Yesterday Belgrade’s third Pride Parade took place, much to the fury of a group of Serbian Orthodox priests and their supporters who moved in afterwards to ‘spiritually cleanse’ the streets along which the revellers had passed.
Photos of priests carrying anti-gay banners appeared on the this Serbian site. One showed a homosexual being driven into the fires of a EU hell by a figure bearing a cross.
However, one unnamed Orthodox monk criticised the priests’ stunt, arguing here that there are so few gays in Serbia that they don’t merit such attention.
The visible gay community in Serbia is tiny, and most of the people in it are foreign, of only partial Serb ancestry, or otherwise just kind of elite/foreign-minded – definitely not average Serbs by any stretch of the imagination.
It is largely due to this that Serbs feel pressured into accepting something they don’t want. The parade almost certainly came about due to foreign influences and not from a request from Serbs themselves. Serbs are generally not interested in and not tempted by this particular aspect of Western influence.
In Serbia I have met exactly two openly gay people. I have met about as many who at least openly state that homosexual acts are acceptable. The general culture is very openly against homosexuality.
So how can anyone say with a straight face … that the troubles which have befallen Serbia are due to punishment from God for allowing gay pride parades, when every day in Serbia thousands of children are murdered through abortion, and no one really cares?
According to this report. a number of Serbian politicians – including Ana Brnabic, above, the Serbian Minister for Administration and Local Government who is also the first openly gay minister in the country – joined “several hundred LGBT rights supporters” on the march through the Serbian capital.
The gay rights supporters marched behind a truck decorated with balloons and blasting music, waving rainbow flags and carrying banners bearing not only the official slogan of the event – “Love Changes the World” – but also those in support of refugees, including “Solidarity with refugees” and “No borders no fences”.
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 normalised in Serbian society and violence against LGBT people still occurs.
Belgrade’s first Pride Parade took place in 2001, but the event was disrupted by violence when a large number of far-right nationalists turned up and attacked participants.
The parade was banned in 2009, but took place again the following year. However, violence again ensued; thousands of young people rioted on the streets, throwing stones and missiles, injuring police officers and setting alight buildings and vehicles. Over 130 policemen and 25 members of the public were injured in the mayhem, while 250 people were arrested.
Finally, in 2014, the march was held again, and passed off without incident, as it did the following year, too. Police had warned that violence would not be tolerated and a high police presence was deployed onto the streets, as well as armoured vehicles and a helicopter to prevent any attacks.
Boban Stojanovic, one of the organisers of the Pride event, said last week that despite the fact that Pride appears to have managed to establish itself as an annual event, violence against LGBT people remains a big problem, while attacks are rarely registered as hate crimes.
He claimed that around three-quarters of the LGBT population in Serbia has faced some kind of violence because of their gender or sexual orientation at some point in their lives.