by Helena Ivanov
Monday, 19
September 2022
Dispatch
07:00

Serbia’s LGBT Pride march ends badly

Protesters are failing to win over the hearts and minds of Serbians
by Helena Ivanov
A EuroPride protester in Belgrade. Credit: Getty

Belgrade

The decision to cancel EuroPride in Belgrade last month didn’t settle the issue. Despite several months of wrangling and negotiation, it was clear that LGBT+ protesters would march in some capacity — and this is what they did. On Saturday afternoon, protesters gathered outside the Constitutional Court in an attempt to go forward with the planned march for gay rights, but they were not the only ones taking to the streets. Elsewhere, far-Right groups rallied in opposition, which resulted in 87 arrests and 13 injured police officers.

In light of this outcome, should the march have gone ahead at all? LGBT rights are a difficult issue in a country that is still deeply conservative. Even though Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabić is openly gay herself, few discuss it openly. Indeed, the EuroPride parade had to be cancelled last month after thousands poured onto the streets last August. Criticisms from the Serbian Orthodox Church verged on incitements to violence, with one bishop attacking “cursed” EuroPride organisers and participants, saying that it would “desecrate the city of Belgrade, the holy Serbian city,” before adding that “if I had a weapon, I would use it”.  

In the weeks that followed, multiple anti-Pride events were organised — most notably, on 11th September, the Serbian Patriarch Porfirije organised a national prayer for the holiness of marriage, family, unity and peace among the Serbian people, an event attended by thousands of Serbs just outside the Temple of Saint Sava. 

All these protests raised the stakes for the march when it did happen. Pride marchers were only allowed to meet outside the Constitutional Court and walk for 150 metres until they reached Tašmajdan stadium, but it took around 6000 police officers to ensure this could happen. It has been estimated that the total cost of the event was three million euros. 

This has led many to question whether such marches help or hinder the cause of LGBT rights in Serbia. While it is true that the LGBT+ community is heavily discriminated against (they cannot get legally married; they cannot co-own a property; and they cannot inherit property or pension from their partner for example), these public displays of defiance may actually be hurting their cause. Violence is a regular feature at these events (like in 2010 where violence broke out across the city), and opposition to them is hardening, not softening — illustrated by multiple different protests organised in the last few weeks. 

Despite nearly a decade of Pride marches in Serbia, there has been no real legislative impact and public opinion on the issue has not shifted. Instead, Serbia needs to find a new way to address the LGBT question. For instance, proper changes in the education system would be a good start, whereby younger generations could be exposed to LGBT ideas. Moreover, ensuring that LGBT+ voices are heard in mainstream media rather than only in run up to Pride events, may also be prudent. And of course normal challenging of those who maintain anti-gay views.

It is difficult to say whether any of these changes will actually occur, but it is better that they are handled in the classroom or the National Assembly than out on the streets.

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Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
12 days ago

The problem is that conservative countries have seen liberal countries go from intolerance and active discrimination, through tolerance and equal rights, to active proselytisation and discrimination against those holding conservative views.

They’ve taken it as a warning.

Robin P Clarke
Robin P Clarke
12 days ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

“a country that is still deeply conservative”

Nothing to do with conservative. Everything to do with not being infected with deep woke Far Globalist group-“identity”-obsession.

Robin P Clarke
Robin P Clarke
12 days ago
Reply to  Robin P Clarke

” the LGBT+ community is heavily discriminated against (they cannot get legally married; they cannot co-own a property; and they cannot inherit property or pension from their partner for example)”

Non-heteroes cannot get married anyway except in a wantonly perverted mis-usage of the word. And there is nothing to stop them agreeing some contract or will by which their partners can inherit, or by which a pensions company might grant a “heritable” pension. I hope they can have such rights without need to impose all this “progress” on society in general.

Robin P Clarke
Robin P Clarke
12 days ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

liberal countries 

You mean countries infected with fascistically illiberal Far Globalist ideology. The only liberation involved is the liberty of billionaire corporations to impose their abuses without restraint. .

Robin P Clarke
Robin P Clarke
12 days ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

liberal countries 

You mean countries infected with illiberal Far Globalist ideology. The only liberation involved is the liberty of billionaire corporations to impose their diktats without restraint. .

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
12 days ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

LGBT “protestors” have outed their true agenda in the West: destroy civilization. The Trans craze it literally an assault on objective reality itself, without which no society can function. Faced with an organized group that wants to destroy your culture and is attempting to gain a foothold in it, is a violent response really that far out of line?
Secular progressives are fond of saying that “words are violence”. Maybe they’re right.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
11 days ago

That sounds mad but it’s basically true. Queer theory wants to dismantle the family, capitalism, heteronormativity and so on. There’s no way of doing this without mass violence.

It’s important to distinguish this from liberal attitudes to homosexuality – queer theory has piggybacked on liberation movements (as Marxism and its offshoots often do).

Max Price
Max Price
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Nailed it. Nothing more to say except that it seems highly doubtful the ideologues can be convinced of the damage they are wreaking.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
10 days ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I was going to say this. In Canada we are being treated to the bizarre spectacle of a trans woman teaching at a high school wearing massive fake breasts with huge protruding nipples. They are in my opinion a mockery of women’s bodies and of people who are genuinely suffering from gender dysphoria Of course the school board will say anything or stop this stupidity because the my don’t want to be anti-trans. I can’t blame the Serbians for refusing to even start down this road.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
12 days ago

Why does the author insist on using the alphabet soup?
Are we not talking about gay rights and don’t we know now that lgb and t rights don’t move in unison?

Paul Rogers
Paul Rogers
12 days ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

More than that, I would posit that ‘T’ overreach has been utterly counter productive. It has contributed to the hardening of opinion.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
12 days ago
Reply to  Paul Rogers

Though it’s very handily flushed out the issue that identity-based rights are fundamentally illogical.

Robin P Clarke
Robin P Clarke
12 days ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Because “Pride” is about specifically LGBT in the version currently authorised by our superiors.

Michael Rawle
Michael Rawle
12 days ago

In the Republic of Ireland, Enoch Burke is in jail because (I suspect, like many Serbians) his religious beliefs do not allow him to endorse the requirements of LGBT+ ideology, as applied by the law of his country. He is, in fact,a perfect example of a prisoner of conscience.
Perhaps Serbians are reluctant to be nudged down the same road as in the Republic of Ireland, where basic civil rights, such as the right to live in accordance with one’s own religious principles, are clearly under threat from its current very woke administration.

Charles Lewis
Charles Lewis
12 days ago

I doubt many of us really mind much what LGB gets up to, however distasteful we may find it, but T is a horse of a very different colour. Its ideology is a politically motivated attack on our society, with the intention of weakening and then destroying it. It clings to LGB like a poisonous limpet when it has no right to be there, seeking to profit from the fairly casual attitude most of us have to LGB.

Mathieu Bernard
Mathieu Bernard
12 days ago

Interesting how “Pride” has come to be associated with aberrant sexual practices and identities while simultaneously natural heteronormative institutions and relationships are castigated as “oppressive” and “hegemonic.” The alphabet crowd won’t be content with mere”equal rights” or tolerance: they just want to burn the whole house down.

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
11 days ago

I think it was Albert Camus who observed that the oppressed begin by demanding justice but end up wanting a crown. Plus ça change…

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
12 days ago

I needed something to cheer me up today

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
12 days ago

Check this out, it’ll horrify and amuse simultaneously:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11224383/High-school-defends-transgender-teacher-large-prosthetic-breasts.html
No wonder Serbians are taking stock.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
12 days ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Hilarious and somewhat traumatising at the same time! I cannot unsee that!

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
11 days ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Rather stunning display of excess. About the only obvious difference in appearance between men and women relate to their fronts (and now their rears). To affirm his ‘womanhood’ he chose to amplify the front. Such attention gaining appearance really does force the issue.

L R
L R
9 days ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Yes, I just saw that on another site.
This is so absurd, and disgusting that the school and parents who just go along with this…well, I just have no words.
This is a complete insult to all who fought, and sacrificed their lives for the western world in WW2.
Can you imagine our forefathers seeing this sort of pathetic display in the schools, and parents not getting rid of it, pronto?

Last edited 9 days ago by L R
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
12 days ago

Since childhood almost, I met some gay men in my small hometown. I was friendly, they were friendly, and all went smooth between us. We kept our sexual orientation in different ways. As the years went by I travelled and leaved in great capital cities of the west. I met lesbian ladies and we became friends with some. It is obviously easier to get along with ladies, likewise ladies are easier getting along with gay men. Along the way, it all was about respect and acceptance.
I understand that acceptance has many steps one can go. A lady who meant to provoke gay rhetoric said recently that she has a lot of gay friends who all love to “conquer” a straight man. She was attacked by many for being homophobic. Is she..? Am I too homophobic for having the same experience..? We may be. I am sure we are all phobic one way or another. Life’s miracle is offering us a time frame to evolve and become better. Less phobic would definitely help. Less homophobic as well, despite the obscure definition of the term.
Our problems turn big when it comes to the legal system. What will the laws in these matters be..? How will they evolve..? How are we to take this position, or the one against it..? Not always some easy staff to decide upon.
Let me shoot my “ugly” argument now. Ms Helena Ivanov’s statement in parenthesis, about gay persons in Serbia (they cannot get legally married; they cannot co-own a property; and they cannot inherit property or pension from their partner for example), presents a “backward” Serbia that needs to walk a long way before starting the pride parades. These are supposed to be “basic” rights for gay persons to begin with. I strongly doubt this. Wedding, inheriting property and the different ways of ownership are not automatically equivalent to human rights. I am not a right’s expert nor will I be. Nevertheless, I can look into their logic and the common sense running through these concepts. Wedding is among the oldest institutions created. It is obvious that we humans want it to be (to the extend we still do) for the creation and support of a harbor to the family and child upbringing. Before we “kill” the family (that is somewhat a deferent issue) a group of people want to partake in the institution of marriage without the fundamentals of it. Children, or the possibility of them, in a woman and a man couple (please don’t jump to adoption, since it is a sub-issue needed to be discussed separately too). Gay and lesbian persons want to be fully accepted, very naturally. Accepted may they be, and they should by all means. Fully accepted, they can only be if they posses ever more ground of the strait people, to their extinction. The strait people on their hand, are naturally wanting to preserve their ground. Common sense has it that they will fight for it, if they feel “threatened”. My big parenthesis here is that.. [please understand that I am not trying to justify misbehavior towards lgbtq+ persons by any means. I don’t like the term lgbtq+, but I fully stand for the respect of people and their choice].
I have come to understand that the issue of marriage between same sex persons has exactly to do with acceptance. Not about what you can legally benefit from it. This is not the issue and shouldn’t be. Any friendly relation that does not create a family harbor can, would, should, have a legal mirroring other than the institution of marriage. Our society, our communities, our kings and parliaments, plus our co-operations and collectives of all kind that express a keen interest, need to pave ways of understanding and find solutions that offer to all kinds of needy. Answers that walk on the common ground and are for the common good. If I wanted to provide to “George” after my death a shelter, why should the government resist to it..? What deference does it make if we were soul mates, partners, or I liked the fella, or even he was “clever” enough to fool me. In all cases, there should, could, would, be legal ways to give him a fare share, if that were my wish. And so on and so forth. Acceptance is the key. Creating wise boundaries is the way of inclusion of all. Family is the precious jewel we need to uphold.

Last edited 12 days ago by Konstantinos Stavropoulos
Peter McLaughlin
Peter McLaughlin
11 days ago

Good fences make good neighbours.

Neil Hollingsworth
Neil Hollingsworth
11 days ago

Teaching this to young children is not a good suggestion and parents in Serbia will react very strongly just as they have across the west. This topic is indeed a slippery slope as we have found out. This writer is badly informed.

Guglielmo Marinaro
Guglielmo Marinaro
11 days ago

If anything is retarding the cause of gay and lesbian rights – i.e. the moral right of gay and lesbian people to be treated just like everyone else – it is the notion of “LGBT” people and “the LGBT+ community”. In the name of that spurious and illogical category, young people are being encouraged to believe the lie that their sex may be the wrong one and can be changed to the other one, and to seek treatment which stunts and then irreversibly distorts their development (puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones).

Jason Highley
Jason Highley
11 days ago

Maybe they should consider taking over institutions such as media, academia, Big Business, and unaccountable government bureaucracies for a few decades. Worked pretty well in the rest of the western world.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
12 days ago

Banning or even agreeing to cancel protests in favour of gay rights legitimates the violence that is perpetrated on people demonstrating for gay rights. Anyone who supports free speech would support the right of Serbians to demonstrate for gay rights.
If Russia is successful in its war in Ukraine, Serbian nationalists will soon be wreaking violence on its neighbours again. First they came for the gays, but I did nothing because I wasn’t gay ….

Robin P Clarke
Robin P Clarke
12 days ago

Try doing a protest in the “free world” in favour of normal biological families rights and see how far more than mere violence results.
First they came for the “homophobes” and “racists”, but I did nothing because I wasn’t a “homophobe” or “racist”….

Robin P Clarke
Robin P Clarke
12 days ago
Reply to  Robin P Clarke

The Royal family are still horribly straight.and cis.

William Cameron
William Cameron
12 days ago
Reply to  Robin P Clarke

Why is being straight horrible ? That’s very offensive to straight people

Richie Corscadden
Richie Corscadden
6 days ago
Reply to  Robin P Clarke

Horrible straight and cis ?? Grow up.

ralph bell
ralph bell
12 days ago

The march represents the true statement for LGB citizens of Serbia, they are members of the community and deserve the same rights, protections and visibility as every other citizen.
Brave and courageous marchers, I salute you!.
Changing perceptions needs to include the media and popular and/or respected figures to influence society just like the UK. Education did not bring about the change , it followed.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
12 days ago
Reply to  ralph bell

Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabić is openly gay herself

L R
L R
9 days ago
Reply to  ralph bell

Legal marriage, no. Legal laws to inherit property, yes.
It is not healthy for a society to change the definition of marriage, or to allow the hedonistic displays in public that present day pride parades have shown.