Liberal and Advanced
CZECH REPUBLIC IS A SMALL PICTURESQUE GEM IN CENTRAL EUROPE. IT HAS PROGRESSED FAR SINCE COMMUNISM ENDED IN 1989. MOST NOTABLE IS THE LEGALIZATION OF SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS AND THE OPEN ATTITUDE CZECH PEOPLE HAVE TOWARD HOMOSEXUALITY. THE GAY/QUEER COMMUNITY IS ALIVE AND WELL WITH NUMEROUS ORGANIZATIONS, VENUES AND EVENTS. ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE CHARMING TOWNS, ANCIENT CASTLES AND IMMACULATE PENSIONS WITH TASTY FOOD
The Czech Republic is gay-friendly. In Prague, the scene is both easy and difficult to find. Easy: Go to the Club Heaven accommodations and book a room. The price (double US$60) is modest for nice digs with a private bath, spacious room with heated floors, TV/DVD, and lots of lights. The cost includes admission and a tour of the other half of Heaven next door. It is a walk-through dark room with videos, a lounge, a bar and a tiny theatre for viewing hard-core flicks. Not exactly Academy Award stuff. However, it serves the purpose.
Our guide through this erotic labyrinth was Jurka. He is one of the managers who also checked us into our room and was very helpful in explaining things. Before going off, Jurka gave us the bi-monthly magazine ‘Gay Kontact’ (no website). This glossy magazine does what its title says. Inside are 60 pages of news, editorials, interviews, feature stories, travel articles, venue reviews, scene and entertainment news, health commentaries, biographic sketches, film reviews, sexy fashion spreads and a wide selection (with a map) of clubs, discos, saunas, restaurants, sex shops—including the one exclusive lesbian bar Jampa Dampa. Gay Prague at our fingertips–easy.
A little political or activist scene in the Czech Republic
What needed to be added was a listing for any advocacy group. Jurka described why. Prague has little political or activist scene, no LGBT centre, and no big gay pride parade. However, there is a modest annual lesbian festival called the ‘NOT ONLY Lesbian Cultural Festival’. This was a surprise since Prague is one of the most pro-gay cities in Europe!
The Czech Republic is more liberal and advanced for gays than its neighbours to the east, like Poland or the Baltic States to the north or the Balkans to the south. There are more than 50 LGBT venues listed in Kontact magazine as well as in the separate ‘Gay Prague’ map available free to visitors.