Prague Pride opens city’s only LGBT+ community centre
A new LGBT+ community centre has just opened on Železná St. in central Prague. The centre, which is open year-round, is run by Prague Pride, organisers of the country’s biggest festival for sexual minorities. I discussed it with Pride’s director Tom Bílý, who also heads the new community centre.
“The mission of Prague Pride is to create a safe and respectful environment for everyone.
“People can be themselves there regardless of their orientation or gender identity.
“So for many years our organisation dreamed of creating such a community meeting place that would offer LGBT+ people a wide range of activities throughout the year.
“That’s finally becoming reality right now.”
What kind of services are you offering? Or what can people do if they use the community centre?
“Our community centre consists of two main parts.
“The first of them is our so-called ‘hall’, which is designed for organising various community events: discussions, evenings, screenings or support groups.
“It has a comfortable capacity of about 40 people.
“The second part is our community centre is the so-called ‘clubhouse’, which primarily a place for relaxation and meetings in smaller groups of people.
“It offers a small library as well, a wide range of board games, PlayStation, jukebox.
“There’s also a children’s corner and a make-up table, etcetera, etcetera.”
The community centre is in the centre of Prague. I presume rents are reasonably high there. How are you funding it?
“In fact we are right around the corner from Old Town Square and we have here a pretty big space that is shared between the community centre and our own offices.
“We rent this place from the City of Prague.
“You are right, the rent here is not low, so we need to take care of funding of course.
“We are trying. We have some partners, some sponsors.
“We also have some educational projects and grants, but we are really looking for partners, still.
“Because as my colleague says, We would like to have a Porsche here, but right now we have a Trabi.
“So we have a lot of ideas for our community centre and we are looking for partners that would like to support us.”
Do you know if other Pride organisations in other cities around Europe have similar centres to your new place?
“It really differs.
“In some cities the Pride organisers have these community centres; in other cities it is LGBTIQ support organisations.
“So it really varies from city to city.
“I’m very happy that also in Prague we now have a community centre, because Prague is like a centre for LGBTIQ people in Central and Eastern Europe and still there was no community place like this.”