Roman Samotny

I had a personal crisis in the beginning. I was working for a commercial broadcaster. I had it all — career, good salary, big apartment — but I lacked a sense of purpose. I found an advertisement in the news about a Slovak queer film festival hiring a PR manager. That was the turning point which actually led me to LGBT activism. After three years I left the broadcaster and now I focus solely on the organisation of queer parties which is both my living and my hobby.

Queer Slovakia is a platform primarily focused on queer parties. Currently, there‘s Tepláreň, Homomat, Tutti Frutti and Shame. Each get-together has its own specific venue, atmosphere, music style and dramaturgy. My day-to-day work is about preparing for events: creative stuff like visuals, promotion and production. A significant part of my work involves smaller events at my Tepláreň Café. There you can enjoy a queer literature club, queer travel evenings, cabaret and so on.

The key problem is the fear felt by LGBT people living in the closet. There are still too many people living two-sided lives. Personally, I think that the queer scene in Bratislava could be wider. Since many of us goes to parties in Vienna, which is only 60 km from here, or move to Prague, where there is no language barrier, there is the notion that queer places aren’t that needed. Very low visibility and political impetus of the LGBT community also affects issues such as the possibility of gay marriage: the overwhelming majority of politicians aren’t even willing to start this conversation.

I feel a shift in society, some kind of queer emancipation, but it’s very slow. That’s what I want to focus on. To help LGBT people by showing them diversity, freedom, teaching them about self-esteem and self-empowerment and mutual respect. It’s an ongoing process. Now, it’s essential for me to strengthen the diversity of the local scene, encourage creativity in order to establish some kind of competition here. Also, break the macho-chauvinistic setup. To make people aware of the qualities like tenderness, craziness, openness, fellowship. Make them feel free while having fun in a friendly and nice environment and let them take this feeling home or to work. I see an increase in queer scenes in Europe and it makes me curious about where things will go next. These scenes offer a basis for a new value system where there is no polarisatiom, no black or white vision — people are gender free, spirituality holds firmly together with the body. That’s how it should be.