The Serbian Orthodox Church and right wing extremists have had their way: Belgrade Pride Parade has been banned by the Serbian Government for the second year running. Belgrade Pride has attracted a great deal of attention again this year, and not for good reason. Even before the Serbian Minister of the Interior knelt down to the church and extremists and banned the Parade, fear was mounting that alleged security issues would be used as justification for the government’s submission.
As well as the Church and some family groups who are vehemently opposed to a gay lifestyle, right wing extremists had been making their jaundiced opinions and intentions entirely clear. But threats of demonstrations should not be justification for a government ban on people exercising their legal rights to gather peacefully in a parade – a rights that has been recognised by the Serbian Constitutional Court.
“We only have to look around the world to see how the twin evils of nationalism and distorted religion have focused on LGBT people as the target for their hate, just as the Jews were singled out in the 20s and 30s,’ he said.
“If that sounds hysterical and exaggerated – remember the words of Edmund Burke, that ‘for evil to flourish all that is required is for good men to do nothing’.
“Belgrade knows more than most cities how tribal hatred fostered by false religion and aggressive nationalism can cause death, disaster and misery.”
Cyndi Lauper, Kim Wilde and Holly Johnson are among a growing band of international singers who have added their voice to support Belgrade Pride 2012.
These multi-million selling musicians have come forward to encourage the LGBT community who intend to exercise their right to walk side by side on the streets of Serbia’s capital city.
The Belgrade Pride Parade, which is scheduled for Saturday 6 October, is still far from confirmed to go ahead. If last year’s debacle is anything to go by, when the Serbian government banned public gatherings due to ‘security issues’, organisers could be in for a bumpy ride. For that reason and more, Serbia’s LGBT community should appreciate knowing that the world is watching.