Lesbian Festival Fans Harmony
Civic Association Altera Fights Discrimination with a
Slovak Spectator, September 13, 2004
By Zuzana Habšudová, Spectator staff
THE ASSOCIATION of lesbian and
bisexual women, Altera, launches Slovakia’s first ever lesbian festival this
week. The El Be Fest (Lesbian Culture Days) will run in Bratislava from
September 17 to 19 at the A4—Zero Space at SNP 12.
“Our aim is to draw attention to the lesbian minority
in Slovakia and its culture, as well as to provide alternative space to this
community for entertainment and reflection,” said Paula Jójárt from Altera.
Over the three days the festival will hold a plethora of
events, including an art exhibition, a theatre performance, book presentation,
lectures and film screenings. There will also be a dance party, poster
displays and discussions to promote anti-discrimination. Along with Slovak
artists and lecturers, it also welcomes guests from abroad. The Hungarian film
director, Katrin Kremmler, will screen her movie Pink Ferret, Jana Štepánová
from the Czech Republic will chair a discussion panel, along with Jójárt, on
the problems facing the lesbian community, and Miguel Méndez will entertain
with his Latino Flash group.
The festival is part of a six-month project organised by
Altera, in an attempt to bring awareness to the majority of the population in
their approach towards sexual minorities. A prime feature of the project and
opening festival is the staging of a competition to find the best posters to
illustrate the theme of sexual discrimination. Following the result of the
winners, the posters will then form the banner for Altera’s campaign in
A supporting activity is the preparation of a booklet
called Discrimination: How to Face It?, designed to offer advice and help to
people who are the subject to a variety of discriminatory acts.
According to the organisers, the festival is open not
only to lesbian and bisexual women but also gays, bisexual men, and
transgender people, as well as anybody else interested in the topic.
Under communism it was virtually impossible to openly
form lesbian or homosexual associations and administer their rights, explained
campaigner Jójárt, because they were seen as opponents of the regime and
Yet despite being over a decade since the fall of
communism, Jójárt believes the situation is still far from improved,
although there are several formal and informal organisations attempting to
combat prejudice. And whilst homosexuality is no longer considered a criminal
act, its advocates are hounded by church representatives whose attitudes are
shared by conservative Christian politicians.
“Among the many activities of civic associations is to
fight the political questions the Christian Democrats like to bring up,”
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