From 12-18 June 2023 we sent participants from Germany to take part in Ljubljana Pride in Slovenia together with an amazing group of queers coming from Italy, Serbia and Romania. Here you can read the report of one of our participants, Dana.

Ljubljana Pride made me regain Pride as an event. I still remember my first parade and my excitement for it, the sense of freedom it brought me. It was in Warsaw, 9 years ago, I put a dress on for the first time in public back then. But at some point I got fed up with huge commercialised marches and lost the joy of participation in them. Especially after my first one in Berlin. It’s not only the matter of rainbow capitalism but also the sense of safety and community.

I don’t feel that people who are trans but not transformative or on the spectrum of ace/aro are represented there. And as it was said at the lesbian panel during Ljubljana pride week: ‘the feminist approach is to see what is not seen, to watch what is missing – how the space as a resource is distributed’. Marches are dominated by cis gay males who often struggle to notice needs of the rest of the community as they hold privileges they are given by the patriarchy. Recently I hang out more in spaces taken over by woman and trans people (Ljubljana Pride was one of them) and it feels way more inclusive, safe and intersectional than gay males’ venues.

Ljubljana Pride is a small march (about 5 thousands ppl) organised mostly by FLINTA. This is an NGO with no private sponsors, like Netflix or Starbucks (that basically cancelled their support for prides when they realised it’s not lucrative for them anymore). It’s registered as a youth educational project that uses public founds. For example from erusmus+ programme – that’s why I could have been invited there.

The pride village was giving family picnic vibes – at the green square in the city centre, with free snacks, make up stations (2€), living library and an army of amazing volunteers from around the Europe taking the best care of the whole festival. It was giving queer family and it was a healing experience after another prides (in Poland for instance) that charged for the entrance to pride villages where you could buy only overpriced stuff.

Basically the pride week had a formula of a festival with curated trips through exhibitions and discussion panels about queer solidarity. What gave me a juicy package of knowledge about queer issues in balkans and not only.

Inside of our Erasmus+ crew I had space to exchange feelings and reflections about being trans and queer (especially huge thanks to stein for our takes) and learned a lot from persons who are nearly 10 years younger than me.

My heart is filled with gratefulness. I was taken care of so well and I met so many incredibly wise and beautiful ppl that it feels barely real. It really revives my courage and excitement towards activism. Ljubljana pride might be seen as a periphery but it reminded me that the strength and brave grow rather in safe spaces than at commercial events.

This youth exchange was funded by the European Commission:

The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.