Thousands attend Prague rally in support of LGBT rights

Thousands of people gathered on Wenceslas Square in Prague on Wednesday evening to call for an end to prejudice against LGBT+ people, which led to the homophobic murder of two young men in Bratislava earlier this month.

Viktor Heumann | Photo: Facebook of Viktor Heumann

Several thousand people gathered on Prague’s main square on Wednesday evening to raise their voice against homophobia. Human rights activists, singers, actors and public figures denounced the murders and blamed the Czech and Slovak governments for dragging their feet in giving LGBT people equal rights, which they say fueled prejudices and hatred against them.

Viktor Heumann from the NGO Transparent said the system itself was intended to root out anyone different.

“What occurred outside the queer bar Teplaren in Bratislava two weeks ago was hatred in its worst form. Hatred that is directed against all of us who are different, against the whole LGBT community. This terrorist act, which ended the life of Juraj and Matuš, stems from an evil that is not visible, a systemic violence which is part of the order we live in, the legal order that impacts our everyday lives. This system aims to erase our trans-identity, aims to make us invisible and force us out of the majority population. It aims to “normalize” our appearance, our behavior and our bodies. “

Adela Horáková from the NGO We are Fair slammed this and former governments for having ignored the rights of LGBT people and for allowing prejudice against them to grow. She said nothing of any significance had been done to secure equal rights for the LGBT community in the last sixteen years, basically since the law on registered partnerships was approved. All other bills, including one for gay couples to enter into a regular marriage or adopt children had been swept under the table. She argued that it was this negative attitude towards the community that led to the tragic shooting in Bratislava, noting that Slovaks did not even have the right to registered partnerships and just days before the murder the country’s parliament had only narrowly rejected a proposed ban on the rainbow flag to be hoisted in the country. Such actions, she argued, fueled hate and discrimination among the public. In a passionate address to the gathering, she slammed those MPs who claimed they could not vote for gay marriage because it was vital to protect traditional family values.

Photo: David Taneček,  ČTK

“If you say you need to protect someone –be it a symbol or a family –from us, then you are saying that we are a threat. If you say that children in our care do not prosper, you are saying that we are a threat. Stop spreading lies about us! That will do for a start. “

Wednesday’s event was attended, among others, by the government’s Human Rights Commissioner Klára Laurenčíková, Senator Miloš Vystrčil and Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib.

According to the organizers, a petition calling for the government and parliament to adopt legislation that better protects the LGBTQ+ community has now been signed by over 18,000 people.