Each city has its own unique Pride. For example the Pride of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia with its population of 250 thousand, mostly resembled a friendly picnic. Going by the sight of people waving to and hugging everyone it seemed obvious that all those present knew each other or at least were friends of friends of each other.
The gathering point was the Metelkova Cultural Centre, which was also the venue of the after-party. It’s ironic how until the end of the Soviet times it served as a military base but now it’s a true orgasm for the eye (especially for those who like contemporary, punk-alter, sometimes scary street-art). The accord of the crumbling brick walls and colourful graffiti, the rusty iron doors and inexplicable metal sculptures and that one instrument dangling from the roof that played a drum solo on its own from time to time was perfect. The cherry on top of all this were the dozens of rainbow flags.
The official name of the event was Protest March Through The City, though I must remark that almost all the locals referred to it as Pride (just like everyone in Budapest called the parade Pride even back when it was officially named March For Gay Dignity). Despite this the mood didn’t feel like a protest at all even with the recent result of early elections in mind, that saw the rise of and anti-immigration-and-gay-marriage party (that’s on good terms with the Hungarian government) to power.
While the police was present, fences and counter-protesters were not (or at least not at visible places). Instead of them the happy, partying march was met with tourist enthusiastically snapping photos, nice, waving or sometimes surprised locals. The intimate atmosphere wasn’t only the result of the (compared to other big city Prides) relatively small amount of people, but also these people allowing you to pet their little dogs carried in bicycle baskets, gladly turning back so everyone could take a photo of their signs, people who weren’t afraid to compliment strangers’ tattoos and to chat up anyone.
A crowd of one, maybe two thousand people doesn’t feel like much for a capital city, but the participants were all the more enthusiastic. I eagerly await the moment when Budapest hangs a gigantic rainbow flag off of the Citadel, because this Pride had even that!
Click through the gallery for more photos!
Translated by Zsófia Ziaja