Budapest Pride March 2017 - Is you free?

Today, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people can’t live freely: many of us live our lives closeted, often in fear. Our possibilities are limited and we are not free to make decisions about important questions regarding our life. We can’t decide whom we can honestly open up to, whom we can let know about our life and our feelings without risking being stigmatized, marginalized or abused; we can’t decide with whom and how we want to live together and what we call family without being discriminated against legally and politically. Previous years we couldn’t decide wether we can protest without being cordoned off from society that we are part of. Every moment of our lives we had to choose between security and freedom, but we never experienced any of those really. Hiding, secrets, compromises and giving up deprives us from freedom, and doesn’t guarantee our security the same way as a hermetically separated protest.

The time has come to say it as it is: similar rights are not equal rights, in any way. Given choice is not free choice, forced decisions are not free decisions, a limited life is not a free life. The time has come to start creating our own freedom together.

In 2016, not only were we part of one of the biggest, yet most peaceful and undisturbed march, but tens of thousands of us chose to raise our voice. Throughout the years we’ve experienced that police forces are fully capable of protecting our right to assembly and to maintain law and order whilst meeting all legal provisions. We are happy to be able to announce that the police is positively open to cooperate with us in order to march symbolizing freedom, which not only lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are entitled to, but all people in this country and beyond. For the first time ever we got an official promise from the police that they will investigate the possibility on how we could cooperate in order to march without being hermetically cordoned off. All open and free events have risks, but previous marches have shown that both parties, the police and the organizers have sufficient capacity and experience to detect conflicts and give prompt solutions. With the positive attitude of the police, the record number of march stewards and legal observers with cameras everything is set so that in 2017 freedom and safety are not mutually exclusive. Now it all boils down to us: let’s show everyone that safety isn’t about hiding, remaining silent and barricading ourselves, but about caring openly for each other, accepting diversity, speaking up and the possibility to free decision.

Let’s meet on July 8th at Kossuth tér, where we promised each other not to let ourselves be locked up, silenced, intimidated, and that we’ll be standing up for ourselves, our rights and each other, that we won’t settle for anything less than equal freedom that everyone is entitled to.

Budapest Pride Felvonulás 2016. Fotó: Davda Bereznai