EuroPride 2019 in Vienna: a truly unique experience

Euro Pride 2019 in Vienna: a truly unique experience

Hello everyone! Today I would like to speak to you about an event that took place last week in Vienna. And that event was Euro Pride. For those who don't know, Euro Pride 2019 is a parade which is celebrated in order to support the LGBTQ+ collective and protest for tolerance over any kind of discrimination. Many European countries celebrate PRIDE every year, as a national event. For example, the Pride that's celebrated in Madrid is one of the most famous and important in the world. It's better known as "Day of Gay Pride". The difference between Pride Day and Euro Pride is that it's an event at a European level. Different cities in Europe run as candidates for this celebration, but they only choose one. This year it was Vienna, so my friends and I didn't think twice in going. It was only an hour away from where we live after all. In this post, I'm going to tell you everything that happened that day, from dawn till dusk. Let's go!



Euro Pride in Vienna is an event that lasts two weeks, from the 1st to the 16th June. Not all of the dates carry the same importance, though. We went on the penultimate day, the Saturday, when they celebrated the parade through the centre of Vienna. It's the most significant day as everyone comes out to the streets to celebrate diversity and raise awareness about these collectives. There were plenty of events going on in the Austrian capital on the days leading up to our arrival, but the Saturday was the biggest day.

What happens?

At 1pm it beings, and the parade passes through the centre of Vienna, more specifically in Ringstrasse, one of the most important streets in the capital. We used Google Maps to see where to go, and along the whole route of the parade was a banner flying the rainbow flag, which represents gay pride.

It started very near the opera house, and along the cordoned off streets thousands of people started to march, flying their collective LGBTI+ flag high. There were lorries acting as floats carrying people dancing and singing in the parade as well. A lot of these floats had specific themes, and the very same floats were the ones blasting the music to the entire Austrian capital. Everyone dances, drinks and celebrates sexual freedom and the right to be whoever you want to be with pride. I realised that in the parade there were certain songs that they repeated more than others. Among them was "Like a Prayer" by Madonna or "I Am What I Am" by Gloria Gaynor, that many of us were singing at the top of our lungs. We also heard loads of songs by Freddie Mercury, who is also a symbol and reference for many of the LGBTQ+ community. We also saw a lot of people dressed up as fictional characters that relate to the cause in some way. At that point, we really regretted not dressing up. Two floats caught my attention: one of them was carrying the Austrian football team to support the cause, and another was full of Portuguese people, as the country was one of the candidates to host Euro Pride 2020.

I'll add some photos of the parade for you to see. You can feel the positive energy oozing into the atmosphere, the variety of people, the happiness and diversity there by just looking at these photos. Truth is, it was a real shame that this day ended at all.



The atmosphere in general is for younger people, but it's true that we saw a lot of families of gay couples marching with everyone else too, enjoying the parade with their prams. There were loads of people with banners with either feminist phrases or quotes against homophobia or transphobia. So, even though loads of people think that all the events that you see at Pride only exist as an excuse for a party, it's not true. This couldn't be further from reality. Pride's main motive is to demonstrate to fight for equal rights for people with a different sexual orientation. I was lucky enough to be able to participate in this and experience it first hand. Many people that saw me taking photos came over to me, proud, so I would take a photo of them. I'll leave you some photos of a few of the placards that I managed to take on that day. One banner that kept being repeated throughout the whole demonstration said the following: "violence is a weapon of the weak".



As well as all of the LGBTQ+ motives that were present in the march, the city of Vienna was decorated with the colours of this flag all over the place. The slats of wood on each bench were painted in every colour of the rainbow, and they did the same with the zebra crossings and all the trams that run through the historical centre, and they even hung the flag from the very same opera house.


As the afternoon moved on and we were about to get to the Vienna City Hall, the heat started to become stifling and people started to throw bottles of water all over the place to be able to cope with the high temperatures. Very close to Hofburg Palace, we saw a hose on the floor that had been pierced so now the water was spraying everywhere like a fountain. We didn't think twice about jumping in the water to get absolutely soaked as the heat was already unbearable. Once the evening had begun, the heat subsided and we finally arrived at the Rathaus.

Pride Village

We were looking at the different floats for an hour until we decided to join one of them and follow the parade all the way to the Rathaus. We passed through loads of Vienna's streets until getting to the City Hall, where the PRIDE VILLAGE is! Here were a variety of little stalls with many different offers. There were stalls related to sexual education, also other ones that offer help to women. And others were raising money to support this cause or donations that were directed to help people with HIV or AIDS.

As it's a party that goes on all day, there are various food stalls, although because there were so many people there, it took ages to be able to get anything to eat. I waited 40 minutes for a burger. To top it all off, they were calling out each number that they had on their order list (like in a butchers) and they shouted the numbers in German... You wouldn't believe your eyes. Because this is what you see: I'll leave a photo of the Rathaus gardens, the centre of the crowds. There were people absolutely everywhere! You could barely even walk.


Around 6pm, the concerts started. We had the pleasure of watching Conchita Wurst live. Conchita Wurst became internationally famous for winning Eurovision one year, representing Austria. She really catches your eye as she looks like a women, but she has a beard. Although she's not the first bearded lady in the world, it has to be said that she broke down stereotypes in front of the whole of Europe. Because of this, she was one of the most important figures of Euro Pride. All the Austrains were screaming in excitement when she came out onto the stage and started to sing. But the truth is that Conchita Wurst didn't just grace us with her performance in the Rathaus but she was also on one of the floats that was parading through the historical centre of Vienna, to promote her new album. We saw this float many times, but we never saw her. Later on we found out that she sang some songs whilst the float paraded around. Annoying that we missed that. What surprised me the most was her radical change, and she didn't have long hair like she did on Eurovision anymore. But you know what she's like, there's no doubt that she has an amazing voice and puts on a show, and that she's a huge representative of this community.

But not just Conchita Wurst performed in the Rathaus, but other artists such as Ruth Lorenzo played too. It really shocked us that Euro Pride got a Spanish singer to perform! Loreen performed as well, who's a singer who represented Sweden in the Eurovision with the song 'Euphoria'. When the day was coming to an end, and it started to get dark, I went to the train station as I still had an hour long journey back to Bratislava. I left, but the party continued into the early hours of the morning in the centre of Vienna.



Without a doubt, the best thing about this whole event is that whoever you may be, no one will judge you. You can see how everyone express themselves freely. Many people were practically naked, and other people were dressed however they wanted to, reversing traditional gender roles created by society. It gives you the feeling that in Euro Pride, anyone can be whoever and whatever they want to be and for once in life, apart from maybe one or two exceptions, no one judges you. It was here where I saw the happiest and freest women I had ever seen in my life, happy to express themselves freely and to love whoever they love. And that is the magic of Euro Pride.


Despite there being a long way to go, we have to recognise how far we've come by looking back. But even then, today it's still a crime punishable by prison to be gay, or even by the death penalty. So although there are still people nowadays that think celebrating Pride and demonstrating on behalf of this collective doesn't make sense, the statistics give us motivation to fight for rights equality, each and every day.


I hope that you've enjoyed this post! I have written this with a lot of love, as it's something that I did very recently so I remember a lot of the details that gave me goosebumps throughout the day. I'm happy to be able to leave evidence of this in my blog, and I would love to be able to read it in a few years and see how things have improved. Thank you for reading this post, and I'll see you for the next one!

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