Prague Pride 2017 has over 100 events

The Pride March is just one part of a program to show that prejudice still exists

The seventh edition of Prague Pride takes place Aug. 7 to 13 with 104 events. The Pride March on Aug 12 is the most high-profile event, but it comes near the end of the festival.

The LGBT festival's events have a human rights aspect and will be attended by activists from around the world. Some 42 organizations, companies and individuals are taking part. Note that not all events and discussions are English-friendly, and the festival website can help you sort out what is what.

The name “Pointless Festival” puts a spotlight on common prejudices LGBT people face. The goal is to show that being lesbian or gay is just as natural as being heterosexual. It is not a personal choice or a fashionable trend, it is a reality that deserves to be respected.

The festival will show the fate of gay people from Chechnya, whose regime-directed persecution became known to the world in spring. Prague Pride is starting a public collection for the Russian LGBT Network, which helps Chechen gay people seeking refuge in Moscow.

On Aug. 10 there will be a round table discussion, Lie or Die: The Situation of Gay Men in Chechnya with Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of the LGBT program at Human Rights Watch; activist Zakir Magomedov from Russia’s Caucasus region; and Jan Latal, head of the transition promotion section of the Department of Human Rights & Transition Promotion Policy of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The section Untold Stories from Armenia will have a documentary about LGBT people in Armenia. The film was withdrawn at the last moment from this year’s Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival in Armenia. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Armenian gay activist Eduard Martirosyan.

From Taiwan the festival will have Jennifer Lu of the Taiwan Tonghzi Hotline Association for LGBT Rights. Since 2016 she has been coordinator of the Coalition for Marriage Equality, which will become reality after a May ruling by the Constitutional Court of Taiwan. She will be one of the speakers at Pride Voices and will be at the panel discussion How to Win a Marriage at the Pride House.

Two international personalities will put the spotlight on the situation with LGBT believers. The Logos Czech Republic group has invited the Anglican Church's General Synod member Jayne Ozanne, who played a great role in the recent ban on conversion therapy in that church. Jayne, who came out in 2015, will share her experiences during the Pride Voices evening and a day later will deliver the lecture A Church for Everyone? about the church's attitude toward LGBT people.

Another Logos group guest is Jakub Pavluš. He was a priest of the Evangelic Church of the Augsburg Confession in Turany, Slovakia, but was removed because of his positive attitude toward gays and lesbians. He emigrated and since spring has been a congregational priest of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren in Šumperk, Czech Republic. In Prague he will deliver a lecture about the views on LGBT people in evangelic churches within the Lutheran World Federation.

Russian historian, activist and educator Ira Roldugina in her lecture Lessons in In/visibility: LGBT Lives Under Communism will tell us about her studies in the KGB archives, which has files on LGBT people from as early as the 1920s. Czech activist Jana Kociánová will remember life in communist Czechoslovakia.

Ellie Lust will show that gays aren’t exclusively hairdressers and ballet dancers. Ellie is a Dutch police officer and chairwoman of the Pink in Blue organization – an association of LGBT police officers founded in 1998 dedicated to law enforcement in Amsterdam. Ellie will take part in the Pride Voices event and will also sit on the Police and LGBT panel.

The multi-genre collaborative project Sexposed highlights HIV prevention and the problem of social exclusion and stigmatization of HIV-positive people. There will be four Sexposed/Pride Theatre drama evenings. The student exhibition Sexposed/Uncensored is dedicated to sexuality, carnality and illness. A film screening and discussion will focus on online dating, chemsex, swingers parties and the risks involved.

The international social anthropology film festival Antropofest will present two documentaries on LGBT themes.

The drum and bass festival Let It Roll is sending its DJs to the Pride Village to perform Aug. 9 in the afternoon and then later at the after party hosted by Žižkov's club Storm. The Let It Roll DJ team includes Slovakia’s DJ B-Complex, who identifies both as a man and as a woman.

Prague Pride is also collaborating with the queer film festival Mezipatra, which will be showing films at Hybernská 4, and with the homeless guide organization Pragulic.

HIV Prevention Day is Aug. 11. The topic will be central throughout the afternoon in the Pride Village. Czech Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will lead a seminar on safe sex, and books on HIV+ will be available. The goal is to motivate people to take free and anonymous HIV tests in a Czech AIDS Help Society tent. The evening will continue with a Thom Artway concert, the world premiere of the dance-visual performance Black&White by Jana Vrána in the Pride Village and the drama Passion with HIV topics and two HIV positive actors in the Pride Theater.

On Aug. 9 the Rainbow Tram will drive through central Prague with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to raise HIV awareness.

The Trans*parent organization has prepared a creative workshop for Queer/Trans Teens and for older audiences coming out a workshop for adults called It’s Never Too Late! Trans people and their friends can join the trans support group. Trans*parent is bringing Ilai Jesse, teacher of Argentine queer tango from the school Queer Tango Berlin. He will hold a dance lesson in which the dance roles do not depend on gender, and following just one gender is not compulsory.

The Pride House will host an exhibition of trans and feminist comics, Trans*Siberia, dealing with the lives of transgender people in Siberia. It is by 23-year old painter, writer and trans activist Herman Alius.

A landmark topic of the festival has been LGBT families, who are growing in numbers in the Czech society. Those planning families will be able to attend lectures and workshops on artificial insemination, substitute family care and surrogate motherhood abroad. The events are also open to those who already have children and struggle with the unequal status of the families of same-sex couples in Czech society.

The start of Prague Pride will take place on Střelecký Island, with the opening ceremony of the Pride Village. A concert will feature the Roma band Terne Čhave, the Slovak singer Katarzia, the Circus Brothers from the Balkans, the Czech rapper SharkaSs. Live circus acrobats will shake the island.

Two other festival places under focus in the festival’s program are Pride House at Langhans, the center of the People in Need, and Pride Theater, which will be at Venuše ve Švehlovce.

A novelty this year is the festival magazine named Prague Pride Mag, which replaces the previous program brochure. The 48 page magazine has program highlights, interviews and articles on LGBT topics. Part of the content is in English.

The Pride March will take place Aug. 12 and will go from Wenceslas Square to Letná. Lining up begins half an hour earlier than before, at 11:30 am. One hour later the parade will leave Můstek, circle the statue of St Wenceslas and exit the square via Na Příkopě. The parade arrives at Letna after 2 pm. The parade will be followed by a music program with two DJ stages and a live music stage, an NGO market called JarmarQ, and food and drinks. After the wrapup at 10 pm there is an after party called Prague Pride Dirty Dirty Dancing Vol. 3 at Nákladové nádraží Žižkov.

The festival program can be found at www.praguepride.com and in the mobile app Convene Prague Pride by Thomson Reuters. 

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