What happens in Vienna stays in Vienna…
This is the first thought that came to my mind after EuroPride finished. For those who don’t know, EuroPride is an international event dedicated to the LGBT pride, hosted by a different European city each year.
This year the parade took place in Vienna and I call myself lucky enough to be part of it. The host city is usually the one with a significant integrated LGBT community like Berlin, London, Madrid or other prejudice-free cities. I am sure that in Albania this would never happen. The preparations of the event start a month before and everyday there are different activities in the city dedicated to the fundamental rights of those who are part of this community. I have a lot of gay friends and I am really open-minded when it comes to love.
Everyone has to choose whatever they want to do with their lives; why is it so difficult with our race to accept
that? Vienna was covered in LGBT colors for a month. In every subway, tram, state or private institution, university and even bars the flags were hanging in the entrance showing solidarity. Also, even the white lines of main streets were painted in colors.
The main activity was held in town square in front of Rathaus municipality. However, the pinnacle of the event is the parade where people from all around Europe walk in the ring road of Vienna. Trust me when I say I have never seen such a festive and open-minded atmosphere among people. My friends and I went out to see what was happening. The parade started at 12 o’clock and ended around 7 o’clock in the afternoon. It began with the speech of Austrian president who became the first politician to open the parade, even though it has over 20 years since the first event in European countries.
During the parade many trucks with people who were celebrating, passed through the crowd. In front of the group, a person held a signboard to display the country or the organization they were representing. I could only see colors and more colors. A few of them walked in the parade giving public performances. Each one of us was free to join
it or to see it from a distance. I don’t think any of us would refuse to be part of this massive festivity where everyone was dancing. In the end, we got informed that there were 500,000 participants. So, Vienna surpassed the previous records of participants in EuroPride.
We saw naked women, with their colored body dancing, before the truck or festive bus passed. We saw even naked transgender who have modified their breasts and other sexual parts of the body. A lot of men were walking on high heels, 15 cm. I asked one of them for an explanation and I got a free lecture: ‘Look honey, you have to keep you body straight and your head up. You are a female and you don’t have to feel ashamed of anything. Try to keep your legs closed and to follow a straight line. It is good to move your shoulders to be more attractive but it depends. If I
had a chance, I would stay on high heels all day.’‘Look how far we have got that a guy is teaching me how to walk like a woman,’ – I told my friends. To cheer up the festive atmosphere, the people in the trucks shot with water guns which in some cases were filled with alcohol. I really loved that everyone was dancing and being part of the celebration. When I saw two men or two women kissing, I was not impressed anymore. The way I can’t convince them about my sexual orientation, the same way we can’t understand their sexual orientation.
The municipality of Vienna and the organizers deserve a huge gratitude for the organization. I don’t know how perfect these people can be! Everyone who walked the parade was guided by the guards when their time came to show up. Alongside the trucks or buses were people holding a rope to keep safe if someone got hit by the bus. That day the temperature was 35 degree and in order to fresh up, there were long pressure water hoses. If anyone was dehydrated, they could go there directly. I went a few times and I enjoyed it so much! I remember when I was little and I played at my grandma’s neighborhood. Every time we got dirty we played with the hose.
Not to mention when the party was over… they were so civilized that even the garbage left in the streets was separated in glass, cans or plastics to make it easy for the street cleaners to recycle. I stayed on purpose to see the street cleaning. A machine gathered the garbage, the other one threw the foam and in the end the water. Exactly like we do it in our houses, we clean the dust then we do vacuuming and in the end we mop the floor. The city is everyone’s home so it should be kept clean. In one hour it seemed as if nothing had happened in those streets.
During the parade there were lots of children. The little ones had earphones to avoid the scary noises. However, some of them had flags on their hands. Among the crowd you could see disabled people accompanied by their friends. Even though it is impossible for them to walk, they were part of the festivity as everyone else.
That day, the tram in the ring road of Vienna was not working. Even Google Maps, for the first time, placed signs of LGBT flag on the map to clarify where the parade was happening. In other subway stations, at destinations that led to the parade it said ‘Pride with pride’. This meant that the whole city was showing solidarity.
It is nice when we are all in one rhythm. If Albanians minded their own business, maybe we would have more time to care about valuable things. As for LGBT community, I am impressed that they are so proud of themselves, even though different from others and being judged around the world. As for us who think we are ‘normal people’, think again and take notes from their self-esteem. Being gay, lesbian, transgender is not the biggest problem we should be concerned. At least, why do we care what others do in bed?