EuroPride 2023 is officially underway in Malta with a complete programme of events running from September 7 to 17.
EuroPride is an International Pride festival held in a different European city every year that aims to educate, inform, and influence cultural and societal attitudes about LGBTQ+ communities.
This year’s theme is ‘Equality from the Heart’, and programme highlights include an extravagant Pride parade, educational discussions, and themed evening entertainment including a free Christina Aguilera concert on September 16. Attendees already enjoyed a spectacular opening performance of the official EuroPride Valletta 2023 song “We are Pride” by MattBLK, Destiny, and Owen Luellen.
In addition to fabulous entertainment, EuroPride includes an annual LGBTIQ+ Human Rights conference which is taking place on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The EuroPrideVillage in Pjazza Tritoni will host various discussions centred around topics like healthcare, sexuality, relationships, religion, and personal identities.
— EPOA • EuroPride (@EuroPride) September 11, 2023
This is the first year EuroPride is taking place in Malta, and thousands of participants from 50 different countries will be in attendance. The 2023 Rainbow Europe Map and Index identifies Malta as the most LGBTQ+-friendly country on the continent, a place it has held for eight consecutive years.
Despite its sizeable Catholic population, when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues, Malta is more progressive than its neighbouring countries. It has hate speech legislation and laws that support same-sex marriage and adoption. It also offers gender-affirming surgeries with plans to make surgeries free and part of the national health service, and Malta allows LGBTQ+ people to donate blood.
Parliamentary Secretary Rebecca Buttigieg said: “We want EuroPride to serve as a platform for activism that reaches all corners of our community. We aim to foster a better understanding of the experiences of LGBTIQ+ individuals, both in the workplace and in family life, as well as in every other aspect of daily life, to ensure that equality is practiced in our day-to-day interactions.”
Buttigieg acknowledged that some European countries are pulling back their support for Pride, and she emphasised that the conference will reflect on both the progress and challenges of LGBTQ+ rights.
🌈 #PrideMonth: Celebrating Malta’s leadership in LGBTQIA+ rights while recognizing there’s still progress to be made. EuroPride reminds us why this mission is crucial in Europe. Let’s keep pushing for equality! 🌍🏳️🌈 #EqualityForAll #Europride2023 #MaltaPride #LGBTQIA+ [1/6] pic.twitter.com/7xvkUw7lau
— Matthias Iannis Portelli 🇲🇹🇬🇧🇪🇺 (@IannisMatthias) September 9, 2023
Some events earlier in the week were relocated due to weather conditions, but Allied Rainbow Communities President Maria Azzopardi promised that EuroPride will continue sharing: “Rain or shine, nothing will stop the LGBTIQ+ community from showcasing its talents, its unity and above all, the identity that makes us what we are.”
The first EuroPride was celebrated in London in 1992 and attended by over 100,000 people. Since then, different cities across Europe have applied to be the host location, which attracts LGBTQ+ tourists from across the world. The festival location is determined by a majority vote three years before each event.
Limerick Pride, The Outing Festival and QuareClare are hoping to bring EuroPride to the picturesque region of rural West Ireland in 2028. If their application is successful, it will be the first time EuroPride is hosted in Ireland.
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