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Rainbow PRIDE Bratislava 2017

Rainbow PRIDE Bratislava promotes LGBTI visibility, various artists also show their support

Bratislava, 2 August 2017: The Rainbow PRIDE Bratislava 2017 festival will take place on 19 August 2017. The principal theme of this occasion is the issue of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) visibility in Slovak society. The main act of the seventh annual PRIDE will be the performance of the band Puding Pani Elvisovej. In addition, various eminent Slovak visual artists have utilised their art to encourage online donations to raise money for the event.

The traditional Rainbow PRIDE Bratislava festival will take place for the seventh time on 19 August at 13:00 at Hviezdoslav Square. PRIDE is a colourful walk among the streets of Bratislava’s Old City. Here, LGBTI people, accompanied by their families, friends, colleagues and other acquaintances, show that LGBTI people in Slovakia are regular citizens who want the equal opportunity to care for their health, find happiness, earn a living, feel safe in their country, and take care of their loved ones. The main goal of the event is supporting the visibility of LGBTI people in Slovakia and showing our diversity.

Why is it making LGBTI people in Slovakia more visible so important? Slovak law does not recognize same-sex couples and their families. Registered partnerships are not recognized and since 2014 same-sex marriage has been prohibited by an amendment to the constitution. Transgender people are required to undergo compulsory sterilisation as part of their legal gender change.

“The history of the movement for LGBTI rights in the US and across Europe over the last 50 years speaks for itself. The main reason why a majority of people began to accept LGBTI people as their equals in society was that they met LGBTI people face to face in their families, at work, in schools, in their neighbourhoods, religious communities, sports teams, et cetera,” says Rainbow PRIDE spokesperson Martin Macko. In this regard, Slovakia is behind other countries: according to a Focus agency poll on behalf of Iniciatíva Inakosť [“Otherness Initiative”, a non-governmental organisation] conducted in June 2016, only 35 percent of respondents knew a gay or lesbian person.

“The astonishing thing is that after 26 years of democracy and development of civic society, nearly two thirds of people do not personally know an LGBTI individual,” adds Macko.

The same poll reasserted the importance of personal experience to improve the LGBTI community’s position in society. Only 7.6 percent of people who had personal experience with a gay or lesbian person were quoted as having had a negative experience (6.3 percent stated it was rather negative and only 1.3 percent viewed it as very negative).

Rainbow PRIDE Bratislava president Diana Pruchnerovičová says: “Observing the rise of political extremism in Slovakia, we regard it as extremely important that even top government officials and politicians, city officials, civic representatives and the business sector symbolically declare their support for the principle of unity – namely, the principle that LGBTI people are an equal part of the state, nation, society and local community. If we base the discussion about the status of LGBTI people on what we have in common, whereby we highlight the values, dreams and beliefs that unite us instead of the differences between us, then it will be difficult to perceive LGBTI people as ‘the other’, ‘different’, or even as enemies of ‘our’ values.”

Thanks to our partners and many volunteers, we have managed to obtain the necessary means needed to organise this demanding event and to ensure its security. This money should be enough for most essential expenses, but without further funding, our event would not be worthy of a European capital in this day and age. That is why we have published a call for donations on an online portal.

“I consider online donations as a form of voluntary admission fee, and the more people pay it, the better we can make this event that makes the Slovak LGBTI community more visible,” Rainbow PRIDE spokesperson Natália Tomeková says. “We are delighted that this year, eminent Slovak visual artists have decided to support us and give us their art as rewards for the people who donate online. Ivana Šáteková has made a piece of embroidery that has written on it “Slovenské mamičky pekných synov máte” [Slovak mothers, you have nice sons – lyrics from a Slovak folk song], Juliana Chomová has donated a print called Totem, Michaela Chmelíčková has contributed a print from the Teleport collection, Andrea Kopecká has provided her painting Dočasnosť (čerešne) [Impermanence (cherries)] and Andrej Dúbravský has given his painting Západ slnka za rohom [Sunset behind a corner],” Tomeková adds.

Ivana Šáteková explains the motivation behind her embroidery: “I cannot come to terms with the fact that even in the twenty-first century, people need to fight for their right to be tolerated and accepted. It’s high time to wake up, move on from this medieval mentality, and accept the fact that being different is natural.”

The event will be hosted by Ludwig Bagin and the headliner will be the Slovak band Puding Pani Elvisovej. More information about the programme and its partners will be included in the press release published shortly before the event. Promo video.

In the eastern part of Slovakia, diversity will be celebrated again this year with PRIDE Košice. It will take place on 2 September 2017 with the theme of self-acceptance under the slogan “Som, kto som” [I am who I am].