Prague Pride Festival gets underway with focus on ‘coming out’

The 2021 Prague Pride festival of LGBT+ culture gets underway in the Czech capital on Monday. The week-long event will bring more than 130 events, including concerts, film screenings, debates and drag performances. However, the event’s main highlight, the city centre parade, had to be cancelled for a second consecutive year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Just before the start of the festival, I spoke to Prague Pride spokesman Daniel Zikmund and began by asking him about this year’s main theme, which is ‘coming out’:

“Coming out is something that really touches all LGBT+ people, but also their close relatives, friends and families. So we really wanted to highlight this topic and talk about it in a really broad sense.

Photo: Klára Stejskalová,  Radio Prague International

“We are also going to highlight the specifics of coming out in other groups, such as Roma people or disabled people. Our Pride Life venue is in the building of organisation Život 90, which focuses on helping our elderly citizens, so we are going to focus on coming out among them as well.”

This year for the second time there’s no Pride Parade, which is usually the culmination of the week-long festival. Will there be some sort of substitute event?

“The Covid-19 pandemic is still here. That’s why we decided to have smaller events throughout the week so that we don’t have too many people at one place at one time.

“There are altogether 135 events, so we believe that everyone will find what they like. The highlight of the whole week could be the opening concert today at six p.m. at Střelecký Ostrov.”

Apart from the opening concert, can you mention some other highlights of this year’s edition of Prague Pride?

“On Saturday at five p.m. in Pride House Kasárna Karlín there will be an event called Pride Voices. We will have hosts from abroad, from Germany, but also from the Czech Republic, taking about their coming out stories. It will be full of emotions.

“Just after that we will have debate with the director of the documentary film Zákon lásky about the marriage equality process in the Czech Republic in the past couple of years, which will be followed by the film screening. For those who cannot attend personally, there will be an online stream on our Facebook page and on YouTube.”

Finally, Czech president Miloš Zeman has recently made headlines with his comments against the transgender community. Does that give you even more motivation to be visible and to reach as many people as you can?

“We believe it is important to reach out to the general public and talk to them about LGBT+ people. We think that even with the theme of ‘coming out’, talking about it and putting it in context is really important. We believe that if there is a normal discussion, we can make some progress in terms of getting more respect from the general public.”