Traveling Government Exhibit Celebrates Czech Gay History

San Diego, Calif. – A government-curated exhibition documenting and celebrating Czech gay history has opened in Prague and later will travel around the nation, including to small towns, Radio Prague reported Jan. 9.

The exhibition's curator is the government's minister for human rights and minorities, Dzamila Stehlíková, and its coordinator is veteran Czech gay activist Jirí Hromada.

"Twenty years ago homosexual citizens were the first group who began to speak about human rights," Stehlíková said. "Now, after 20 years of gay and lesbian development, we have a registered-partnership law, and the homosexual minority is part of democratic society, with its own structure and with a very interesting cultural and social life."

The exhibition, now at the capital's House of National Minorities, includes gay magazines, old photos, and videos of the disturbing debate in the Chamber of Deputies over the registered-partnership law.

Openly gay singer Pavel Vítek told Radio Prague: "What I have been most taken by is … the history, which you now forget, of the period at the end of the 1980s and the start of the '90s. And I have also really been struck by the discreditable language used by our politicians, both men and women, when registered partnerships were being discussed. It's
certainly worth hearing Justice Minister Parkanová and others again!"

Stehlíková is excited about taking the exhibit on the road.

"In some small towns many people with homosexual orientation have complications with coming out and this exhibition will help them to understand their own identity and to begin to live their own lives," she told Radio Prague.

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