by Tobias Sauer
The gay and lesbian community in Malta has every reason to be proud: According to official figures, 4,500 participants were in the streets this weekend – more than ever before – to promote equality between gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders and intersexuals. Last year, the organisers counted only 2,500 participants – and that was already a record. “We are overjoyed,” says Clayton Mercieca from Allied Rainbow Communities (arc), who organises the Pride. “Not only were our expectations exceeded, but the mood was also very positive”.
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The parade consisted mainly of people on foot and just very floats and moved happily through the streets of the capital Valetta in bright sunshine. Dancers performed within the parade and led the spectators to rising cheers and applause. DJs of local clubs and discos supplied the soundtrack to the parade. Terminus and culminating point of the parade was a park on the cliffs high above the natural harbour of Valetta. Artists performed on a stage until late at night.
Malta is considered one of the most progressive countries in Europe in terms of LGBT rights. In the Catholic island state, which is located about 90 kilometres south of Sicily and has about 430,000 inhabitants, the rights of LGBTIs have been extended in recent years despite protests by the church. Malta even prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in its constitution. Homosexual couples are allowed to adopt children in Malta and conversion therapy is prohibited. However, activists and politicians see it as an ongoing process : Just before the Pride, the governments adopted an action plan to reduce unequal treatment that still exists.
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