GSA: Enough with excuses, state must do its job

Belgrade, 04.10.2012.

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) severely condemns the ban of 2012 Pride Parade and feels that this act is a direct consequence of blatant irresponsibility of all sociopolitical factors that are responsible for solving the problem of homophobia, threats and violence against the LGBT population, as well as for preparing this year’s Parade.

Serbia is, unfortunately, a country where homophobia and prejudices against LGBT people are still very high, and this is something than needs to be addressed strategically by everyone, both the governmental and the non-governmental sectors. However, this past period has shown, through various public and street events that have been organised by LGBT organisations, that regardless of the low level of tolerance and acceptance of differences, the greater majority of citizens do not react with violence. Potential violence surrounding the Parade in the past 4 years, as well as the one that we were able to see in 2010 on the streets of Belgrade, is not spontaneous but always very well organised and is evidently a product of organised extremist and houligan groups, which is being repeated year after year. GSA also consider that the inefficiency of courts and their gentle punishment policy are in no way helping the reduction of violence, since they are sending clear signals that it is practically allowed to discriminate and commit violence against LGBT people.

GSA therefore demands that the state and all its relevant institutions, as bearers of the highest responsibility, finally process and sanction all violent people, extremist groups, organisations and individuals who have been openly threatening, mobilising or joining together with the intent of committing criminal acts, of which the relevant bodies are aware of and on the basis of which they reached the decision to ban the Parade. GSA also expects an end to the practice of giving inadequate punishments and delays of court proceedings against violent people and those who discriminate and instigate hatred against LGBT people. GSA feels that the negligent attitude of the state and its institutions towards organised violence in the past few years has brought the state to the point where it has no more excuses by which it could delay or avoid acting effectively and respond adequately to the security threats of the past few months.

GSA also deems it reprehensible that the LGBT community in Serbia and their basic human rights were once again misused by all the participants in this process, in order to gain political points or some small interests which have nothing to do with improving the status of the LGBT population. The state showed an incredible level of inefficiency in defending basic human rights, while the organisers were more focused on completely unnecessary accompanying events, such as the exhibit “Ecce homo”, than on the essential issues regarding the organisation of the Parade.

In order not to allow the LGBT population in Serbia to remain just collateral damage within various interests that have nothing to do with LGBT rights, GSA intends in the following period to take concrete steps, primarily directed at the state, but also at the LGBT movement, as well as to do everything in our power to not let this situation with the Pride Parade happen again.

GSA Info Center

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