Emotions and pride at the Prague Pride Parade
On Saturday, 13 August, just after noon, the Pride Parade took off from Prague's Náměstí Republiky. The parade marked the end of Prague Pride 2011, a five-day festival celebrating diversity and tolerance.
Several thousand people participated in the rainbow procession. The space between the start of the march and its ending point on Střelecký ostrov (Shooters' Island) was completely filled for more than an hour with a diverse crowd of people. Some showed up in ordinary jeans and t-shirts, decorated only with a small flag on their backpacks, while others chose multicolored costumes and wigs. Others wore masks resembling the Czech President and his Vice-Chancellor. Everyone had one thing in common - this first-ever Prague Pride was an unforgettable experience for them, a fun way to let people know of their existence and to draw attention to the hidden homophobic sentiment that can lie beneath the surface of a society that seems tolerant at first glance. Many others did not leave their children, colleagues, friends, neighbors and siblings of different sexual orientations to go it alone, but came out to the march to support them.
Even though some political debates in recent days and weeks cast doubt on whether any pride would be taken in the parade, comparing it to some sort of effrontery, pride was to be felt everywhere. The march was not a display of arrogance, bestiality or pompousness, but one of extravagance combined with the more than positive acceptance given it by the onlookers. There was also great emotion at seeing the many waving older women who were sending kisses to members of the procession.
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