Organization of the Pride Parade 2012 needs to be addressed with maximum seriousness

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) is joining the association „Pride Parade Belgrade“ in their statement from April, 8, 2012, in which they are inviting representatives of state institutions in Serbia to help the Pride Parade 2012, and act according to the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, European Convention on Human rights and conclusions from the latest Resolution of the European Parliament.

Freedom of assembly is one of the fundamental human rights and for GSA undoubtedly the biggest responsibility for the safety of this and other gatherings lies with the state and its institutions, together with the necessity to demonstrate political will and promoting tolerance toward the LGBT population. The State needs to show maximum seriousness and guarantee unambiguously and without any calculations respect for all its laws, and also to do everything in its power that Pride Parade pass without violence and hate speech in public space, this and every following year.

On the other hand, organizers of the Parade also have a big responsibility toward the LGBT population, for whom the event is organized in the first place, and whose rights need to be represented in a proper manner. For that reason GSA invites the organizers of the 2012 Pride Parade to approach the preparations and organization of the event with maximum earnestness as well.

Pride Parade is politically and logistically very demanding event; its organization in 2010 lasted more than eight months, during which three public campaigns for support of the Pride were realized, and they took place in the period from March till October. Considering that 2011 ban of the Pride Parade by the state marked a big step backward, it is inadmissible to wait and start the preparations for the Parade a month before the event is suppose to take place, as it was the case last year. Pride organizers all around the world are involved in preparations all year long, and considering that organizing a Pride is the only program activity of the „Pride Parade Belgrade“, there is no reason not to act the same way in Serbia. It would be especially inadmissible to enter the whole process again without strategy and with visible absence of communication with LGBT community and articulation of their needs and requests.

Pride Parade is a very important event which reflects on the LGBT population as a whole and it has to be transparent, therefore it should not be used by any of the sides (directly or indirectly involved in the organization of the event) to settle their personal scores. At the same time LGBT people in Serbia and their rights should not be held hostage of any hidden agendas or personal ambitions for that matter.

In addition, Pride Parade should not be aim in itself, but a tool in a fight to decrease violence and discrimination, which was clearly emphasized by the organizers of the 2009 and 2010 Pride Parades. For that reason it would be very bad to have the same last year atmosphere, where Parade is depicted as the only important event and the only thing LGBT population in Serbia needs.

GSA, as it did so far, supports the Pride Parade and considers that it is necessary for it to take place, but will not provide any concrete help or unconditional support to the organizers, as it was the case last year, until they do not show commitment, seriousness and sincere intentions to organize 2012 Pride Parade.

GSA Info Center