where you can participate in the on-going project premiering in Prague later this year. 

How will you show your Pride this year?

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