The first Pride @ Pécs


The first Freedom Of My Identity Festival took place in Pécs between 13 and 18 September 2021 -  the closing event on Saturday was the 1st Pécs Pride.

The event was special for several reasons. Although we celebrated diversity and the history of the LGBTQIA+ community for 26 times in Budapest with the Budapest Pride in July, we showed that we can be unapologetically ourselves. Pride is a legal manifestation and celebration - a celebration of you, of us.

Now, for the first time, we have finally been able to show the power of togetherness and love in the countryside, in rural Hungary. Pécs Pride, which will hopefully become an annual event from now on, is important for the Hungarian society for many reasons.

We need to take a stand against the continuous disenfranchisement, vilification and injustice resulting from the current political situation, whether it is joining the #acsaladazcsalad movement, participating in demonstrations in front of the Parliament or being active at historical events such as this very Pride. 

Around 2-3000 people attended the Pride march at Pécs - not only from the city itself, but from all over the world, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, language, nationality and political views. As a resident of Pécs, one of the greatest joys for me was to see the happy, enthusiastic people or the way an elderly lady with hands probably tired from physical labour applauded us from a window, showing her support and love.

The office staff of Amnesty International Hungary and activists from all over the country also gathered. Besides the AIHU staff, Freedom Club Pécs and Szeged were also present, with family members, friends and pets. 

Carrying the "Love Is A Human Right" banner with my friends, I finally didn't have to feel like I had to cover up a rainbow bracelet to avoid getting into a conflict. At the civic village programme before the march, everyone proudly asked for rainbow tattoos, bracelets, badges, stickers - a sign of success is that we almost ran out of them. As time ran out, too, so many people played with our LGBTQIA+ Twister!

Pictures: László Mihály

Overall, the festival was a bubble, a happy bubble that always hurts to burst. But, if miss CoRona allows, we'll see you next year: same time, same place!

In the meantime, here's a little tip for the road: #loveislove #yourarevalid 

 Ps.: Now Pécs, where to go next to attend a rural Pride?

//Máté Mali//