2016 Prague Pride highlights the right to love

Photo: Filip Jandourek, ČRo

The sixth annual Prague Pride festival celebrating sexual minorities kicks off in the Czech capital on Monday with a concert on Střelecký Island. The week-long festival offers more than 130 events, including debates, film screenings and exhibitions, and will culminate with a colourful parade through the city centre on Saturday. I asked Prague Pride spokesperson Bohdana Rambousková about the main topic of this year’s festival and the events taking place.

Photo: Prague Pride
“The main topic this year is love. We wanted to stress that each person, no matter their sexual orientation, has the same right to love, to be loved and to share their life with someone.”

Who are some of the VIP guests and supporters this year?

“We will welcome over 30 VIP guests both from the Czech Republic and abroad and the biggest star – if I can put it that way –is Omar Sharif Jr., the grandson of the famous actor. He is the first person to “come out” in the Arab world. He was born in Egypt and of course after coming out he had to leave the country. Currently he lives in Canada and he is coming to the Czech Republic to share his story, his ideas and his LBGT activism.”

The event is traditionally supported by the US Embassy and Prague City Hall, is it not?

Photo: Official website of Prague Pride
“Yes, we are happy that the US Embassy has been with us from the very first year and we are also supported by Prague City Hall. The mayor of Prague took part in the parade last year and we hope she will find the time to join us again this year.”

The week-long festival traditionally culminates with a parade – how many people are you expecting?

“The parade will traditionally take place on Saturday and last year we had over 30,000 people taking part. We were very lucky because we had very nice weather and we hope that this year it will be the same and at least the same number of people will join us –either for the parade or for the music festival that follows at Letná Park.”

Does the festival attract a lot of foreign visitors?

Photo: Filip Jandourek,  ČRo
“According to our surveys several thousand – two to three thousand – people come to the event from abroad. Mostly these are people from neighbouring countries and also from countries where they cannot enjoy their gay pride as they can in Prague, i.e. people from Slovakia or from Poland.”

Has the festival changed in any way over the years?

Photo: Official website of Prague Pride
“When we started in 2011 only about 2,000 people took part and politicians and the general public were a bit confused about what was happening. It was an awkward situation because they did not know what to expect from Prague Pride. But over the years we grew into the biggest summer event in Prague and we attract not only members of the LGBT community but also the general public. And this is also how the festival is conceived –it is not just a festival for the LGBT community, it is meant to be a platform for meetings and debates open to anyone, be they from the majority or any type of minority –for these people to meet, to talk and to get to know each other.”