In the last Pescanik radio show, Goran Miletic wondered loudly what exactly was the problem with Pride? In his article published a little later on the website, he claims that no one actually understands anymore how politicians benefit from banning Pride. And really, what is the problem with Pride? The problem is best identified when there is no clamor, violence or destruction of public property, and when members of the movement Dveri talk about it in a calm manner. There is also the statement made by Dragan Markovic Palma to be noted, that there will be no Pride, despite the fact that he has no authority for giving such statements. However, he is one of the leading anti-Pride proponents, and let’s not forget another of his statements – that there are no gay people in Jagodina, his home city. No gays there, because Jagodina is a healthy Serbian environment. Other politicians are not as aggressive as Palma, but they are still looking for excuses in hooligans and the so-called security risks. This, or any other excuse, cannot hide a simple fact: the law does not apply equally to everyone in this country.
If this is true, then one should ask oneself why is this minority group beyond the law. Angry anti-Pride protesters from Dveri, who proclaim themselves to be decent conservatives, publicly state that gay people should not be harassed and beaten and that violence is not the answer, but are vehement in their demands to keep these unnatural individuals (who unfortunately exist in Serbia too) invisible, private and safe “behind closed doors”. They would not ban gay population as such (because it exists), but rather their appearance in public. Their argument is that gay people promote some sort of totalitarian ideology. And according to them, this ideology leaves no space for what is “natural and normal”, while at the same time glorifying the unnatural. As a result, in certain Western countries (Canada is mentioned as an example) the tolerance towards gay population has reached such lengths to allow for different perceptions of the family, including the one in which both parents are of the same sex. But the alleged totalitarian ideology was put in play only in order to make a balance: balance between gay extremism and hooligans, thus presenting the government as the unbiased judge in this situation, who, due to the “security risk” and in order to protect the citizens from extremism, does not allow any type of extremism! On the day the Pride is scheduled, we will ban all extremist gatherings, that is, all totalitarians and extremists. The government is not violating the law and the Constitution, but is instead preventing clashes between two types of extremism, and the spreading of two dangerous totalitarianisms.
Why is the proud gathering of gay population perceived as extremism? Why is this minority the only one which cannot claim their rights in public – their rights not to be discriminated, to be integrated into the society, the same rights as any other individual and citizen of this country? The claim that Pride has a negative influence on birth rate is pure nonsense, and yet another stupid, seemingly pointless excuse. But their may be a point after all. I believe I am not wrong when in Palma’s statement that there are no gays in Jagodina, I sense that Pride is perceived as an attack on Serbia’s national pride. The hatred towards gay population is only another (hidden) form of Serbian nationalism. A Serb can be a lot of things, but he cannot be queer. The violence threatening this group, and the refusal of the state to protect its public visibility, is in fact a desire to ban gays from Serbia – for such embarrassment does not exist in Serbia, nor will it ever. The well-known chant “Kill, slaughter, until Shiptar is no more” seems to apply to gay population as well. This time, as many times before, hooligans will be in the first battle lines protecting Serbia. The whole issue is just some sort of perversion and make-believe, imported from the European Union. EU should be ashamed to ask Serbia to support such parades. What is the point of the EU, says Dacic, if we need to have Pride in order to join. This is why “security risks” will probably prevail again, although this does not testify to the weakness of the state and its inability to protect citizens from hooligans. The state does not want to protect itself from hooligans, but instead wants to use them as a good excuse to protect Serbian national pride and the Orthodoxy from the assault of Western values, the proverbial rottenness of the West.
This seems to me to be the problem. Maybe I am wrong, maybe the issue is not so complicated; but if it is, then the struggle will be a long one.
Translated by Bojana Obradovic
Vesna Pešić, političarka, borkinja za ljudska prava i antiratna aktivistkinja, sociološkinja. Diplomirala na Filozofskom fakultetu u Beogradu, doktorirala na Pravnom, radila u Institutu za društvene nauke i Institutu za filozofiju i društvenu teoriju, bila profesorka sociologije. Od 70-ih pripada peticionaškom pokretu, 1982. bila zatvarana sa grupom disidenata. 1985. osnivačica Jugoslovenskog helsinškog komiteta. 1989. članica Udruženja za jugoslovensku demokratsku inicijativu. 1991. članica Evropskog pokreta u Jugoslaviji. 1991. osniva Centar za antiratnu akciju, prvu mirovnu organizaciju u Srbiji. 1992-1999. osnivačica i predsednica Građanskog saveza Srbije (GSS), nastalog ujedinjenjem Republikanskog kluba i Reformske stranke, sukcesora Saveza reformskih snaga Jugoslavije Ante Markovića. 1993-1997. jedna od vođa Koalicije Zajedno (sa Zoranom Đinđićem i Vukom Draškovićem). 2001-2005. ambasadorka SR Jugoslavije, pa SCG u Meksiku. Posle gašenja GSS 2007, njegovim prelaskom u Liberalno-demokratsku partiju (LDP), do 2011. predsednica Političkog saveta LDP-a, kada napušta ovu partiju. Narodna poslanica (1993-1997, 2007-2012).