Lesbian Prime Minister-to-be responds to homophobic critics
The first LGBT prime minister nominated in Serbia has hit back at her critics in the classiest way possible.
Ana Brnabic, 41, was nominated for the position two weeks ago by right-wing President Aleksandar Vučić, and is expected to be confirmed by the end of this week.
Last year, Brnabic became the first out gay cabinet minister when Vučić appointed her to be Minister for Public Administration.
Her nomination to be prime minister has been met with scathing attacks from misogynists and homophobes, as well as those who accuse her of being a puppet for Vučić.
There are also those who accuse Vučić of choosing Brnabic simply for show, to demonstrate how progressive Serbia is so that it can join the European Union.
Yesterday, in a speech to the parliament in Belgrade, Brnabic belied her political inexperience – she has no party affiliation, and has never been elected to any position – to hit back at detractors.
Facing the insults defiantly, she said: “I expect to receive them also in the future.
“I will respond with truths and facts that I will defend with dignity.
“I have big goals as I look to the future.
“Let’s put the past together where it belongs – to the past,” she added, according to The New York Times.
After she joined Vučić’s government last year, she told Vice Serbia: “I’m not a spokesperson for the LGBT community.
“I don’t want to be branded as a gay minister, just as my colleagues don’t want to be primarily defined as being straight.
“All I want is to do my job as best as I can.”
Her historic nomination has encouraged activists in the deeply conservative country, which only declassified homosexuality as a disease in 2008.
Two years after that decision, two-thirds of people still believed it was an illness.
Brnabic is no activist, though. Last year she refused to lend her support to a proposal to push for legalising same-sex partnerships in Serbia.
Zoe Gudovic, 40, a social justice activist in the country, told The New York Times: “The only thing I share with Ana Brnabic is that we are both lesbians.”
She said Brnabic deserved “credit for shattering the deeply rooted notion of how a woman in the highest position of government should look like, what she should wear and how she should behave in this homophobic society.”
This did not mean she approve of Brnabic accepting the nomination, however.
“I find it impossible to accept that she is willing to be part of the nationalist, authoritarian regime that will ruin our economy, sell our country to foreigners and abolish whatever is left of a social state,” Gudovic said.