GSA: Do not reject your closest people because of their diversity

The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is celebrated worldwide every May 17, since 1990 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of diseases.

Unfortunately in our society prejudices against LGBT population are still predominant, and one of the strongest ones is that these people are sick, something that 67% of the citizens of Serbia believes in according to the study done in 2010 by GSA and CeSID. Other very preoccupying fact comes from the Helsinki committee research from 2011, according to which more than 70 % of young people, that is, high-school age, have homophobic attitudes.

That is why in occasion of the marking of this significant day Gay Straight Alliance (GSA; Alliance) wants to address primarily all citizens of Serbia and invite them to have more understanding and tolerance than before for diversities related to sexual orientation and gender identity. LGBT individuals do not choose their sexual orientation, but are rather born with it. Hence, this does not make them sick, less worthy, or inhibited with this part of their identity in any qualitative sense-they are people like everybody else, who like other citizens have the right to live safely, without violence and discrimination.

Even though LGBT individuals have the same life goals and needs as every other citizen, their main concern in a homophobic society, such as the one in Serbia, is not to be rejected, but to be accepted by their surroundings, in particular by their closest ones. They are children, relatives, coworkers, acquaintances, friends and neighbors of many of you. Their sexual diversity should not be the only obstacle for acceptance, friendship, respect and cooperation, but they should be evaluated on whether they are good or bad people, good or bad co-workers. GSA believes that the potential for tolerance and understanding in our society exists, and that the majority of the citizens helped by the adequate work of state authorities and LGBT organization, will in a near future have this type of attitude toward the diversity of any kind, including the sexual minorities.

In the occasion of marking the International Day Against Homophobia and transphobia, GSA will participate today in a debate with citizens, organized by the US Embassy in Belgrade. This event will commence with the projection of the movie „Milk“ at the American corner at Dom Omladine, and will proceed with the discussion on current position of LGBT community and LGBT rights in Serbia and the World, moderated by the representatives of the Embassy and the Gay Straight Alliance. In addition, Alliance will present tomorrow its Annual report related to the state of human rights of LGBT people in Serbia under the title „Freedom is not given, it’s taken”.

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