Sunday, June 27, 2010

Brno Pride 2010

Pride marks the anniversary of the Stonewall riots which was the start of the gay rights movement in the U.S. Yesterday, was Brno's gay pride event. I've got to say that it was unlike any that I've seen before.

For example, in the U.S., Pride normally begins on Friday afternoon and lasts the entire weekend. You have THOUSANDS of people show up. There will sometimes be a few religious protesters but nothing to worry about. There are always lots of booths and vendors. Some great parties. And everyone searches for the perfect spot on Sunday morning to watch the parade.

Here, Pride was on a Saturday from 1 PM - 3 PM. There were about 600 people. There was one afterparty that began at 7 PM. Neo-Nazis showed up. And we were the parade. Again, very different. This must have been how it was like in Atlanta or Los Angeles back in the 70s and early 80s.

Czechs are the most liberal of the post-iron curtain countries. As a part of the EU, the ČR recognizes same-sex couples, complete with all of the financial benefits that straight couples receive. Except that gay couples can not adopt children here. So this country is ahead of the U.S. when it comes to equal rights.

But sometimes, to me, it feels like the 1950s around here. I think it has to do with the legacy of communism. Back then, people got married and started having kids quite young. Between 18 - 23. And having a family made it easier to get a government apartment. If you weren't married with kids then you were an old maid.

This is only the second Pride ever in Brno. The first one was in 2008 and was disrupted by protestors. They haven't even had one in Prague yet. I'm sure that the city didn't want a repeat of what happened in Bratislava last month. There were about 150 militants from the right-wing Národní odpor (National resistance) that showed up. But security was tight. Police were in full riot gear to keep the peace. There were canine units, police on horseback and a helicopter over the event the entire time.

Overall it was a very mellow event. Several speakers including Dzhamila Stehlíková, from the Government Council for Human Rights. A few disco songs, some more speakers and a 20-minute march around Freedom Square.

One guy near us did try to throw eggs and the cops had him slammed to the ground in about 2 seconds. Then during the parade, someone threw a smoke grenade. But there weren't any other problems that I saw. Seven people were arrested. The police were great and did an awesome job at keeping everyone safe.

I know a few people who did not go because I think they were afraid of what would happen or that maybe their picture will be in the newspaper. Hopefully, people will see that everything was OK and more will show up next year.

1 comment:

  1. I don't agree with you, social pressure on unmarriage people is much older than communism. Soviet Union was one of first countries that legalize abortion, in this way they wanted encourage women to join men and build communism, develop economy. People who get married, have children, start to worry about the family.

    Situation become different when many people were killed in WWII.

    Think about situation in Western Europe in XIX century and beginning of XX. Society was not tolerant to 25+ unmarried women, so the same situation must be in Czech Republic.