Day Against Homophobia marked in SerbiaSource: B92, Tanjug
BELGRADE -- The International Day Against Homophobia is marked around the world on May 17, the day when homophobia stopped being regarded as an illness 20 years ago.
LGBT flags will be put up on the buildings housing offices of the Serbian ombudsman and equality protection commissioner.
Belgrade Pride Parade expressed concern and optimism regarding LGBT people’s rights in Serbia.
Its representatives said in a release that they “firmly believe that various social process such as Serbia’s EU accession and forming of a new government will contribute to a faster increase in quality of LGBT community’s life”.
“By flying the rainbow flags we want to send a message to the public that homophobia and intolerance are phenomena we need to put an end to,” Equality Protection Commissioner Nevena Petrušić has said.
She stressed that hate speech and violence against the LGBT community members were unacceptable and that everybody needed to make sure that they feel safe.
“We need to develop awareness that everybody in Serbia must enjoy the same rights and feel safe,” Petrušić noted and added that this was responsibility of the entire society.
She expressed expectation that the future strategy for combat against discrimination, which is being prepared, would largely focus on combat against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
According to her, the document should define activities that envisage involvement of all social factors that should help overcome homophobia and develop tolerance.
“This is a road to a tolerant and democratic society in which everybody will be able to say that they enjoy the same rights as all other citizens,” Petrušić pointed out.
Labris NGO’s Jovanka Todorović-Savović said that flying of the LGBT flags was aimed at getting the public to pay attention to the fact that LGBT population was discriminated in Serbia.
She added that the World Health Organization (WHO) had taken homosexuality from the official list of mental illnesses on May 17, 1990, while the Serbian Medical Society had done it in 2008.
Ombudsman Saša Janković stated he had a reason to be satisfied with the relations he had with gay rights associations and that he expected competent state bodies and institutions to work on improvement and protection of LGBT population’s human rights.
“Sexual orientation and gender identity are every individual’s personal matters but protection of the right to be different concerns all of us,” he explained.