Henk Beerten,
Chairman COC Netherlands

I am proud to be here at your Gay Pride celebration. I would like to thank the organisation for inviting me to speak to you today and the Dutch Embassy who made it possible.

The struggle for gay rights is never easy. It takes courage to come out. It takes courage to be here. It takes courage to fight for our rights. By coming out today and showing yourself openly in the street you have demonstrated the courage that a successful LGBT movement needs. The support of the community is essential. By being here you show your parents, your teachers, your politicians, your churches and the world that the gay community of Slovenia is serious about the goals that must be achieved.

We demand nothing less than complete equal rights for gays and lesbians in every aspect of life. There is no such thing as a little bit equal. A little bit equal is not equal.

Soon Slovenia will be a member of the European Union. This is a great opportunity to further improve legal rights for gays and lesbians. Being part of the EU offers the possibility, more than ever before, to participate in projects with LGBT organisations within the community. COC Netherlands will participate fully and do everything we can to support equal rights and the acceptance of homosexuality in daily life throughout Europe. We are working with gay organisations in Albania, Moldova, Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria. We have already conducted a fact-finding mission here in Slovenia and are now preparing to initiate a project with the Slovenian Gay organisations. You are not alone in your struggle. Together we are strong.

A successful gay rights movement knows it history. Only through knowing where you came from can you understand the struggle that has got you where you are today. Only then you can see what activists before you have accomplished. The fact that we can be here today and demonstrate our pride publicly in Kongresni square is possible because of the spirit, power and endurance of many activists who have gone before you. Remember those who stuck out their necks when public manifestation of homosexuality was not accepted and was a target of aggression by society and even by the legal establishment.

Let’s give a big cheer for everyone in Slovenia who through their efforts and personal sacrifice made this Gay Pride celebration possible!

Lesbian women, gay men, bisexuals and trans-genders are different. We are different. Yes. At the same time we are equal. We must be proud of who we are. We are lovers; we are partners; teachers, politicians, housewives, mothers, fathers. We are taxpayers, obedient citizens, music lovers. We are men and women just like everyone else. So it is only fitting that we demand equal rights. Discrimination against homosexuality must be eradicated from every society throughout the world.

It is essential to the struggle that we embrace the heterosexual community. In every sector of society there are people who regard gay rights as human rights and are willing to put their energy and their contacts into the gay rights movement. Find them and include them in your efforts because gay rights activism is not only the duty of gays and lesbians. Straight people can, will and must participate. Only then will the gay rights movement grow stronger and achieve its goals.

Acceptance of gays, lesbians and bisexuals cannot be attained through statutory rights alone. It must be an intrinsic part of society. Parents must be proud of their gay children. Children must be proud of their gay parents. Teachers must speak positively about homosexuality in the classroom and support their gay and lesbian students. Above all, show yourself. Be visible. Let society see that gays and lesbians are people. There are too many people in this country who don’t know anyone who is gay or lesbian. It is easy to be against something you don’t know. Therefore it is essential for the gay movement, and that includes each of you, not only the organisations, to be open and honest about your homosexuality. Ignorance is the greatest enemy of a successful gay rights movement. So let society know you are out of the closet; show yourself and make clear that you will never go back into the closet.

That takes courage. A lot of courage. But I can see and feel here today that you have the energy and the commitment to stand up for yourselves and for the gay community as a whole. This is Gay Pride. Let Slovenia know that gay rights are human rights and that intend to claim those rights.

Don't give up. Support each other and together you will succeed. And together WE WILL succeed.

Thank you very much.


Henk Beerten,
Predsednik COC Netherlands
(Prevod)

Ponosen sem, da sem lahko na vaši Paradi ponosa. Zahvaljujem se organizatorjem, ki so me povabili in Nizozemski ambasadi, ki je moj prihod omogočila.

Boj za pravice gejev in lezbijk ni lahek. Potreben je pogum, da se razkriješ. Potreben je pogum, da prideš sem. Potreben je pogum, da se borimo za naše pravice. S tem, da ste prišli sem, ste pokazali pogum, ki ga uspešno GLBT gibanje potrebuje. Svojim staršem, učiteljem, politikom, vaši cerkvi in svetu ste pokazali, da je slovenska gejevska in lezbična skupnost resna v prizadevanjih za cilje, ki jih je potrebno doseči.

Zahtevamo nič manj kot popolno izenačitev pravic gejev in lezbijk v vseh vidikih življenja. Malo enakopravnosti ni. Malo enakopravnosti ni enakopravnost.

Slovenija bo kmalu postala članica EU, kar je dobra priložnost za uveljavljanje pravic gejev in lezbijk ter za sodelovanje z drugimi GLBT organizacijami. Naša organizacija COC bo naredila vse za izenačevanje pravic in sprejetje homoseksualnosti po vsej Evropi. Mi že sodelujemo z organizacijami v Albaniji, Moldaviji, Ukrajini, Romuniji in Bolgariji in začeli bomo sodelovati tudi z organizacijami v Sloveniji. V svojem boju niste sami. Skupaj smo močnejši.

Uspešno GLBT gibanje pozna svojo zgodovino. Le tako lahko oceniš, kam si prišel in kaj so aktivisti in aktivistke pred teboj dosegli. To, da smo danes lahko na Kongresnem trgu, je rezultat duha, moči in vztrajanja številnih aktivistov pred vami. Spominjajte se tistih, ki so se borili, ko manifestacije homoseksualcev niso bile sprejemljive in so bile nasilno zatrte!

Zaploskajmo vsem tistim v Sloveniji, ki so s svojimi močmi in osebnim žrtvovanjem omogočili današnjo Parado ponosa!

Lezbijke, geji, biseksualci, transseksualci in transvestiti so različni. Različni smo. Ja, a hkrati smo enaki. Moramo biti ponosni na to, kar smo. Smo ljubimci in ljubimke, partnerji in partnerke, učitelji in učiteljice, politiki in političarke, gospodinje in gospodinjci, matere, očetje. Smo davkoplačevalci, poslušni državljani, ljubitelji glasbe. Smo moški in ženske kot vsi drugi. Zato je primerno, da zahtevamo enake pravice. Diskriminacijo homoseksualnosti moramo zradirati z vsakega konca sveta.

Za naš boj je pomembno, da vključimo heteroseksualno skupnost. V vsakem delu družbe so ljudje, ki pravice gejev in lezbijk razumejo kot človekove pravice in so se za to pripravljeni boriti. Poiščite jih in jih vključite v svoj boj, kajti gejevski in lezbični aktivizem ni zgolj stvar gejev in lezbijk. Tudi heteroseksualci lahko, bodo in morajo sodelovati. Le tako bomo postali bolj močni.

Sprejetje gejev, lezbijk in biseksualcev ni možno doseči zgolj preko pravic. Sprejetje mora postati bistveni del družbe. Starši morajo biti ponosni na svoje homoseksualne otroke. Otroci morajo biti ponosni na svoje homoseksualne starše. Učitelji morajo o homoseksualnosti v razredih govoriti na pozitiven način in podpirati svoje gejevske in lezbične študente in študentke. Predvsem pa … pokažite se! Bodite vidni. Naj družba vidi, da so tudi geji in lezbijke ljudje. Preveč je ljudi, ki ne pozna nobenega geja ali lezbijko. Lahko je biti proti tistim, ki jih ne poznaš. Zato je pomembno, da smo odprti in pošteni glede svoje homoseksualnosti. Nevednost je največji sovražnik uspešnega GLBT gibanja. Naj torej družba ve, da niste več v klozetu in da tja ne boste šli nikoli več.

Za to je potreben pogum. Veliko poguma. Ampak imam občutek, da imate energijo in voljo, da se postavite zase in za celo gejevsko in lezbično skupnost. To je Parada ponosa. Naj Slovenija ve, da so pravice gejev in lezbijk človekove pravice in da boste te pravice tudi zahtevali.

Ne obupajte! Podpirajte drug drugega in skupaj boste uspeli. In skupaj BOMO uspeli.

Hvala lepa.