Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

First Slovak LGBTI activist has fought for 40 years

Czechoslovakia was one of the first countries to say homosexuality is not a crime, also thanks to the first activists like Imrich Matyáš.

Imrich Matyáš (r) met with German publicist and lawyer Kurt Hiller (second r) in Ľubochňa in 1935.(Source: Iniciatíva Inakosť archive)

Stonewall, one of the best-known movements for gay rights in the world, started in New York in 1969. By that time, one Slovak had already been fighting the same fight in Bratislava for nearly half a century.

Imrich Matyáš (1896-1974) was one of the very first LGBTI activists in Czechoslovakia. He devoted 40 years of his life to fighting for the rights of homosexual people and the abolishment of a law that made their sexual orientation a crime.

“He never gave up and was quite progressive for his time,” Jana Jablonická-Zezulová from the Initiative Inakosť (Otherness), who recounts the activist’s story, told The Slovak Spectator.

She considers it admirable that, despite his failures, Matyáš continued fighting for what he believed in and considered right: the decriminalisation of homosexuality. He also promoted the equality of homosexuals and the majority, proposed classifying homophobic attacks as crimes, and pursued the elimination of prejudices towards non-heterosexual people.

“These are all still topical issues,” Jablonická-Zezulová said.

Who was Imrich Matyáš?

Matyáš lived all of his life in Bratislava. He worked as a bureaucrat, responsible for social insurance legislation. He had many contacts and met many important people. At the same time, he was openly part of the homosexual community, even though in his time same-sex couples were mostly seen in a negative context.

Newspaper stories, police and medical reports in the archives described them as criminals or subjects of various experiments using hormonal treatment or other methods. Nobody spoke about their actual life.

Read more: What was the situation in Czechoslovakia concerning non-heterosexual people like after World War II? How was the story of Imrich Matyáš revealed? What are the next plans?

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

Annual
subscription

29 €
Buy
You save 17.80 € compared with monthly subsription
Quarterly
subscription
9.90 €
Buy
You save 1.80 € compared with monthly subsription
Monthly
subscription
0.98 €
Buy
Price is only for new subscribers for their first month. All other months are standard price of 3.90€

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

The processing of personal data is subject to our Privacy Policy and the Cookie Policy. Before submitting your e-mail address, please make sure to acquaint yourself with these documents.

Top stories

How rock music helped bring down the totalitarian regime Video

A new film shows that Rock & Roll, forbidden in the Soviet Union, helped to end the Cold War.

Illustrative Stock Photo

Movies under an open sky feel differently than in an air-conditioned cinema Photo

The popularity of outdoor cinemas is increasing in Bratislava

Bažant Kinematograf on the Magio Pláž beach

Peter Sagan announces split with his wife Katarína

The Slovak cycling star who has a young son said “It will be much better this way”.

Peter Sagan marries Katarína, November 2015.

Top 3 news from Last Week in Slovakia Video

Slovakia to buy 14 American fighter jets.

This archive picture from 2014 shows an older model of the F-16 fighter jets.