Thursday 25 June – 20:00
A lovely lazy day in bed waiting for the statement of support for Czech PRIDE – Brno Queer Parade to arrive from the British Embassy. It occurred to me to would be worth dropping an email to the embassies of the other PRIDE supporting countries just in case they could rustle something up for us at the last minute. When we have PRIDE Prague it will be a lot easier and it will be such fun parading over the Charles Bridge and having an Afterparty on one of the gorgeous bits of beach by the Vltava river.
Back to Brno 2010: Late in the afternoon the British Embassy statement of support arrives in both Czech and English, appearing on the home page of the embassy so I make sure it is posted all over the place on Facebook just in case it can help anyone feel more confident to come. Then we head out for the park and meet up with a gang making signs for the parade testing my Czech language to the full: “My wife is a lesbian and I tolerate it!” and a gorgeous rendition of the Brno Eagle a la Queer. The Czech LGBT seem rather pleased with the MBE so we make a sign “Lesba Britského Impéria” – Lesbian of the British Empire. It’s so embarrassing but people are so pleased so the only way to deal with it is to camp it up outrageously.
Then I remember the so called “religious” people from the last Brno Queer Parade in 2008 who “did their thing” at the shrine/statue of the Virgin Mary in the centre of the Freedom Square. As a Quaker and therefore a religious person it makes me cross that the argument is polarised between “religious” on the one hand and the LGBT and therefore “irreligious” on the other so suitably inspired I ask for a translation of two of Jesus’ more quotable quotes: “Judge not lest you be judged.” and “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” I paint them merrily onto cardboard carton with suitable guidance for the Czech diacritics (accents and hats). I can see this is a bit counter-intuitive for the LGBT who are having that usual cringe about “religious” things so I explain that even if you forget all arguments about human rights and base your arguments solely on the Bible, homophobia cannot possibly be justified. I talk about the difficulties of LGBT who have a Christian faith and those whose parents do and suggest that this is why it is necessary to engage in these arguments even if we do not share this religious faith.
We have a lovely time in the park, in the open, drinking beer and painting signs and admiring each others signs with slight apprehensions about the threat posed by the neo-fascists. Practical as ever Jolana makes a huge new sign “Gay Nazi Boys: Join us! We know you want” and teacher as ever I squeeze in “to” at the end. Curiously, this is a phrase that just doesn’t work in Czech and someone jokes maybe they won’t even be able to understand the English. I’m kind of hoping they won’t get near enough to be able to read it! The signs finished we all clear up and head home, and I go with a lovely lesbian couple who have offered to put me up for a couple of nights.
Saturday 26 June
Rainbow flag burning, nasty extremist incidents but a successful parade despite the constraints and adversities.
(I’m being upbeat but really it was awful – and it leaves the Czechs needing guidance from the Bulgarians which is just ridiulous!)
Pictures and press coverage (in Czech):