On July 21, members of the Organizing Committee of the Belgrade Pride held a press conference to announce BELGRADE PRIDE 2009 – IT'S TIME FOR EQUALITY. They said that the event was scheduled to take place on Sept. 20 and that it was not planned as a provocation, but as a political protest of the LGBT persons in the effort to raise public awareness about discrimination and violence they face daily.
LGBT population has been facing plenty of serious threats in the past few months. Some neo-Nazi groups and fans who are connected with Red Star and Partizan football clubs have been issuing threats to organizers, warning that the event's participants would be beaten if they organize parade. On the walls of Belgrade’s buildings appeared deterrent messages: “Death to faggots,” “Serbia for Serbs, Out with Faggots.” Football club officials dissociated themselves from these fan groups and said that they didn’t organize anyone to write graffiti.
At the conference, representatives of the LGBT population reminded the public of the Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade of June 2001. Lesbian movement named this gathering the Massacre Parade: 40 persons were injured and LGBT community was held hostage by fear for many years afterward.
On the occasion of this year’s parade, they said:
We the activists have long been asking ourselves, “Is it time?, are we ready?” and finally this year, new people came and said “YES!”. Lots of activities, and many negotiations with police and the Ministry for Human Rights are underway to secure a peaceful parade.
At the end of the press conference they invited people to participate in the event:
We obviously need many of us to be here! We invite you all to come and join us on Sunday, the 20th of September!
Mayor of Belgrade, Dragan Djilas, who used to be one of the leaders of the anti-Milosevic student protests, and who is now a high-ranking official in the Democratic Party, is against the parade.
Belgraded.com reported on the bizarre statement Djilas made when asked to comment on the safety issues of the forthcoming Belgrade Gay Pride Parade, and the anti-gay graffiti seen throughout the city these days:
“I say what I believe—maybe I was raised patriarchal—but sexual orientation is a personal thing, and I do not know why anyone would have to come out with it in public, regardless of whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. I did not imperil anyone, I am not prohibiting anything, I just said that such an event will cause a reaction from those that destroy the city every several dozen days and I am expressing concern for the participators.”
Goran Miletic, a Serbian blogger, reacted (SRP) to the mayor's statement:
Mayor Đilas didn’t support the parade. Instead of pointing out the actual laws, he did the most risky thing. […] he said that the police would not be able to protect participants after the Parade. In this way he gave ideas and encouraged everyone who is preparing to commit criminal acts. Third, in his statements he gave an alibi to the policemen not to make enough effort to protect participants. If someone like Đilas says that something is unavoidable, why would the policemen try to do that. Fourth, mayor sent word to Belgrade citizens that they are not obliged to express publicly something from their private lives (the European Court for Human Rights confirmed in a few verdicts that the private is inseparable from the public). Fifth, the mayor is worried about buses in which participants will arrive in Belgrade to be eventually destroyed after the event. In this way he clearly informs us the buses are more important than the people. Sixth, since tens of thousands gays came to Belgrade from the Europe during the  Eurovision Song Contest, and for ten days not a single incident was registered, we conclude that foreign gays, who visited Belgrade as tourists, are acceptable for mayor, but that is not the case with Belgrade gays/Serbs.
Here are some of the dozens of comments to this post:
[…] Don't get me wrong, I am not against gay population, the Roma, Albanians… anyone. All are supposed to have the same rights but no more the same just because they belong to some group or community. The basis of democracy is that everyone can use his rights but no one can deprive others of the same rights. Simply, I am allergic to selective struggle for human rights. […]
Sybil replies to g.radicevic:
[…] Why would heterosexuals fight for human rights if they are the majority and their rights are not violated. The rights of minorities are violated and the mirror of a society represents relation towards them. Mayor can think anything at his home but as a public person he must to protect minorities and human rights. […]
drug. clan writes:
The story that minority is always deprived is unavoidable falsehood. That is true in the case of gay population in Serbia but that is not the general truth and cannot be an argument. […]
[…] Is the minority of 3% of the total population which has 80% of world’s treasure deprived because it is a minority?
Adam Weisphaut writes:
Let the LGBT population appraise solo what is best for them because they have to live with social prejudices every day.
Earlier this year, LGBT in Serbia was in the online spotlight, too. On a Facebook page titled “Should the organizing of Gay Pride Parade be supported” the following views were published:
Радивоје wrote on March 18:
I have therapy for them. Gays should be beaten by thick bar over their heads to set person straight.
Illness? Where do you live? If something bothers you, why don’t you simply ignore it?
The illness called “neo-Nazism” and how to treat it is more interesting to me.
Homosexuality is a disease. It is incurable. It’s the saddest in Serbia that homosexuals have more rights than normal people. Our government is preoccupied with issues of homosexuality as our people from Kosovo are hungry. Also, there are many poor citizens in Serbia. Gays and people who fight for human rights have the worst propaganda that this population has rights in the European Union. But they are acceptable in England, the Netherlands and Slovenia only. I don’t know who they are lying to. Homosexuals contributed only to the white plague and AIDS. […]
If the words are about white plague, this country is exclusively guilty of that because it didn’t provide conditions for young people to have their own family. Gay population is not responsible for that.
It’s terrible, guys, where this world is going to. And gays will have right to have sex in the streets. We are really miserable and can’t be more miserable.
On the forum titled “Gay Parade 2009 – Belgrade YES or NO” the following comments were published, among other things:
To forbid. Because they are the repulsive and perverted beast. I’m repeating: the beast… And probably they will be beaten.
For ignorance and stupidity NO, for all others YES.
I think that parade should be allowed. They should let them walk 15-20 meters and then they should be beaten very strongly to forget their own names as well as that they are faggots.
A stake is a cure. Of course NO. When has the straight parade been ever held? Who do we look to for help with our deprived rights? Illness should treated, not protected by laws.
Which human rights? Faggots conceive in order to advertise themselves and poison kids’ brains so that they could abuse them. I’m not against them having sex among themselves, but advertising and poisoning of kids’ brains is too much. Do you see that they took over the Eurosong, only gays, lesbians and transvestites can win. Hooligans, take bars in your hands. Beat the beast! […]