Press Release on the occasion of yesterday’s statement by Dragan Markovic Palma, mayor of Jagodina

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) strongly condemns yesterday’s statement by Dragan Marković Palma, mayor of Jagodina, that homosexuality is a disease, which was published by some media.

Despite the fact that homosexuality has been removed from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) of the World Health Organization for the past twenty years, which was also confirmed on several occassions by the Serbian Medical Society and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia, Dragan Marković Palma does not stop abusing media space with such statements, spreading lies and hatred towards the LGBT population. This is certainly helped by another fact: that Marković has never had to answer, either legally or politically, for any of his homophobic statements (and there were quite a few in the past two years).

This latest statement by Dragan Marković Palma is without a doubt considered by GSA as hate speech towards the LGBT population and it puts this minority in the position of second-rate citizens. The most concerning aspect is that Marković, who is a highly positioned politician, should respect the Constitution and the laws of Serbia, while he obviously does not.

Furthermore, GSA feels that his „addition“ to the statement about how Marković does not approve of violence is entirely hypocritical, considering that it is statements like these, that homosexuality is a disease, which only foster already great social prejudice and hatred towards the LGBT population and contribute to the increase in violence against LGBT people, where the offenders in most cases, just like Marković, get away unpunished.

GSA has no illusions that Dragan Marković Palma lacks awareness of his responsibility or the consequences of his statements, which can lead to violence against this minority population, whether it is about the Pride Parade or the frequent cases of attacks on LGBT people which take place throughout the entire year on the streets, public places, in schools, families, and so on.

GSA feels that Marković simply does not care about the lives of LGBT people in Serbia, but only about cheap political points which he hopes to get in this way in a homophobic society such as the Serbian one. After all, he showed that plainly last year, when, a few days before October 10, according to the information received by GSA, he offerred various positions and benefits to the director of the Student Cultural Centre in Belgrade (SKC) if he cancelled the use of SKC to the Pride Parade organizers, even though SKC was one of the most important security points for the safety of the Parade participants.

With all this in mind, Gay Straight Alliance will in the future consider Dragan Marković Palma, if he continues with homophobic statements, as well as politicians like him, direct inspirators of hatred and violence against LGBT people, whether the attacks are individual or organized by extremist rightwing organizations.

Furthermore, since there has been no adequate reaction by competent government institutions, GSA’s Legal Service will file a lawsuit against Marković in the next few days, for hate speech, discrimination and violation of equality.

GSA Info Center

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