It was Budapest Pride! This entire week has been the build up to this Gay Pride Parade, which went off without a hitch, so to speak.
There was a lot of security (two check points!) as a result of the apparent “Neo-nazi/ skinhead” movement that exists in Hungary at this time. The hate groups were kept out of the festivities, but were roaming around the gated areas and the final stop of the march with megaphones. Luckily, the police and a bit of the army were called in to keep those who would do harm away from the celebrators.
The party/ parade started on the Pest side and ended at a park on the Buda bank. It was a long walk that took awhile to start as there were over 20,000 in attendance to get in order!
I went with two friends from my hostel. However, they got tired and went back before it ended. I don’t blame them. We were out the night before and were all tired to begin with. And, the parade started late. It was fun to struggle with understanding what the announcers were saying since English was not supplied. I felt very stupid just jumping up and down and clapping when everyone else was. I was the definition of ‘mob mentality’ …
I saw a lot of people from the shamanism workshop as well marching! The community came out strong. Old and young, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender … the list goes on, and everyone was there to show their support for inclusivity in Hungary.
There were 4 (I think there were at least) main floats that played music, handed out water, and had people/ a few gogo dancers cheering atop them to get the crowd moving. It was difficult to get any cheers going even though the promoters did their best. We were a tough crowd I guess.
There were more Hungarians than I have ever seen in Budapest (I have been hanging with hostel people), but also expatriates and tourists like myself in attendance. No matter who you were though, you were welcome. I even met a charming Hungarian man …
The Pride parade here was more tame than the ones I have seen in photos from the USA and other countries. There was also not a lot of free merchandise either. I didn’t get one free condom; I am a little disappointed.
There were no drag queens, and I was one of the few people who were shirtless. A Hungarian friend I met told me that in Budapest, Pride is still more of a political statement than a social event since LGBT acceptance is not as prevalent here unlike in the USA and other western nations. It is all relative.
This was why I came to Hungary. I was not disappointed. It was different, and different is good. I felt very free marching with the crowd since I knew it was a safe space without stigma or prejudice. Many people still don’t understand the necessity behind Pride. Sure, there is day drinking, it is fun to watch and, at times, to participate in, but Pride still exists, needs to exist, to give those who are marginalised a mere 5-6 hours of freedom to walk in the streets, to hold hands, to embrace one another without fear, but with, well, pride.
I felt like a better human being, regardless of my sexuality, going to this celebration of love/ rally for equality.
Now, it is time to party!
The closing party is tonight next to the baths in the central park, which are coincidentally also having a party. However, it is quite expensive, and these types of events occur often during the summer. This shindig, however, only comes one time a year!
It’s back to Prague tomorrow morning! I am crestfallen to leave. I have honestly enjoyed Budapest so much and made many friends here. Sigh. But, I must continue. Stay tuned; the adventure is far from over.