People in Prague holding Rainbow flag during Pride
Czech Mate – Prague is in the middle of a very important Pride.

Czech Mate – Prague is in the middle of a very important Pride.

Nearly a hundred social, cultural, and sporting events constitute the program of the 3rd annual Prague Pride festival, held from August 12 to 18. The events, which cater to locals as well as international visitors, embody this year’s theme, which is coming out.

To be authentic and live openly, without pretending to be someone else is still a problem in Central Europe, and even in Czech society, which has a better record of LGBT rights than some other European countries.

According to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), only 11 per cent of Czech gays and lesbians are out in their workplace. In the Czech political scene, there is not a single politician that voluntarily came out publicly.

Therefore, one of the highlights of the festival will be a debate on coming out and politics, with U.S. Congressman David Cicilline, the conservative British MP Michael Freer and liberal Dutch MP Mark Verheijen, among others. I am incredibly proud to be facilitating this debate and bringing my perspective as an out lesbian based in New York, where we are lucky enough to have marriage equality and an out lesbian running for mayor.

Coming out in sports will also be addressed in a discussion with representatives of sports organizations, journalists and athletes themselves. Participants of Prague Pride will also be able to participate in football, volleyball, squash and women’s rugby. Other highlights of Prague Pride will include performances, films, a silent disco, a photoshoot for the NOH8 campaign and the annual Business Forum.

The program Transgender Me will feature an international exhibition of contemporary art focusing on transgenders from different cultures and times. International visitors to Prague Pride have a choice of boating, running, and drinking tours to help them become acquainted with the city. But the highlight of the festival will no doubt be the colourful parade and concert on Saturday, August 17.

Watch the Coming out and Politics Panel hosted by our very own Merryn Johns below: