Reaction to the article “Straight people will be banned from entering the first Serbian LGBT corner”

Belgrade, 09.05.2013.

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA; Alliance) believes that the positions and messages of the „NGO Egal” representative, stated in the article “Straight people will be banned from entering the first Serbian LGBT corner”, published yesterday in Belgrade’s daily newspaper “24 sata”, and which was transmitted by other media as well, are extremely inappropriate and could harm severely the LGBT community in Serbia.

rainbow-flagAfter it was published, this article caused numerous negative reactions from citizens, among which are a number of LGBT persons, both in the comments as well as on social networks, and some of them contacted the Alliance during the day.

Namely, the text states that LGBT center will be opened in Belgrade in June, as well as the name of the street where it is located. There is also estimation that around one hundred thousand LGBT people live in Belgrade, and that all of them, including the homosexuals from the province and abroad, will be able to find there a place to spend a night, a bar, that they will be able to hang out there and get the information where they can get around freely in Belgrade, etc. Straight (heterosexual) persons, according to the statements from the article, will not be able to enter that space, but entry will be allowed only to LGBT persons, who are all know each other as it claimed in the article. These claims are presented in the mentioned article through the statement of the representative of the organization launching this LGBT center (NGO Egal), as well as through the journalistic part of the text.

GSA supported and will continue to support new organizations and new initiatives which contribute to the decrease of violence and discrimination against LGBT persons, but believes that this, maybe in its essence good intention, is completely wrong promoted in public. Beside some illogicalities, like the statement that all LGBT persons know each other, which is completely untrue, but also the obscurities as why is the club, ie. the center of closed type promoted in this way – through mainstream media that reaches the broad public, GSA believes that, through this article, are sent several messages that are very problematic.

Those bad and damaging political messages were sent to the LGBT population and the society as a whole, and are related to the fact that LGBT population who are fighting not to be discriminated by the heterosexual majority have the intention to discriminate within that space all those who are not same-sex oriented by not allowing them possibility to enter the space, as well as that LGBT population should and can function exclusively in isolation and ghetto.

GSA expresses its deepest disagreement with the statements and messages presented in the article, because it believes that in the 21st century the key goals of the fight for human rights of LGBT persons are equality and inclusion, and that such messages can only be the sign of regression into the past and tool for regression of the existing state. It also collapse the large part of the results and the work that was done so far by a number of non-governmental organizations, institutions and individuals on improving the position and equality of LGBT population. Also, the goal of the Alliance and other LGBT organizations was never ghettoization in any sense, so we, for example, also believe that LGBT population should be safe and secure everywhere, not only in specified, for that purpose created places and parts of town, and we are fighting for it through our activities.

GSA leaves the possibility that the article, and in particular the part dedicated to the statement of the NGO Egal representative, is wrongly published or interpreted by the journalist of the “24 sata” newspaper, and if that is the case, considering the damage that it caused, believes that it would be rational for NGO Egal to deny these allegations immediately.

GSA Info Center

Press Release are also joined by:
Gay Lesbian Info Center (GLIC)
Labris – the Lesbian Human Rights Organization
Novi Sad Lesbian Organization (NLO)
Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM)