Voices of ILGA-Europe: On the frontlines for equal marriage in the Czech Republic
From the high-powered offices of government, to the vanguard of the Czech Republic’s LGBTI movement, Czeslaw Walek tells his story of activism in action.
Our second Voices of ILGA-Europe contributor is Czeslaw Walek, the Chair of Prague Pride, who we met during our most recent conference in Prague. Czeslaw talked to us about the frustrations that powered his journey from the high offices of government to becoming one of the Czech Republic’s most prominent activists, and how ILGA-Europe has helped along the way.
“When we started, we didn’t know what to expect,” says Czeslaw Walek, remembering the very first Pride in the Czech capital of Prague, back in 2011. The march was a huge success, and since then has grown from strength to strength. So too has the Czech Republic’s LGBTI movement, to the point that the country could well become the first post-communist country with full marriage equality.
“At this moment we are a bit stuck in the parliament with the discussion,” Czeslaw says, referring to the delay tactics used by the opposition in parliamentary debates. “But the actual marriage equality campaign is a big success, because it’s not only lobbying and advocacy in the Parliament, but it’s a nationwide conversation about who LGBT people really are and what position in society they should have.”
To find out more about the human rights situation of LGBTI people in the Czech Republic, visit the country’s annual review page here.
Watch Czeslaw’s video to learn more about the fight for marriage equality in the Czech Republic, and how his feelings at the very first Prague Pride showed him that LGBTI Czechs could achieve great things.