In Slovenia, LGBTI (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Trans, and Intersex) people are relatively safe. There are laws forbidding discrimination against LGBTI, and lesbian and gay couples now have the right to make a civil union. Ljubljana, in particular, is a safe place, and every year is organized a Pride Parade.
This Saturday, on 26th September, was the Ljubljana Pride 2020. The annual event celebrates LGBTI people and defends their rights. Each year is organized a Pride Village, a Parade, and an After Party. This year, the event was a bit more complicated than usual because of the pandemic COVID-19.
The Ljubljana Pride is the highlight and last event of Pride Month in Ljubljana and Slovenia. The village was set up in the city center, near the city hall and in Metelkova. The Parade left from Metelkova mesto and crossed the city center with three times during the march left for speeches.
What Is Pride Month 2020?
The Ljubljana Pride Association organized pride Month 2020. They are a youth, voluntary, independent, and non-profit civil society organization. They are the Pride’s main organizer in Ljubljana, and they fight for a non-discriminatory society for LGBTI people.
According to the organizers of Pride Month in Ljubljana, the goal of Pride Month is to safeguard the human rights and interests of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ+) population.
Other associations participating in Pride Month include Transakcija, Legebitra, ŠKUC – Kulturni center Q, DIH, Iniciativa Kavč, and Out of Slovenia, among others.
The program of Pride Month was full to offer experiences for the LGBTI youth and community, to prepare the pride parade, but also to raise awareness on LGBTI issues in Slovenia.
The Events Of Pride Month
- 1st September: Virtual Exhibition: 20 Years of Pride in Ljubljana. You can still check out the exhibition on Pride’s website.
- 6th September: Intergenerational Picnic in Tivoli. The picnic was organized for everyone from 13:00 to 20:00. You could come to chat, eat and drink, and play board games.
- 8th September: Workshop: Making badges. This event was made to create trans-activist badges for the pride parade and discover the work of the association Transakcija, understand how badges are made, and even do your own.
- 10th September: Workshop: #seksnakavcu: Promiscuity. #seksnakavču is an LGBTI+ talk group about sex, sexuality, and relationships. This event was made to give people the chance to discuss the subject of promiscuity.
- 11th September: Video: Building coalitions
- 12th September: Koroška Pride. This was the first-ever Pride organized in Koroška.
- 14th September: Online discussion and exhibition viewing: Visualising the Lives of LGBTIQ Roma. The exhibition was created to defend Roma rights and LGBTI rights as an intersectional fight because LGBTI Roma lives are often invisible in LGBTI talks and in general.
- 15th September: Workshop: Activist Tea Party. This tea party was organized for people to share their activism experiences in link with the theme of solidarity around a drink and snack. It is a way for activists to meet each other and strengthen their inter-community solidarity.
- 16th September: Symposium: Advancement of LGBTI Rights in the political sphere. This event was divided into three different talks about LGBTI rights: LGBT Equality in the Slovenian Political Sphere, Future Challenges in Achieving Equality for LGBTI People, LGBTI Equality – Challenges Abroad, and International Stage.
- 17th September: Workshop: Making Pride banners. This was another event to prepare the Parade of the 26th. The aim was to search for new slogans and paint new and fresh banners for Pride.
- 17th September: Online event: Ex-Yugoslavian prides. This was an Instagram live meet up and chat with four LGBTI activists from the Balkans.
- 19th September: Queer café: Season opening. This was the first queer café of the year. They are events organized in Klub Tiffany in Metelkova to give LGBTI artists a public space to share their work.
- 21st September: Opening of photo exhibition: Stories of Love and Pride. This exhibition gathered photographs of LGBTI people’s stories.
- 22nd September: Pride Quiz with DIH and TransAkcija. The quiz was about Pride and LGBTI culture. There were also LGBTI board games like a memory game with pride flags or a game called “cards against heteronormativity.”
- 23rd September: Visegrad’s Authoritarians: Back to the Future? This event reunited three LGBTI activists from Poland and Hungary, where LGBTI rights are not respected: Marianna Szczygielska, Viktória Radványi, and Rémy Bonny.
- 24th September: Performance: QHologram 2070: Museum of Diversity. This event was a performance about a museum in 2070, showing the discrimination against minorities in 2020. Each room explained the discrimination of different minorities, including LGBTI people, “back in 2020”.
The Pride Village
On Pride Day, 26th September was organized a Pride Village. The aim is to give LGBTI associations a space to talk with the community and people interested in LGBTI rights. It was open from 10:00 to 15:00 on Stritarjeva ulica.
There were about ten to fifteen stands selling goodies, presenting their projects, and giving badges away. For example, you could buy a pride flag such as a rainbow flag, a trans flag, a non-binary flag, and many others.
However, we could not find any lesbian flag because, apparently, the supplier did not make lesbian flags, which is a shame considering it is the first letter of LGBTI. It is very often the only missing flag and one of the less represented letters and part of the community, although it is a major one because lesbophobia is still present in the LGBTI community and society.
There was also a lottery in the Pride Village where you could buy a ticket for 5,00€ and maybe win a prize like a book, artwork, or goodies.
There was also an exciting concept called Living Library, organized by the association Legebitra. There, you could “borrow” a book for 30 to 45 minutes from a catalog. This meant you could talk with someone from the LGBTI community about their story.
Each participant had written something to describe themselves as a book that you could read, except that you get the chance to chat with them instead of reading. The participants represent vulnerable social groups who face prejudices and stereotypes, discrimination, stigmatization, and social marginalization.
The Pride Parade
After the pride Village was organized the Pride Parade, leaving from Metelkova at 17:00. The route prepared was the following: Metelkova mesto – Masarykova mesto – Slovenska cesta – Erjavceva cesta – Trg Republike – Subiceva cesta – Park Zvezda – Wolfova ulica – Presernov trg – Miklosiceva cesta – Masarykova mesto – Metelkova mesto.
The Parade stopped three times for speeches, the first time was before leaving, the second time was at Trg Republike, and the third time was at Presernov trg. Among the speakers, there was Barbara Rajgelj, Nika Kovac, Sandra Basic-Hrvatin, Lana Gobec, Suzana Tratnik, Nina Hudej, and Ada Cernosa. In Maribor as well, there were speeches from Luka Kristic, Neza Oder, and Simona Mursec.
The march was fun with music, whistles, and umbrellas of the colors of the “Progress flag,” which is a redesign of the classic rainbow flag adding black and brown for people of color, as well as the trans flag’s colors (blue, pink, and white) for more trans visibility. There were umbrellas of the following colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, brown, blue, pink, and white.
People were also holding different pride flags. The most seen one was the rainbow flag, but there were also many bi flags (pink, purple, and blue), non-binary flags (yellow, white, purple, and black), intersex flag (yellow with a purple circle), and trans flags’ blue, pink, white, blue, pink, white).
We also saw the pansexual flag, the gay bear flag, the ace and aro flags, and the genderqueer flag on some banners. However, there still was almost no lesbian flag. We only spotted one.
After the Pride Parade was organized an after-party in the bar Pritlicje from 20:00 to 22:00. It was called “letos v živo in v etru” because Radio Student organized it. Among the musicians, we could find Esther, Katch, and Orlando, as well as Warrego Valles.
The after-party was an excellent way to close Pride Month 2020 in Ljubljana, with a drink, music, and many friendly people to chat with.
What were the COVID-19 restrictions during the Pride?
Since the end of 2019, the pandemic COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has affected the lives of people. Many events have been canceled, and still now, in September of 2020, we need to be careful not to spread the virus.
Although Slovenia is a relatively safe country right now to travel during the pandemic, there are several restrictions and measures to take into account. These measures had a significant impact on the way Pride Month was organized.
From our perspective, the measures were relatively simple and effectively put in place. You had to keep a mask at all times when participating in the Pride Village or the Pride Parade. You also had to follow a path and direction for the Pride Village (it is the same for the flea market every Sunday)
The Parade was divided into about ten groups (one for each color of the flag) to avoid large groups of people, and it was necessary to register in advance to be in one of those groups. Moreover, you had to disinfect your hands before entering the Pride Village and the Parade and after exchanging money or objects at the stands.
Also, people from the organization went into the crowd to disinfect people’s hands during the speeches of the Parade. Finally, you had to try to keep a distance of 1,50 meters with other people.
See You at the Next Pride!
Pride Month 2020 and the Ljubljana Pride Parade were a success, and it is always a great initiative from associations and the city to organize such projects. On 26th September, Ljubljana was full of rainbows, from the march with the umbrellas to the pride flag hanging at the top of the Castle’s tower.
If you are a tourist in Ljubljana next year during Pride Month (which is usually June when there is no pandemic) or a member of the LGBTI community, you should come by Slovenia during this time of the year.
The associations are putting a lot of effort into organizing a Pride Month full of events, and there are not the only LGBTI events of the year. You can also come during the in December 2020 for the 36th LGBT film festival. We will see you there!