Author - Nemanja Stijak

Why it is important for me to remember the genocide victims in Srebrenica

Today marks the 24th anniversary of genocide in Srebrenica. In the genocide and the area near Srebrenica, over 8,000 people were systematically(sistemski) shot, whereby people are still looking for thousands of remains. 8372 to be exact…

In Potočari 33 people will be buried today. Among them, the youngest victim was just 16 years old. I hear this information on the TV and catch my breath.

Osman Cvrk was a boy who, on this day 24 years ago, tragically lost his life. I can’t stop my thoughts. I imagine my two younger brothers as Osman. I see them in tears, clothes torn, as they run through the crowd of people and listen to the howling/cries, screams and hissing of the bullets around them. Kepo would cry/be crying for mum, and Luka would be turning around and in that panic calling for my father. I see them blindfolding Luka, tying his hands and shooting him in the head. He falls into some bloody and muddy pit, in a pit from which his body would be dragged up only after 24 years. Every part of my body and gut hurts.

Today, I love Osman. I love him as I love my Luka and Kepo. His family is in Potočari today living my greatest fear.

Bosnian Serb forces killed over 7,000 Muslim men and boys in July 1995 in Srebrenica. This must not be forgotten. This kind of information should not be taken (in) silently. By admitting the crime, we don’t admit the killing, we judge the people who did. They are not us. I am not them. We have to do absolutely everything that is within our power not to let something like this happen. I have to. For Luka, Kepo and for Osman.

Prime Minister of Serbia did not go to Srebrenica to pay respect to the innocent victims today. Why? She says no one invited her. If there is any humanity in those people that are representing our country, may they at least light a candle tonight.

Author: Stefana Bojović

Solidarity with the LGBT+ community in Turkey

Pride parade in Istanbul has been banned the fifth year in a row, and a peaceful gathering on the 30th of June near Taksim square was followed by excessive use of force by the police, firing rubber bullets and tear gas.

This kind of behaviour towards the LGBT+ community is part of everyday life in Erdogan’s Turkey.

Based on the arguable article of the Criminal Law which bans “acts against public morale”, in Turkey there is a long-standing practice of banning any kind of public events relating to LGBT+ rights. Ankara, the capital of Turkey has even publicly banned any public event relating to LGBT+ community, and this case is currently standing in front of the Constitutional Court.

State of emergency introduced after the Coup d'état lasted for two years and was used as a means of holding Erdogan’s power, seeing as permission/power given to the executive government violates human rights in the harshest way possible.

During the rule/government of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (JDP), LGBT+ people were called all kinds of heinous and derogative names, and by the highest government officials. Thus, representative of this party Ismet Uçma stated there are ways he can prevent homosexuality, Akit, newspaper close to the ruling party has marked LGBT+ activists in Turkey as perverts, which Constitutional Court of Turkey didn’t recognise as hate speech, but rather freedom of speech. This was followed by a distribution of flyers about how homosexuality can be “cured” in some of the larger cities of Turkey.

Trans community in Turkey is in an especially bad position, and in 2018 there were at least four cases of homicides of trans women.  Sexual orientation nor gender identity are not recognised in the Criminal Law.

Belgrade Pride in this way, along with the below mentioned organisations, expresses solidarity with the LGBT+ community in Turkey! In Pride Info Centre we have organised an event of collecting messages of support to the LGBT+ people in Turkey and on this occasion have presented them to the ambassador of Turkey in Belgrade.

LGBT+ activists from Turkey are our allies and regular guests on Belgrade Pride parade and we will have the honour to welcome them again his September and hear them from the stage.

We also call upon Ana Brnabić as the present of the government of Republic of Serbia and as a lesbian express solidarity with the LGBT+ community in Turkey and condemn this kind of behaviour towards the LGBT+ citizens.

Belgrade Pride - Da se Zna! - Youth Initiative for Human Rights - Hartefact Group - IZAĐI - Geten - Women in black - International Global Centre Kragujevac – Stablo Kragujevac – Rainbow association – SOS women’s centre Novi Sad – Consultation for lesbians Labris – Institute for European Affairs – Committee for human rights Nis

Our Borka

There are not a lot of intellectuals in Serbia who have uncompromisingly and clearly supported the LGBT+ community in Serbia for such a long time. In that small constellation Borka was always a star. To be of different sexual orientation or gender identity for her was never a question, but deprivation of human rights or discrimination based on sexuality or some other personal trait had always made her sad. She would always meet and present me with a new idea or an idea that was presented to her. She would think of ways it could be realised, but in spite of her will to put all the resources of the Centre for Cultural Decontamination at our disposal, the problem was in the donors, government authorities or simply society that never wanted those who are different. I got the impression that as time went by her desire to do as much as she could and contribute grew as well.

Borka was someone who you could always count on. That was proven numerous times through a decade of organising Belgrade Pride. Whenever it was tough, we could count on Borka and CCD. The exhibition “Ecce Homo” and everything that happened around it is very known to the public. Borka had no dilemma over setting up the exhibition for which we were getting threats, even though another exhibition was set up in the Centre. Her solidarity speech on the opening of the exhibition that night was fortunately saved and was broadcasted several times yesterday on some TV stations. It is shown from those couple of minutes how she couldn’t understand the different treatment of human beings because of their identity, personal traits or opinions and how much freedom of speech for her was the foundation of everything.

From Borka we all could learn that words are not enough and that there is always something that can be done. She always knew how to help with the means she had, and provide the rest with a great dose of creativity. “We can think of everything, but the technician down there we have to pay” - she used to say. She was a woman with clear principles, always ready to help the LGBT+ community and to lend the CCD for Pride week whenever we needed it. She was selfless and for that she will always stay ours.

Our Borka. 

Autor: Goran Miletić

“Every society in which progress has been made in respecting human rights of the LGBT+ population had to go through a long and painful process of raising the visibility of this community. In that sense Serbia is no exception. Violence and discrimination won’t stop if we stay silent between four walls.”

Half century of Stonewall – how have we decided to become proud?

LGBT+ people have always existed. Literature and art are the first evidence of this. Even theology – since same-sex relationships are described in several sacred books of almost all major religions today. Some sacred books, such as the Talmud, testify to the existence of intersex and gender- people.

Homoeroticism of ancient Hellas, the Indian Hijra, the bardash of the old Maya, the emotional and sexual attachment of the older and more experienced samurais to the newcomers  known as the Nanshoku... Open the atlas of the world, put your finger on any point – whatever the land you’ve chosen, there are certainly records of LGBT+ people from a peculiar period of history.

But the LGBT+ movement is still quite young. So young, that it is not even a hundred years old, if we take for the birth moment of LGBT+ movement the Society for Human Rights, by Henry Gerber, the first gay organisation founded in 1924 in the United States. On this occasion let’s also mention the Harshfield Institute for Sexual Research (1919), when the first operation of gender adjustment was done, the communist gay association Matashima Society from 1950 by a left-wing activist Harry Hay, and Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian association founded five years later.

However, this was not a LGBT+ movement in the sense that we know it today. Although the historical significance of these associations cannot be disputed, a series of events in an unsightly New York pub will mark a milestone in the fight for LGBT+ rights. 

Let’s try to summarise the events of the end of June 1969 in a few sentences. Gay bars in the sixties were the refuge for LGBT+ people and basically the only safe area where they could be what they really were. In 1966, alcohol beverages in gay bars were banned. Many did not obey this, so they were hiding it under the bar or in a separate room. Police raids were frequent, but many bars, including Stonewall, bribed police officers to report to them when the police officers would come in, in order to clean up the “crime scene” as fast as possible. 

In June 1969, there was no notice in Stonewall drinkery. Over two hundred people were in the bar at that moment. The music went off and the arrest began. Female police officers were arresting trans women and drag queens, took them to  the toilet to “check” them and see if there was a basis for the punishment – since under the then laws of New York it was forbidden to wear completely the clothes of a so called “opposite” sex. At the point when they put cuffs on one woman and started pushing her to the police station – she called the audience – Why aren’t you doing anything? People present said that the revolution began just then.

The detainees ripped off the police, set off to hunt for the police cars to swing them. Some from the crowd were revolted by the fact that the police obviously had not taken its toll this time, and started shooting policemen with coins and cans of beer. First night, the policemen were surrounded and severely stamped, to the extent that the New York gendarmerie, so-called control of restlessness, had to intervene.

In the fight, two drag queens and trans women were particularly prominent. Sylvia Rivera, one of the pioneers of modern LGBT+ activism, drove a mass that lit the waste to chase away the police, while Marsha Johnson threw the first stone on the police cars, bumping into pieces. On the second evening, thousands of people gathered. In the following year a walk was held in memory of all the injured, arrested and unjustly beaten. It was the first Pride Parade. The first major, and today’s most significant LGBT+ organisations – GLAAD, Gay Liberation Front (today’s Human Rights Campaign), PFLAG...

Many say – Stonewall rebels represent the birth of LGBT+ movement. It would be really unfair to Harry Lee, Del Martin and Philippe Lyon, towards all the brave activists before the sixties.

After the Stonewall rebellion, the LGBT+ movement actually got off. The movement walked out of magazines, bars, small offices, out of the four walls. These were the battles that had reached millions of people, encouraging thousands to come out, in every possible way; to come out, say who they love, who they are, and not to hide it.

At that moment we really decided to become proud. Not because sexual orientation and gender identity are praiseworthy as such, but proud because we decided to reject the long-lasting shame and stigma that made us, and still does, go inside the four walls, far out of the public eye.

In the end, let’s go back to March and Sylvia. Let’s go back, because it should be pointed out that the revolution and the wave of the rebellion were led by two transsexuals, a doll performer, a daughter of Latin American migrants, forced into prostitution from a young age due to terrible poverty.

At the time when the new age of xenophobia and fascism spasms the entire world and unfortunately, not even the members of the LGBT community are immune, let’s not forget that those who were at the very margin of society started or outed the LGBT+ movement.

Author: Stefan Šparavalo

Stefan was born and raised in Belgrade. He is a graduate political scientist by profession, and for more than five years he has been engaged in public relations, marketing and social networks. He also enjoys writing, for which he has been awarded on several occasions. The first step in LGBT+ activism begins with Labris’ trainings on LGBT+ political leadership in 2014. He is now part of the organisation ‘Da Se Zna’, where he works as a media and public relations coordinator.

Autor: Stefan Šparavalo

Stefan je rođen i odrastao u Beogradu. Po struci je diplomirani politikolog, a više od pet godina se bavi odnosima s javnošću, marketingom i društvenim mrežama. Uživa takođe i u pisanju, za šta je u par navrata i nagrađen. Prvi korak u LGBT+ aktivizmu počinje sa Labrisovim treningom o političkom liderstvu LGBT+ osoba 2014. godine. Sada je deo ekipe Da se zna!, gde radi kao koordinator za medije i odnose sa javnošću.   

First Pride in Novi Sad

First pride in Novi Sad was held on 17th May as the finale of the first pride week in the biggest city of Vojvodina. This date was chosen as it is the International day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.

Our group of volunteers from the organisation “Da se zna!” got a chance to participate and help with preparations for this historical event.  We began our journey on Thursday 16th May to Novi Sad. As guests of  the organisation “Izađi", we had a chance to organise our workshop where we presented our work. After a sweet introduction, we made banners and plans for the following day’s pride.

We woke up really early the following day to meet with other volunteers on Republic Square where each of us took their assignments and pride could finally start. 

Big part of the pride was intended for speeches by the organiser of the event Filip Kocevski, Novi Sad's deputy mayor Ljiljana Koković, EU delegate in Serbia Ekmel Čizmeđiolu, Vukašin Gvozdanović from Opens and Aleksandar Savić for Pride Info Centre and “Da se zna!”.

There were no big incidents at the pride but there was an organised group of around ten people that were against the pride. As this was the first pride in Novi Sad, number of people was satisfying.

The successful pride was celebrated with the drag show that was organised by drag performers from Belgrade while Jovijah and Haus of Plastics took care of the music.

I am happy and proud that I was a part of one new pride and that I had the privilege to contribute to our community.

Ana Manojlović Habicht is a young LGBT+ activist and journalist that loves to write. She is a drag performer and comes from Ljubljana. In her free time, she likes to read, hang out with friends and travel (especially Ljubljana-Belgrade). She has been a journalist for a year and a drag performer by the name of Eric Dagger for a few months. Ana likes all kinds of music but poetry has a special place in her heart.

Autor: Ana Manojlović Habicht

Ana Manojlović Habicht je mlada LGBTQ aktivistkinja i novinarka, koja voli da piše,bavi se dregom i Ljubljančanka je u srcu. U svoje slobodno vreme voli da čita, bleji sa prijateljima i da putuje (posebno u relaciji Ljubljana-Beograd). Kao novinarka radi već godinu dana, a kao dreg kralj/kraljica pod imenom Eric Dagger se bavi mesec dana. Voli svu vrstu muzike, ali za poeziju ima posebno mesto u svom srcu.

3rd IDAHOT tournament at Manjež

The organisation “Da se zna!” organised their traditional humanitarian tournament in playing with balls on the eve of the International day against homophobia and transphobia known as “IDAHOT" (IDAHOBIT).

The tournament was held on 19th May at park Manjež while registration fee was 250 rsd or more for every team member. All the money went to the Advisory clinic for LGBT+ people in Božidarac. 

The goal of this event was hanging out, making LGBT+ people stronger and the promotion of healthy life. This year’s tournament is part of a campaign that has a goal to collect the amount of 2500€, while the amount will be doubled by Trag Foundation that supported the campaign. 

We are inviting you, if you can, to support the campaign yourself by donating!

Information needed for payment:

Recipient: Organisation “Da se zna!”, Alekse Nenadovića 18, Beograd

Purpose of payment: Donation

Account number: 205-250398-62, in Komercijalna Bank AD

Payment code: 187

Code for e-banking: 287

You can donate in Pride Info Centre too in Kralja Milana 20.

Advisory Clinic was opened at the end of 2019 and people can schedule their appointment by email [email protected], every Wednesday from 5 to 8pm.

 

Autor: Filip Vulović

A student at the Faculty of Organizational Sciences, activist, part-time coordinator of Pride Info Centre, yin to Jovan's yang; He started engaging in activism as a volunteer for the organisation “Da Se Zna!” and was later voted coordinator of the volunteer group. He is also an activist for Youth Initiative for Human Rights and is interested in transitional justice and improvement of relations among young people in warring states of Western Balkans.