News 18 Sep 16
LGBT Activists March with Politicians for Belgrade Pride
Serbian politicians joined several hundred LGBT rights supporters on a march through the Serbian capital on Sunday for the Pride Parade, which concluded without any incidents – although many criticized the organization of the event.
|Third Belgrade’s Pride Parade under the slogan “Love changes the world” has been held on Sunday. Photo: Beta|
The third Belgrade Pride Parade, which took place under the slogan “Love changes the world”, was held on Sunday with several hundred LGBT rights supporters, alongside Serbian politicians, participating in the march through the centre of the Serbian capital
Serbian actress Mirjana Karanovic, and ‘godmother’ of this year’s Pride Parade, officially opened the event, congratulating all those who gathered for the march, telling those present that she believes it is important for everyone to find a way to overcome fear, referring to the fact that LGBT rights have not become normalized in Serbian society and violence against LGBT people still occurs.
“Human life is precious and the right to live it freely is inviolable,” Karanovic said
Numerous politicians and diplomats were spotted at the event, including Ana Brnabic, the Serbian Minister for Administration and Local Government, who is also the first openly gay minister in the country.
Belgrade’s mayor Sinisa Mali also joined the parade, alongside Bojan Pajtic, leader of the Democratic Party, DS, and Cedomir Jovanovic, President of the Liberal Democratic Party, LDP.
The head of the EU delegation to Serbia, Michael Davenport, and the German ambassador to Belgrade, Axel Dittmann, were among those from the international community who took part.
Boban Stojanovic, one of the event organisers, said that the Pride Parade is not only for the LGBT population, but for all those who are discriminated against and invisible in Serbian society.
“This is a celebration not only of LGBT people, but also for all workers who fear in their pain not to lose a piece of bread. A celebration of all Roma people who are silent. A celebration of all persons with disabilities who are suffering in four walls because they cannot describe what it’s like when everyone is staring at you and you are the subject of derision,” Stojanovic said.
He added: “This is a celebration for all women who suffer violence, the pride of all people in the workplaces who are silent and suffer because they feel powerless.”
During the march, protesters stopped for a minute of silence at the Patriots monument on Terazije street, intended to show support for the LGBT community in Turkey, where Pride parades have been banned, and as a homage to Hande Kader, a trans-person and activist who was brutally murdered in Istanbul in August.
While the conclusion of the event without incident is considered an achievement, Marko, a thirty-three-year-old man from Serbia, claimed that Pride Parade suffered from bad organisation this year, which resulted in a smaller number of people joining the march than he hoped for.
“It is shameful how the organisers ignored the fact the Pride is happening. Nobody called people to come,” he said.
However, he added that regardless, the Belgrade Pride event is still essential for providing visibility for the LGBT community among Serbian society.
“Continuity of Pride is important. I think the situation [for LGBT people] in society is a bit more relaxed every year,” he said.
Several other organisations that support gay rights, including the Gay Lesbian Info Centre and the citizen associations Egal and LGBT Serbia, also criticised the organisastion of the parade, claiming the event is not inclusive, is closed to the needs and criticisms of the LGBT community, and does not make an effort to boost the number of LGBT supporters who attend the march.
Serbia’s first LGBT Minister Ana Brnabic attended the Pride. Photo: Beta
First published by – Balkan Insight