Prague Pride week starts Aug. 8

The Pride Parade will be Aug. 13 and follow the same route as last year to Letná

The annual Prague Pride is almost upon us, and organizers want to remind everyone that everyone is welcome, and that the inclusive event is much more than just a colorful parade.

The week of events also includes seminars, meetings, films, parties, exhibitions and networking events from Aug. 8 through Aug. 14. The parade will be Aug. 13 starting and will follow the same route as last year, ending up in Letná Park for a party.

There are only a handful of changes compared to last year's Pride Week. Prague Pride has a new website that is much more user friendly and a new app for smartphones, based on one used in London for that city's pride events. There is also a Pride Picnic the day after the parade, for those who didn't overindulge and can manage to get out of bed sometime after 11 am but before 9 pm.

This year, events will be in various locations, but the two mains sites are Pride Village, on Střelecký ostrov, and Pride House, at Langhans – Centrum Člověka v tísni at Vodičkova 37 in Prague 1.

Pride Village is on the island that was the location of the party after the first Pride Parade in 2011. The parade crowd has now far outgrown that space, but during the week it will host the Aug. 8 opening concert and other events all week including picnics, more music, sports, children's events and workshops.

Pride House
will have lectures and workshops ranging from political topics like LGBT issues in Islam and other religions to safer sex and a recent hot topic, BDSM. Some discussions are in Czech only.

The Aug. 8 opening concert, running 6 pm to 10 pm, is one of the few events to have an admission fee, but it is only Kč 100. Musicians include actor and singer Adam Mišík, who released his debut solo album Parfém in 2014; the heavy metal band Vladivojsko, which seeks to have an appeal beyond just headbangers; and Jan Bendig, who rose to fame on the TV show SuperStar.

A special musical guest is Czech swing legend Jitka Zelenková, in an effort to show that Prague Pride is open to all generations.

A guest of honor at the concert is Omar Sharif Jr., grandson of a famous actor Omar Sharif. The younger Sharif will talk to the audience about his experiences being gay in the Arab world.

Omar Sharif Jr will also appear Aug. 10 at 7 pm at the cinema of the French Institute for a panel discussion called Pride Voices. Also on that panel will be Sister Vicious, who founded the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence movement; Shannon Kearns, the first openly trans priest; Hana Kulhánková, a Czech LGBT activist and founder of various LGBT organizations; and Jacob Huang, founder of the Chinese NGO Aibai, which supports the LGBT community in China. The panel is free of charge.

People in the tourism industry may be interested in the Pride Travel Symposium, which on Aug. 11 will address issues in LGBT tourism. The speakers will include Richard Gray, director of LGBTQ tourism in Greater Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Bob Witeck, Communication Specialist and creator of the first LGBT campaign for the Marriott Hotel network; and Ralf Ostendorf from the Berlin network Pink Pillow.

Also on Aug. 11 there is the Pride Business Forum 2016 on the topic of How to Implement Global Values on a Local Level.

But the center of the event is the parade. Organizers emphasize that everyone is welcome to march and to watch. Elaborate costumes are welcome, but so are families with children so people are asked to use some judgment and common sense while at the same time taking the freedom to express themselves.

The parade goes through the historical center of Prague, but for logistical reasons has to avoid Old Town Square, even though they would like to go there. The size of floats or decorated cars is also limited due to overhead cables and road capacity.

But it is always a fun time, and has grown bigger every year. One of the key supporters of the parade since the beginning is the American Embassy in Prague, which will again be near the front.

The parade lasts about three hours, from noon to 3 pm on Aug. 13 starting at Wenceslas Square.

The subsequent party on Letná attracts about 20,000 people, based on an anonymous analysis of the number mobile phone pings.

Aside form the US Embassy, which also supports the Pride Village, the Israeli Embassy supports a play during the week, the French Institute supports Pride Voices and the Czech-German Future Fund supports three events.


For more information please visit www.praguepride.cz

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