Previously : 42) The Dance of The 41 (1901) gave its name to the derogatory term for a gay man in Mexico which was used by 43) Alberto B. Mendoza (b.1971) in the name of his lgbt organisation which annually honours 41 lgbt Hispanics, one of whom was 44 ) Dr. Alicia Gaspar de Alba (b.1958), a writer of a lesbian mystery novel, a genre pioneered by 45) Katherine V. Forrest (b.1939), a former editor of Naiad Press whose books were published in Czech by 46) Markéta Navratilova (1975).
46) Markéta Navratilova (no relation to the more famous Martina, as
far as I know) founded LePress in 2007. It was the first lesbian publishing
house to be established in the Czech Republic. Markéta had lived in the UK for
a couple of years and was impressed by the amount of lesbian literature that
was available in mainstream book stores.
Back home in the Czech
Republic Markéta’s friends expressed an interest in reading lesbian fiction but
none of the publications were available in Czech. This led Markéta to found
LePress as a way of expanding the lesbian literature market into eastern
Europe. Looking at the back catalogue of Naiad Press which had been sold to
Bella Books Markéta selected two romantic novels which she published as the
first Czech language lesbian novels in the Czech Republic. From such small
beginnings LePress has grown to include other lgbt publications and genres,
including children’s books like the famous “And Tango Makes Three”.
Markéta Navratilova is
also an activist. She is a member of the organising committee of the 2019
International Gay and Lesbian Association Europe conference to be held in
Prague, and of the organising committee of Prague Pride.
Another member of both
committees, and the core team manager of the 2019 conference, is 47) Czeslaw Walek (b.1975). His
involvement with Prague Pride came about through his career as a lawyer and
human rights campaigner. Between 2009 and 2011 he was Deputy Minister of Human
Rights and Minorities. In late 2010 Czeslaw was approached by a group of people
who wanted to organise the first Prague Pride. They asked him to draw up a
constitution for their committee. His position as a Deputy Minister meant that
he had established contacts with the government and police and he attended the
committee meetings to offer advice.
By January 2011 the
committee was looking for a Chair. Czeslaw was persuaded to accept the
position. “Let’s try for a month”, he is reported to have said. Seven years
later, in July 2018, he’s still Chair of Prague Pride.
Czeslaw’s appointment as
Deputy Minister came during an unstable period in Czech politics. Just two
months into the job the Czech government collapsed, and two years later the
Human Rights Minister resigned and Czeslaw was put in charge of the department.
One of the areas in which
Czeslaw is particularly pleased to have made an impact was the increase in the
rights and attitudes towards the Roma community. In 2003 he was appointed
Director of the Office of the Governmental Council for the Roma Community. It
was in collaboration with Roma groups and the Equal Opportunities Party that Czeslaw
campaigned as the Green Party candidate in the 2013 Czech parliamentary
His appointments were, so
far, non-elective, and during his time in office there was only one openly lgbt
member of the Czech government, Gustav Slamečka, the non-elected Minister of
Transport (2009-10). Czeslaw didn’t win his Prague seat in 2013 and so didn’t
earn the honour of being the first openly elected member of the lower house of
the Czech parliament.
However, there had already
been an openly lgbt member of the upper house, the Senate. He was 48) Václav Fischer (b1954). He
was elected as an independent, openly gay, Senator for Prague’s municipal
district 1 in 1999 with a massive 71% of the vote. During his three-year term
of office he worked on the European Integration Committee. He decided not to
seek re-election at the end of the three years.
Part of the reason for his
success in the election was due to him being a successful and popular
businessman. In 1999 his airline company, Fischer Air, was (after Skoda and
Budweiser) the most recognised corporate brand in the Czech Republic. The
origin of the company went back to 1980 when Václav, then living in Germany,
founded the Fischer Reisen travel agency.
Following the Velvet
Revolution and the long-overdue collapse of the Communist Czech dictatorship
Václav leapt into the growing tourism markets. This was the basis of his
success. By 1995 his business had become so successful that he was able to sell
the original German part of Fischer Reisen to Lufthansa, and with the money
bought a fleet of planes and set up Fischer Air.
Despite this success
Václav Fischer and his company were declared bankrupt in 2003. The Czech
economy was not stable enough to sustain the demand of his services. In 2005
Václav returned to Germany and set up other travel/tourism ventures and
currently runs Aircraftleasing Meier and Fischer.
Vaclac Fischer is one of
very few lgbt businessmen to run an airline. Another, who also has links to
Lufthansa, is 49) Sir Michael Bishop,
Baron Glendonbrook (b.1942).
time : We fly down to
Rio with Lufthansa.