Fresh from the land of Kafka, Pilsner, Absinthe, and Bel Ami comes some pretty spectacular news: the first-ever Prague Pride (PraguePride.com) has been scheduled for August 18-21, 2011 pending police and city hall approvals. Sure it’s near a year away, but that’s the only weekend left in Europe’s summer without a conflicting Pride, so mark your calendars now. Because if my recent visit to the Czech Republic for the 11th Annual Mezipatra Queer Film Festival (Mezipatra.cz) was any indication, gay life is thriving. Prague, long a beacon for backpackers and culture vultures thanks to its über-romantic Old Town is also a haven for LGBT folk of the Central and Eastern European region thanks to a basically agnostic society and a sense of nationalism that makes it easier to be gay than non-Czech.
According to a co-organizer it’ll be less a political event as the previous Czech Prides in Brno and more a cultural celebration, including:
- Cinema program in cooperation with Mezipatra
- Sports event
- International theatre performances and music concerts
- Youth Conference and events/workshops for seniors, kids and general public
- Pride marketplace with local organizations
- Corporate HR diversity workshops
- Parties, naturally!
Check PridePrague.com or join the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/PraguePride) for details as they're finalized.
Looking to book now? Reserve at the Icon Hotel, a resolutely gay-welcoming property near Wenceslas Square and right on several key tram lines. At 31 rooms, it’s a small but well-designed affair with crisp black and gold, deep purple-highlighted interiors featuring fixtures and furniture from Czech designers. Technological perks include iPod docks and a biometric (i.e. fingerprint) locked safe. The Hastens beds from Sweden are pure heaven after long nights – and given their royal appointment, fit for a Queen – and breakfast is served till 11pm whenever you wake. Although the atmosphere lends towards trendy jet-set, the service spurns aloof for intimate and efficient with incredibly knowledgeable staff keen with tips on the best the city has to offer.
For the inside scoop on the city, contact Petr at Prague4Gay (Prague4Gay.com). A local university professor in queer studies and anthropology, he provides custom tours whatever your interest, along with deep knowledge of the city both LGBT and not, all with keen professionalism.