International Pride Day marked in Serbia
About 40 members of the LGBT population marked the International Pride Day in Belgrade on Wednesday.Source: Beta
The participants carried banners and rainbow flags and released balloons in downtown Belgrade.
The International Pride Day was also marked by flying the rainbow flag at a building housing the ombudsman’s office.
Novi Sad-based NLO lesbian association launched a campaign dubbed “Lesbians wish you a good day” which is aimed at getting the public’s attention to the fact that they are active participants of the society.
Belgrade Pride representative Boban Stanković told reporters that the manifestation's slogan “Silence will not stop us” pointed to everyday lives of the LGBT population.
“Banners saying ‘I am not allowed to kiss my girlfriend’, ‘I was kicked out of the house’, ‘I live in a lie’ point to some of the problems we face every day,” he said and expressed regret that the LGBT population was only mentioned when violence occurred.
Stanković believes that the new government would, due to its pro-European orientation, be more open toward the LGBT population.
According to him, today’s manifestation was organized in order to commemorate Stonewall riots when members of the LGBT community stood up to a police raid on June 27-28, 1969 in New York.
He stressed that first Pride Parades were held in the U.S. on the anniversary of the riots.
“It is important to open the topic, so the majority can recognize that people of different sexual orientation live among them,” Stanković noted and added that the situation in Serbia was slowly changing and that the support ahead of the Pride Parade in the fall was a proof of that.
He said that the state was showing good will when LGBT rallies are concerned, adding that large numbers of police officers proved it and sent a message to those were the most brutal toward the LGBT persons.
The Gay-Straight Alliance representative Lazar Pavlović said that progress had been made in the attitude of the state institutions toward the LGBT community but that it was nesessary to do more.
He noted that position of the LGBT persons needed to be improved through changes in the education system and training of the state organs, primarily police and judiciary.
At a panel discussion dubbed “Together for equality of the LGBT persons” he said that civil organizations got funds for gatherings and campaigns for the first time this year.
“We held manifestations in Novi Sad, Belgrade and Niš but we did not get a permit for the use of the public place for our gathering in Kragujevac,“ Pavlović explained.
Human and Minority Rights Ministry representative Jasna Plavšić pointed to homophobia in Serbia and stressed that “we must work on affirmation of acceptance of differences”. She added that a preparation of the National Strategy for Combat against Discrimination was underway.
Novi Sad-based NLO assessed that in countries like Serbia, the Pride Parade was a political protest but that it could hardly be held.
“Since 2001 until today, when the time comes to hold the Pride Parade there are of course no security conditions and it becomes very clear that more than ten percent of the population, that makes the LGBT population, cannot express their dissatisfaction,” the association said in a release.
The NLO wondered whether it was possible that other Serbian citizens really felt good when so many people were being exposed to discrimination and various forms of violence on a daily basis.