I have bad experiences with inebriated people. My ex-boyfriend hit me while under the influence, says abstinent.

Twenty-two year old Jana hasn’t had a drink in several years and according to her
words, she doesn’t miss it. Despite that, she still meets people that don’t understand
her, people that consider alcohol a completely normal part of their life.

You did drink before. What happened?
Yes, it used to be like that. I come from Moravia so I could almost say I know wine
and Slivovice (Plum brandy) from my childhood. When I was 16 and everyone
around me was drinking I thought I might give it a shot. I didn’t find anything I liked,
which might have been a good thing. Just like with any other food: If you don’t like it,
you don’t eat it. I also have bad experiences with alcohol.

What experiences?
Inebriated people act differently than usual, everyone knows that. Unfortunately, I
have many bad experiences with drunk people, who don’t exactly act nicely.
Suddenly they blame you for things, are aggressive and attack you, just to not
remember any of it tomorrow. Just to leave the emotional scars to the sober one.
Unfortunately, I came very close to this sort of thing when my ex-boyfriend hit me.
Naturally, the closer someone is to you, the more he knows you, the more he can
abuse you when drinking. Compared to someone random somewhere at a bus stop.

Have you encountered any negative responses are people okay with you not

Being an abstinent is not completely usual. If one is not excused by medical reasons
or something such as pregnancy, society tells us, there are no reasons not to drink.
When I say that I don’t want beer, that I won’t have any of the wine and that they can
keep the Vodka for themselves, people usually wonder. I hear: ,,You’re an
abstinent? Like seriously? Why?” very often. I encounter these typical question quite
commonly. After I tell them I don’t like alcohol, many people try to list things I haven’t
just tried yet and things that I would absolutely love. I answer that I know most of
those drinks and that they won’t convince me, I get labeled boring and weird. I don’t
like when people force others into things.

How do you solve social events such as toats at celebrations?
I just don’t drink. I will have water, juice or some other non-alcoholic drink. It strikes
me when it’s someone’s birthday and they have the need to get me to drink. ,,Come
on, it’s my birthday, have a drink.” I wouldn’t dare to say: ,,Hey, it’s my birthday, so
eat this steak.” to a vegetarian. I find it rude and intolerant. I don’t tell others not to
drink, they shouldn’t force their view upon me either.

Half of my family are Muslim. I face prejudices, even though it is not my religion.

Sarah (18), student, Prague:

,,I am indirectly affected by prejudices against Muslims. Half of my family are Muslim
and even though I am not Muslim myself, I’ve heard my fair share of insults. Mainly
after the events in Germany and France. It bothered when my friend, who I
considered a sane person, told me to not join them on their trip because they
wouldn’t let us cross the border with me there,” shared an eighteen year old student

Pride parades don’t really help our sommunity, says lesbian Anna.

Even though according to twenty-seven year old Anna our society is much
more informed about homosexuality, she still met with negative comments.
What baffles her is that even atheists claim that homosexuality is against God,
but Anna is a Christian herself. Even the famed pride parades aren’t of much
help to the LGBT community, according to her.

Do you think that people in Czech Republic are open to the question of

With growing public awareness, our community gets more recognition. Although it is
true that pride parades, marches and other activities don’t exactly help us. In the
USA it is more like a big carnival. In czech it’s frowned upon as a march of mentally
unstable, who are unable of normal life and run around streets in latex clothing. I
think we have many years to go before our society can change their view towards
the LGBT community.

Do you yourself feel prejudices towards you?
I did encounter some discrimination, not very often though. When talking about
prejudices in general, it is obvious that our Lesbian community is full of them. It’s
things like if one woman needs to be the man in the relationship or whether one has
to substitute the role of a dad in parenthood. Many cizitens of Czech Republic claim
to be atheists but even they sometimes say that it’s against God’s will to be gay. I
believe in God myself and I don’t have a problem with this question.

You said that, even though not much, you did encounter some discrimination.
In what sense?

There are two problems I am dealing with lately, which is registered partnership
(marriage between two people of the same sex) and conception, eventually adoption
of a baby. Regarding registered partnership I have an experience myself since I
have already been registered before. This kind of partnership is not very legally
sound, there are many missing aspects that we would like in it. We are labeled and
stamped in our Identification documents and when you come to a hospital or town
office and have to show the ID, everyone can see you are registered. There is no
personal privacy in that moment and I think just changing it to married would be
more practical.

You mentioned children. What rights do you have in this aspect?
Regarding adoption or conception of a baby, we as lesbians have no legal way to
conceive a baby, unless we have sex with a man. There is only one way today and
that’s assisted reproduction. Unfortunately I feel discriminated against, because the
laws are not developed enough to allow single woman or woman in registered
partnerships to conceive a baby this way.

Have you ever encountered strictly negative reactions woards your

It did happen once, I was in the subway with my girlfriend, holding hands. An old
woman was walking towards us, spit under our feet and called us ,,disgusting
lesbians”. I don’t think there are many more negative situations, apart from someone
just not taking it too well. One of those was my coworker and she couldn’t stand the
thought of working together. At the end we had a talk where I explained that I don’t
hit on every woman on the street and that she doesn’t have to worry, she’s not my
type anyway. That seemed to calm the situation down.

What about your opinion towards the LGBT community?
I don’t like extremes. I don’t like the demonstration of ,,I am a lesbian, so what?”. I
also don’t like it when a straight couple make out at a tram stop. So what’s my
opinion towards the community? It’s mainly positive, we have good relations, we try
to help each other and encourage fresh members of our community. On the other
hand, we still currently have a long way to go.