Bosnia will make history in September this year when its capital Sarajevo hosts the country’s first ever LGBT+ Pride parade.
The people behind the initiative – Bosnian-Herzegovinian (BiH) Pride March – told the press about their plans, with spokesperson Branko Ćulibrk explaining: “BiH finally gets its Pride March, a protest against inequality and violation of human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, and queer persons. It is a fight against violence and a demand for access to public space equal to that of all other citizens who can organise protests.”
Bosnia is known as being socially conservative but attitudes in the region are beginning to change. Dragan Covic, the head of the Croatian Democratic Union, recently said: “I am a supporter of absolutely all diversity, it is a personal matter. Everyone thinks differently and that is to be appreciated; that is diversity.”
The slogan for the Pride celebration is the phrase “Door, please!” While a commonly heard expression on public transport in Bosnia, it has also come to be used as a reference to opening the ‘closet’ door when people are coming out.
In the past, attempts to organise Pride celebrations in the country have been met with violence. In 2008 and 2014 events organised to support LGBT+ people had to be cancelled when participants were violently attacked by hooligans and radical Islamists. This year, however, the organisers are hopeful for a different reception. Co-organiser, Dajana Bakic, said, “The climate has generally changed and we expect that a large number of citizens will come to show solidarity with us.”
Over the weekend, Dublin Pride became the 100th member of European Pride. The European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA) is a network of European LGBT+ Pride organisations founded in 1992 to to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pride on a pan-European level and to empower and support local and national Pride organisations in their efforts of planning and promoting celebrations and to facilitate networking and skill-sharing among members.
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