Czech Republic: Gay Romani man's week includes a racist assault with a gun, rejection from a bar and strange police treatment
At the beginning of August, I experienced several amazing days with the organization ARA ART. I participated in the first international Roma LGBT conference. As part of the conference, together with six other gay Roma, I took part in the Theater of the Oppressed by putting on a play about being Roma and gay. At the conference, I met 20 other Romani LGBT. In our free time, we were able to enjoy ourselves freely in clubs and other entertainment facilities without being discriminated against. All this changed upon my return to the mundane reality of the city of Ostrava.
On 28 August, a friend of mine and I wanted to go to the gay club Rio City Ostrava. We used to go there in the past with our friends without any problems. We wanted to go in there at around 11 PM when we were stopped at the entrance by the security guards: According to them, the owner did not wish for members of the Romani minority to enter. We were forced to leave, which is normal here in Ostrava, for instance, on Stodolni Street, where a Roma has no chance of getting into a club. I could not help myself and contacted the owner in writing, asking him whether I could hold a private function at their premises. Initially, he was very welcoming, but when I wrote to him that it would be a private function for Roma, he never replied again. I would like to point out that we used to go to this club and never ever had there been any kind of issue. However, now, we were not let in because the security guards "identified" us as Roma.
Four days later, on 1 September, the same friend of mine and I experienced something terrible in Ostrava. We were attacked during the day for no reason by a white man who assaulted us with a weapon and shouted racist slurs at us. He yelled "You black Gypsies, Jews, you deserve to be killed" while pointing a gun at us. I can't possibly ever forget what happened on that day. God watched over us - that guy could have killed us. The police are looking into the assault, but I was informed during the interrogation process that it would be dealt with as a misdemeanor.
So - that's how life in Ostrava is for people who are polite and who were born Roma and gay, which is not their fault. I fear for my life and the lives of all Roma in a situation where there are criminals and racists roaming the streets freely and at large who keep terrorizing us for no reason. What saddens me as well is that we are rejected by our "own" people, non-Romani LGBT who do not let us into gay bars in Ostrava, forcing us to go to other cities.
The author does not wish to disclose his name, which is known to the editors.
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