Rainbow flags were delivered to the municipalities of Paphos and Geroskipou today by the head of Accept Cyprus in support of the LGBT community and the fifth Cyprus Pride festival.
The hashtag for the 2018 event is #makethechange and the festival will culminate in the Cyprus Pride Parade in Nicosia on June 3.
Geroskipou will raise its flag on Friday – the first time the municipality is doing so – and Paphos will follow suit the following week, Around 5,000 people took part in the final parade last year.
This year Pride aims to create awareness about the difficulties facing the transgender community.
Accept LGBT Cyprus’ representative in Paphos, South African Cypriot Zac Theophanous helped to organise the raising of the rainbow flag in Geroskipou, along with other events including members of the public painting a stencil on a wall of the old army base in Geroskipou on Saturday morning.
Mayor of Geroskipou, Michalis Pavlides said that raising the rainbow flag and holding regular rainbow meetings in cooperation with the municipality’s Iris centre is an important move.
“We have to change this society and some of the laws that don’t accept or allow some parts of the community to be who they are. Everyone can show their support and many people in Cyprus are concerned about this,” Pavlides told the Cyprus Mail on Friday.
President of Accept LGBT Cyprus Nicolas Trifon on Friday told Paphos radio station Rock FM’s Breakfast show about the importance of inclusivity into society for everyone, the rights for the LGBT community, and in particular the moves to establish a process for trans people to be recognised and able to change their IDs and the need for education on these matter in Cyprus in general.
“There is still a lot of prejudice against our community and by educating people and highlighting problems and issues we can bring about positive change,” he said.
Trifon said that although in some Cyprus communities such subjects are still taboo, progress is being made and more people are becoming aware and accepting the LGBT community. However he said there is still more work to be done
“The hardest thing for some people is coming out to their family and friends and wondering how they will react. In many cases parents may seem to be OK, but then tell them not to tell other family members or make it public knowledge. Imagine how that feels,” he said.
The march takes place in Nicosia municipal garden on June 3 at around 6pm after kids’ activities at 3pm and speeches at 5pm.
Support for the LGBT community in Paphos is increasing and monthly rainbow meetings are now being held in both Paphos and Geroskipou, co-ordinated by Theophanous.
Further information is available at Accept website: www.acceptcy.org