Ljubljana Pride wraps up rainbow-coloured festival

Ljubljana – This year’s Pride Parade festival culminated in Ljubljana Pride on Saturday in what was a parade celebrating difference and equality. Members of the LGBTIQ+ community called for peace in Ukraine, and several senior officials participated in Pride and addressed them at the end of the parade.

LGBTIQ+ organisations put up Pride Village in Congress Square prior to Pride. Visitors were able to learn about what they do, get creative in the arts and crafts corner or get their face painted for the parade.

Held under the slogan Time for the Rainbow Voice, Ljubljana Pride or the Pride march was dedicated to calls for visibility, equality and respect for everyone, as well as to calls for an end to the war in Ukraine.

The Rainbow Voice helped the community to turn out in record numbers and have a say in the outcome of the April election, said Katja Štefanec from the Pride Parade Association in her speech. “We demand that your pre-election promises and goodwill are put into practice!” she told the new government.

In Congress Square, where the march ended, the participants were also addressed by Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković and Simon Maljevac, Labour Ministry state secretary who is expected to become the minister in charge of labour, family, social affairs and equal opportunities after the planned government reshuffle in the coming months.

When this happens, he will become Slovenia’s first openly gay minister.

Maljevac argued that the rainbow did not mean much if it did not become an active part of politics as a symbol of diversity and respect for human rights for all. “It is time to make our beautiful words that no one should be overlooked reality,” he said.

The event was also addressed by Beograd Pride representative Filip Vulović and Lambda Warsaw representative Krzysztof Kliszczynski, and attended by, among others, Labour Minister Luka Mesec, Justice Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan, Culture Minister Asta Vrečko and MEP Milan Brglez, the organisers said.

Several ministries also flew the rainbow flag to mark the Pride day.

The Interior Ministry wrote that “discrimination, ridicule or intimidation have no place in a modern and inclusive society”. They added that the Constitution clearly states that Slovenia is a country of all its citizens.

“Diversity does not impoverish society, but enriches it and makes it more meaningful,” the ministry said, announcing that the police would ensure the safety of all participants today.

There were no reports of any incidents during Pride, however in the run-up to it a number of LGBTIQ+ posters in the capital had been vandalised.

The Pride Parade festival, which started on 3 June, focused on the integration of local LGBTIQ+ communities and the needs of rural LGBTIQ+ people as well as the impact of local and national elections on their rights. Other focus areas included solidarity towards LGBTIQ+ refugees from Ukraine, housing issues of LGBTIQ+ people and freedom of expression.

The highlights were also Koroška Pride in the northern town of Slovenj Gradec and a spoken word performance by British poet Joelle Taylor, the latest winner of the prestigious T.S. Eliot Prize.