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Roma at Prague Pride festival say sexual minorities are still taboo in their community

11.8.2016 13:17
A photo of the Romani LGBT float during the Prague Pride parade in 2014. (PHOTO:   František Kostlán)
A photo of the Romani LGBT float during the Prague Pride parade in 2014. (PHOTO: František Kostlán)

Part of the ongoing Prague Pride week traditionally is a segment of the program produced by the Romani association ARA ART. This association has long been involved not just in art with an educational and social scope, but also in specializing on the issue of multiple discrimination and working with the Romani LGBT community.

Within the framework of Prague Pride 2016, the fourth annual Roma LGBT Workshop has been underway since Tuesday:  A working meeting of Romani youth who grapple with problems connected to their different sexual orientation not only in the larger society, but primarily inside the Romani community. The Workshop will be immediately followed by the Second Annual International Roma LGBT Conference, which is attended by activists from the Romani LGBT minority from many European countries.

"Homosexuality is to this day a big taboo in the Romani community. As part of these workshops, however, we are seeing progress being made every year as a result of our meetings - the number of attendees is rising and people are much more open than they were three years ago when we began this project. The degree of openness and willingness to name these problems and solve them is also growing. This year as part of the workshop we are starting a project of Romani LGBT consultants who will aid with communicating the topic of different sexual orientations directly in Romani families," said ARA ART director David Tišer.

As part of this year's Pride week, ARA ART will also present several cultural events. Tuesday saw a theater forum presentation on the topic of discrimination of a minority by a minority.  

Today, Thursday 11 August, an exhibition by photographer Milan Junek entitled "Oppression / Depression / Passion" will open at the Gallery Phundrado Vudar, which is located in the spaces of Café Souterrain (Bělehradská 20, Prague). In these sensitive photographs, Junek captures the emotions that people of different sexual orientations must deal with.

As part of the opening there will also be a concert by Pavlína Matiová and Michal Beňák. Prague Pride 2016 will culminate in a march on Saturday in which LGBT Roma will have their own float, as they do every year, and Romani performers will be featured on the World Music stage at the festival immediately following the march on the Letná Plain.

Those performing will include, for example, Jan Bendig, Crazy Goddess, Elis, Erika Fečová, The Fellas, Gitana (from Slovakia), Pavlína Matiová, Le Čhavendar and many more. "This is the second year we have prepared a musical program for the festival. Prague Pride and the community connected with it is known to prefer electronic music. We Roma, however, prefer live musical performances, and last year it turned out we were not alone. We appreciate the fact that the organizers of Prague Pride respect our preferences and we believe audiences will once again enjoy the energy of these live musicians together with us," said Tišer.

"We are, naturally, at Pride all night long, so DJs will share the stage with us as well. From Hungary the DJ Gypsy Robot is coming, while from Bohemia it will be GADJO.CZ (radio1) featuring HADASH (live saxophone) and DJ IPEK from Germany," the ARA ART director said.

press release of the ARA ART association, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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actions, ARA ART, Culture, Konference, Lgbt, Prague Pride, Praha, workshop



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