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Prague Pride to focus on LGBT members of Romani community

Prague, 20.6.2012 20:25, (ROMEA)

The "Rainbow Parade" or "Pride Parade" which will take place on 18 August at the end of this year's Prague Pride festival will start on Wenceslas Square and end on Shooter's Island (Střelecký ostrov). Organizers decided to change the route after last year's success. It is expected that more people will join the parade this year than last, when 8 000 people came to town for it. Czeslaw Walek, director of the festival, informed journalists of the plans today.

The second annual Prague Pride festival will take place from 13 - 19 August in the Czech capital. It will feature 80 separate events - concerts, discussions, exhibitions, and parties.

"After last year's experience we wanted to change the parade route to make it more interesting. The change will also make it possible to use more cars (with sound systems) from the very start of the parade," Walek said. Organizers believe that more participants will attend this year. Last year was proof that the parade is not a political action or demonstration, but an event open to all.

Marchers will start assembling at noon at the statue of Saint Václav on Wenceslas Square. At 13:00 the parade will set off for Můstek and will then proceed down 28. října street along Národní to Střelecký ostrov (Shooter's Island), where a free concert will take place featuring Dara Rolins, Toxique, The Tap Tap, Bitumen Beat and the Israeli band The Young Professionals.

Organizers of this year's Prague Pride have chosen the slogan "Let's put colors together" ("Dáme barvy dohromady"). They primarily intend to present groups that remain hidden, such as the lives of gay, lesbian and transsexual people living with disabilities, as well as the lives of LGBT members of the Romani community.

One evening of the festival will be devoted to a fashion show featuring clothing by a Romani designer, Romani music, comics, and a debate. A lesbian couple living with disabilities will talk about their situation. The debate on transsexuality will feature Polish MP Anna Grodzká, who has undergone a sex change operation. An exhibition of paintings and photographs at the DOX center will also explore the topic. The festival program will also touch on gay and lesbian parenting.

The fashion show and parade are intended to support diversity and contribute to respect for difference. "Our long-term aim is to create one of the best, most interesting Pride festivals in Central and Eastern Europe," Walek said.

Walek said the first year of the festival featuring the first-ever pride march in Prague was "highly successful". A total of 25 000 people visited 70 events. Thousands more came to the parade and the closing event on Shooter's Island (Střelecký ostrov).

Last year the festival and the first-ever "Rainbow Parade" in Prague prompted resistance in conservative circles. Presidential staffer Petr Hájek labeled LGBT people as "deviant fellow-citizens". Czech President Václav Klaus then said the term "deviation" was "value-neutral". He also said the Prague parade was not an expression of "homosexuality", but of "homosexualism".

Many leading personalities responded by supporting the organizers and the entire LGBT community. Mayor of Prague Bohuslav Svoboda (Civic Democrats - ODS) has provided his auspices to the event, as he did last year. Organizers want to reach out to political parties to participate in the march as well.

ČTK, František Kostlán, Gwendolyn Albert, fk, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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