Yesterday was the first (and hopefully annual) Prague Pride Festival. Thousands of people came out to celebrate, party and be a part of a day of acceptance and tolerance. I was one of them. I marched through the city center rubbing elbows with drag queens, bears and trannies wearing my DIY pink PRIDE tank top. Not since I lived in San Francisco have I had the opportunity to hang with such a great gay community.
The march was fun-filled and very peaceful. The people who came out to watch seemed to enjoy the colorful atmosphere. And how could you not? It was a parade of thousands of people who were SO happy to just be allowed to walk down the street without being called a name or be able to hold their partners hand. My male friends sported rainbow buttons and buttons that said “I heart Boys”. Hell, I was wearing a button that said “I heart My Penis”. Tranny Pride! Everyone got into the spirit of the event.
The march ended in a festival that hosted two stages, DJ’s, dancing and live music. I danced in the hot sun, drank a sangria and took some awesome pictures with the Leather Daddies. There were men, women, families, gays and straights all having a great time in the name of tolerance. The small spattering of rain didn’t stop anyone from celebrating.
Unfortunately, the only time I noticed intolerance was within my own circle of friends. One of my Czech friends came to the festival and their distaste for the event was evident. One can say they support gay rights – HUMAN RIGHTS – but words are cheap. My mom always told me that actions speak louder than words, and I think she might have been right. My friend not only refused to come into the festival, but they refused to wear a rainbow button, backing away from it as if it were fire. My friend also refused to a communal toast to “Yay for Gay Pride”. On a day of tolerance, how could one be so intolerant?
The Czech Republic has come a long way. I have lived here almost five years and I am happy to see that they are finally getting on board. Sure the politicians still have their heads up their very up tight asses, but they will come around. They will have to. And hopefully the new generation of Czechs will be more tolerant. I think they learn words like “deviant” and “immoral” from the parents and grandparents and never question the validity of what they learn. But it is time to start questioning and pushing. It is time to start actually BEING a tolerant society. I do it every day. I don’t particularly like that most Czech men don’t smell very good, most Czech people think of beer as the second coming, or that Czech people generally cheat and think it’s ok. I don’t like that when some straight people get married they think the world has to stop for them, but when a gay person wants to get married it infringes on their personal rights. I don’t like that people with kids think they have more rights than me just because they have kids. Yeah, I don’t like any of it. But you know what? I tolerate it because it’s none of my business.