Queer festival in Bratislava: We do not have to live in a black and white prison, says the organizer

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The stands of LGBTI activists were visited mainly by foreign tourists. A primary school teacher asked for leaflets and information materials for her pupils.

On the third Saturday in August, the premises of the Old Market belonged to the LGBTI community, as the third annual presentation of activities of organizations dealing with the rights of sexual minorities took place.

The event took place simultaneously with the traditional markets. While people on the ground floor could buy cheese, wine, fruits or vegetables, on the first floor, there was a book sale, Radio Kiki and the performance of Bratislava municipal theatre for the youngest visitors.

“My aim is to show how diverse the LGBTI community is. I want to support these people so that they start to be aware of their uniqueness and not to be bound by stereotypes. Additionally, it is my aim to communicate with the majority and make them realize how beneficial diversity can be,” said the organizer Roman Samotný.

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According to him, the festival strives to be a place where people can be freed from gender stereotypes and where they are not obliged to live in a “black and white prison”. The visitors could watch films of the Film Festival of Diversity, talk to transgender people about their lives and get to know the story of the first homosexual activist Imrich Matyáš. An integral part of the festival was a live library, i.e. a place where visitors could talk anonymously and listen to the stories of a transgender professional sportsman or a person who does not feel to be of any gender.

“I think that it influences the atmosphere, as it is always relaxed and friendly,” he said. LGBTI theatre No Mantinels and the Diversity Initiative presented themselves at the event, too. Last year, the Open Society Foundation supported their projects Rainbow Year and Slovak Queer Festival within the EEA Financial Mechanism grant program.
Apart from them, civic associations TransFuzia, LGBT workout, Lotosové kvety, Q-centrum, PRIDE Dúhové Košice had their representatives on the market, too.

“Everything went OK, we did not register any negative comments or verbal attacks. I believe that the public has got used to it and accepts us,” thinks Andrej Kuruc, the founder of the No Mantinels theatre, which has been staging topics such as homosexuality, gender equality, and more recently, immigration.

He is used to such events. During several years of their existence, they performed at music festivals in various regions. They have been organizing a theatre festival Queer Drama, which is a presentation of plays discussing LGBTI issues.

 

The stands of non-governmental organizations were mostly visited by foreign tourists, elderly people and parents with children.

 

“Foreign visitors asked us about the perception of homosexuality in Slovakia, they were interested in leaflets. Even a young teacher came and took information materials to show to her pupils at school,” says Kuruc with a smile.

 

The Radio Kiki festival continued in the afternoon with concerts in the newly opened queer cafe, Tepláreň Cafe, followed by foreign LGBT artists performances in KC Dunaj in the evening.

 

Author: Rudolf Sivý 27.08.2015

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