by Mike Andrew -
SGN Staff Writer
Thirteen foreign embassies in the Czech Republic, including the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, and Spain, endorsed the Prague Pride Parade planned for August 13 and a weeklong festival following it.
It will be the first Pride celebration in Prague's history.
The British embassy, which initiated the joint action, issued a statement on August 5.
'We express our solidarity with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender communities in the Czech Republic, supporting their right to use this occasion to march together peacefully and lawfully, in order to raise awareness of the specific issues that affect them,' the embassies say in their joint statement.
'Our governments seek to combat such discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by promoting the human rights of all people,' the embassies said in their statement, also signed by the ambassadors of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The British Embassy told CTK news service that their statement was not intended to counter statements of Czech President Vaclav Klaus and Petr Hajek, the deputy head of Klaus's office, who criticized Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda for sponsoring Prague Pride.
Klaus said the carnival is a manifestation of 'homosexual-ism,' which he said he fears as much as any other modern '-ism.'
Hajek called the Pride celebration a 'pressure action' and a political demonstration supporting a world with 'deformed values.' He also called Czech Gays 'deviant fellow citizens.'
'It is a serious demonstration of a certain vision of the values in the world. It is a world in which traditional family plays no role,' he added.
'In this world, the monster of multiculturalism devours deep national traditions and cultural roots,' Hajek wrote.
'It is a world in which sexual or any other deviation is elevated to a virtue, abnormality to a norm, the destruction of society to holy progress.'
'A white man, heterosexual and Christian' would be an endangered species in the world LGBT rights activists advocate, Hajek warned.
The opposition Social Democratic Party said Hajek's statements were 'unacceptable' and called on President Klaus to reject them.
'Homosexuals are living among us and there is no point in pretending that it is not so. Moreover, I am deeply opposed to the division of people according to their skin color, religious conviction, and sexual orientation,' Prague Mayor Svoboda said in a statement.
Prague Pride organizer Czeslaw Walek told CTK that Hajek's views were so marginal that they were not worth reacting to.
'The Prague Pride festival means joy, knowledge, respect, pride, and tolerance,' Walek said.