A rising tide of high profile international voices has spoken out in support of next month’s Belgrade Pride Parade (Saturday, October 6). Among the growing messages of support and encouragement to Serbia’s LGBT community as they prepare to take to the streets in a peaceful act of solidarity against prejudice and bullying in their country, some leading stars of stage and screen have gone on to scold Serbian authorities for the country’s black history of gay rights.
Recalling the Serbian government ban that was slapped on last year’s planned gathering of gay people, their friends and families, admired British actress Miriam Margolyes issued a damning statement on the country’s human rights record. “It is intolerable that anywhere in the world, prejudice against gay people should be upheld by a government,’ she said. “Shame on Serbia to permit such a thing.
Leading lights from Serbia’s artistic community have joined a growing list of international celebrities to pledge their backing to Belgrade Pride. Serbian actress-turned-director Mirjana Karanović and film-maker Stevan Filipović have been among the first to come forward to support the week-long series of events, which will culminate in a planned parade through Belgrade’s city centre on Saturday, 6 October.
As a campaigner for human rights and freedoms, Serbian director Stevan Filipović (Skinning/Šišanje) has been critical of the way his country’s authorities slapped an undemocratic ban on Belgrade Pride in 2011, following years of violent attacks and bullying for gay people. He is fearful that former ultra-nationalist President Tomislav Nikolic and his regime will be unwilling to step up for the rights of all Serbians to gather in peace, which will paint Serbia in a negative light.
Closer integration between people and police, firmer adherence to the rule of law, and the adoption of clear guidelines for the judiciary will foster vastly improved relations and a greater appreciation of the issues affecting Serbia’s LGBT community, Belgrade Pride organisers have said. It will also make Serbia a safer place to live.
Belgrade Pride organisers have published a roadmap to a safer Serbia, detailing what needs to be done if the country can move towards equal rights and improved safety for the country’s LGBT community.
The curtain has been brought down on the London 2012 Paralympic Games, marking the end of the greatest summer of sport in Britain. Two months on from the incredible opening of the Olympic Games, we are left with indelible memories and high emotions. New heroes have been taken to our hearts and the billions who watched the sporting action from London have shared so many awe-inspiring moments and enjoyed countless unforgettable experiences.
The support for athletes competing in both the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was tremendous. People came together in the spirit of fair competition to celebrate the power of human commitment and struggle to do their best, regardless of their medal hopes. Across the World, people got behind their teams, cheering them to victory, while military personnel and volunteer games makers ensured that the experience was a smooth for athletes and supporters alike.