Mezipatra is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. It will be joyful, emotional, full of amazing films and delicate topics. All those coming with an open mind will feel at home, safe and surrounded by people who completely respect the appearance, behaviour, values and identity of others.
However, acceptance is not always automatic. Mezipatra is celebrating its 20th birthday, and that reminds me of a personal memory. At the time of the first Rainbow above Brno (today's Mezipatra), I was in the third grade at an elementary school in a village with a population of less than 300. I had already realised that I wasn't feeling exactly “right” among my peers. I was aware I was different, and I agonised all the more over trying to fit in. When I finally felt for a moment that I was a part of my peer group, one of my classmates had the need to remind me with a snicker: “My mom says that you've always been and always will be different!” At that moment, I panicked: “Everybody knows about me. This pretense isn't working. I'll just never fit in.”
I would have never imagined that twenty years later, we would be where we are now. I often still feel insecure about myself, but if I'm proud of something, it's the Czech LGBTQ+ community: full screening halls at Mezipatra, the centre of Prague full of those marching for equal marriage, Letná park full of dancing (although soaking wet) colourful participants of Prague Pride and, last but not least, regional pride parades led by young, determined people. We're capable of having fun, of thinking and of being interested and invested in queer life. And, above all, we know how to fight. Let's keep sticking together, and let's show solidarity with our queer comrades and their goals.
Let's keep flying together in the Winds of Change, the positive one.
Pavel Bicek, Festival Director