Ollove is focused mostly on cultural and educational events. We have series of talks called Queer Beer on various topics related to LGBT+ rights, gender, feminism and pop culture (in past we’ve discussed sexism in marketing and media, the persecution of gay people in our country during the 70s and 80s, gay comics, asexuality). We also host exhibitions of local artists. Each November we organize “Ozvěny Mezipater”, or “Echo of Mezipatra”, a shorter, regional version of the Prague/Brno Mezipatra Queer Movie Festival. Our aim is to show the diversity of non-heterosexual subcultures and educate around gender and sexuality. We also cooperate with other organisations: we are part of PROUD, we cooperate with Jsme fér on equal marriage, we take part in Prague Pride each August and more.
The biggest current challenge is equal marriage, I guess. In the Czech Republic, same-sex couples have the option of civil partnership, but this is not equal to marriage: the biggest difference is that in a civil partnership you can’t adopt a child. Single people can adopt, married couples can, but not same-sex couples in civil partnerships. They knew that this was discrimination when they passed the parliamentary vote back in 2006, but it was the only way the law could proceed.
Another big challenge for me remain xenophobia and homophobia in general, because Czech people still hold stereotypes about gay, lesbian and trans people, and about feminism. We may seem liberal to people who visit, for example, Prague — and in Prague conditions are good for openly gay people — but other Czech people don’t care about others unless they’re personally involved. Some of our top leaders sometimes make homophobic statements. And as recent elections have shown, populists and extremists have strong voices in our country and people are easily manipulated. One representative newly voted in last autumn said that Jewish, Roma and gay people should be shot at birth.
What is a source of inspiration and energy for me are people visiting our events who thank us for doing this, for the possibility we provide them. Our aim is an open-minded, diverse society that respects all its members as individuals. We’ll have won when saying, “I’m gay” gets the same reaction as “I’m left-handed”. But that’s a long journey still ahead. Very long.