Serbia’s gay prime minister not welcome at pride, say activists
Members of Serbia’s LGBT+ community have said that the country’s prime minister, who is openly gay, is not welcome at their annual Gay Pride parade because of a lack of progress on LGBT+ issues.
Ana Brnabic became prime minister of Serbia last year, and became both the first woman and the first openly gay person to hold the position.
She attended last year’s pride parade, but a year later, activists say that little progress had been made.
Some of those activists have now launched a new campaign, called “Say No”, with the goal being to prevent politicians from attending pride marches as they believe that they are not making progress on LGBT+ rights.
Brnabic is the focus of the campaign, as the group behind it says her “work on strengthening LGBT rights has been disappointing.”
The Prime Minister stoked controversy when she told crowds at last year’s pride parade that LGBT+ issues would only be addressed once they had tackled important problems, including inflation, pensions and the standard of living.
Head of Serbia’s Gay Lesbian Info Centre (GLIC), Predrag Azdejkovic, told the BBC that it was “a scandalous statement.”
Serbia’s pride marches have a difficult history. After 100 people were injured in 2010’s parade, the interior ministry refused to allow the parade to take place again for a number of years. It didn’t return until 2014.
Serbia’s track record on LGBT+ rights is fractious, with Amnesty International saying there was a marked lack of will to tackle homophobia and transphobia there in 2014.
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Same-sex marriage continues to be illegal in Serbia, and recent research from the ERA suggests that 90% of people in the country are against allowing LGBT+ people to adopt.
The country was ranked 28th out of 49 observed European countries in terms of LGBT+ rights in 2016 by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).
Earlier this year, Brnabic made headlines after she called out a fellow cabinet minister for his homophobic remarks.
Nenad Popović said that the government was fighting to increase the birth rate, but at the same time was importing “gay picture books”. He went on to say that they must resist “those who want to convince us that it’s okay to say ‘Roko has two moms, and Ana has two dads.’”
Brnabic hit back by telling media that his job was to “make sure Roko, Stefan, Milos, and any other child stays in Serbia, instead of dealing with who their parents are.”