2020 Prague Pride highlights plight of LGBT communities elsewhere in V4

Photo: archive of Prague Pride festival

The 2020 Prague Pride festival of LGBT culture, which got underway on Monday, is somewhat different than previous editions, with no city centre parade and fewer foreign visitors. But the organisers have still put together a packed programme for this year’s event, which boasts a record number of venues. Just before it all began, I asked Prague Pride spokesman Filip Milde about the theme this year, Pride Live.

“This means that the festival will connect us truly live. Because it’s in the first time in our history that we will have live streaming of our events that are happening during the festival.

“So things are happening live, where people can go out and meet in person, but they will also be online, where they will be broadcast live every day from 4 pm to 9 pm.

“Discussions, workshops and interviews will be broadcast on this live stream.”

This year for the first time there’s no Pride Parade. But I understand that there’s some kind of substitute event on Saturday?

Filip Milde | Photo: Archive of Filip Milde

“Yes, the Pride Parade is cancelled because of the security situation and the coronavirus epidemic.

“But we will have a Pride Cruise in the afternoon. There will be rainbow boats floating on the Vltava River from 1 o’clock to 6 p.m.

“During this time people are invited to organise a picnic along the river, so at Smíchov or Pride Village or Žluté lázně you can go out and have a picnic.”

How much is this year’s Pride, which is the 10th, being impacted by the Covid-19 situation?

“The whole festival is pretty much impacted, because the work on the festival starts pretty much two weeks after each festival ends.

“So we had to start from scratch in March or in April when the epidemic hit. We had to come up with a new theme, come up with a new structure.

“We decided that we wanted to broadcast events online, just in case the whole festival will be cancelled – so we wanted to give people the opportunity to still enjoy the festival, but only online.

“And we also have to make sure that we will have only a certain amount of people at certain events.”

I guess also it means you won’t have, you can’t have, the usual number of foreign visitors?

“Yes. We also don’t have a large number of foreign guests. Again, they will be joining us online, mostly.

“But we are also trying to focus on neighbouring countries and we want to invite people from Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovakia, where it is much easier for them to come and join the festival.”

Prague Pride 2019,  photo: Igor Budykin

The LGBT community have faced a lot of pressure in some other countries in the region, specifically in Poland and Hungary. Does that give an added impetus to Prague Pride to be visible and to reach a lot of people?

“The situation LGBT people in the Visegrad Four countries is the theme of many of our events.

“We have a debate with people who are organising Pride festivals and the discussion is called How is it to Organise Pride When Your Life is Being Threatened.

“So we are really trying to involve people from our neighbouring countries, to show solidarity and also to share their stories about the situation right now, mainly in Poland, where things are really getting much, much worse.”