This year’s Pride parade celebrated the 10th anniversary since the founding of the Pride Parade Association. On this occasion, Pride Connects event was dedicated to consecration, remembrance, toasting, and celebration. On March 12, we gathered together on Dunajska cesta in Ljubljana with nostalgia towards the past, shared stories and experiences, honoured our predecessors, and then renewed motivation and energy into the future, prepared for new victories. The memories of the past pride parades were shared in a discussion with the three founding members of the association, namely Mitja Blažić, Linn Julian Koletnik and the first president of the association, Petra Salaj. We listened to many entertaining and less funny stories, and these activists also provided us with wise advice for the future. With archival photos displaying, we cheered on with champagne and finally hung out and ate cake.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE PRIDE PARADE ASSOCIATION
After the first parade of pride in 2001, the first parades were initially organized by all the LGBT organizations, but some then began to retreat for various reasons. From the very beginning, the organization of the parade and associated events has caused a lot of excitement and friction. What will be the political message? What’s the slogan? Some people wanted a kind of festival, others argued that it should be even more political and radical. Before 2009, the parade was almost entirely organized by the DIH and Legebitra. This led to the reflection that the parade is actually an event of the entire community, irrespective of ideological thinking and that it is, therefore, necessary to establish a neutral platform that would include representatives of all existing non-governmental organizations among the founding members and the board. So, in 2008 the statute for a new, neutral association was prepared. Since the association had not yet had its own location, the activists gathered in different outlets, especially at the Open Cafe and cafe bar Lan. In 2009, the Parade Pride Association was officially established, whose first president was was Petra Salaj. The founding meeting of the three founding members is reminiscent of the pleasant feeling that the community was writing a new, fresh start, and the relief that the editing of the paperwork for the founding of the association had been completed and could finally begin to deal with organising the parade. The first pride parade festival then lasted for a whole week, and nobody knew exactly what to expect. The association sought to offer as diverse a program as possible – from literary evenings to “Queer trip” and gala dinner, and the parade was the highlight at the end of the week.
TIPS FOR YOUNG ACTIVISTS
Linn: “Do not organize gala dinners! … otherwise, if you think what you want to do, radically – then try to go a little further, because radicality can easily crawl.”
Peter: “Do not print 600 T-shirts! And do not neglect your personal life, even if you feel burned out. Sometimes it’s also right to retire and take the time for yourself to find out who you are and then you will go even further. “
Mitja: “I never felt good in activism, I always had the feeling that I had too little experience and knowledge. My advice is: you are good enough! Always courageously and assertively enforce your views and ideas and confront them with other ideas without the feeling of inferiority. But I also find it important to know the history of our community, which is very rich and from which we can draw from a lot because our predecessors had many good ideas. It’s also good that we know it because we never learn at school anymore. “