The first Cyprus gay pride festival kicks off on Saturday to mark the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) 2014, said Costas Gavrielides, president of Accept-LGBT Cyprus.
Introducing the history, facts, and vision of the LGBT movement, Gavrielides said activities were aimed at publicly fighting the stigma and prejudice against "10% of the population, hence against 85,000 Cypriot compatriots".
"A mature society must accept and respect human rights of even one person as equal," said Gavrielides.
Depicting the occasion as the first step Accept carried out towards combating ignorance, the festival aims to "promote equal rights for all, increase of visibility of LGBT people as member of the community and constitutes a celebration of diversity as well as a reaction to hate and persuasion, shame and stigmatism".
The festival includes a series of events set to begin tomorrow and carry on for two weeks portraying the slogan "Same love - same rights" with central messages "acceptance" and "diversity".
The festival has so far received prominent support and is under the auspices of the Mayor of Nicosia, Constantinos Yiorkadjis, with participation and support of the Cyprus Youth Organisation, the office of the European Commission in Cyprus, the Representation of the European Commission and many diplomats.
Events throughout the month include films, discussions, book presentations and musical nights in both Nicosia and Limassol targeted at all Cypriots.
Stressing this, the festival is to begin with a walk of a 'bicommunal' nature, in which participants will walk the Kugulu Park to Buyuk Han in occupied Nicosia with additional activities such as music, dance, theatre, games, painting games and stencil workshops.
The peak of the festival is to take place on Saturday May 31, where at 5pm a parade is being organised from Eleftheria Square to the Municipal Gardens behind the parliament in Nicosia.
The parade will also be attended by the Board of ILGA-Europe from Brussels. A closing party in the park will include music and DJs, and a performance by internationally renowned artist "A man to pet".