Home Human Rights The Balkans – a place where being gay is not acceptable

The Balkans – a place where being gay is not acceptable

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If you live somewhere in the Balkans and you tell your mother, “Mom, you know, you’ll never have grandchildren. I’m gay,” then support is the last thing you can think of. to wait for.

Especially because coming here, to this part of Europe, means you have labeled not only yourself, but all your family, friends and everything you do.

A 36-year-old man from Bosnia, along with all other non-heterosexual people interviewed, spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to attract attention from the local community. Let’s call him Mladen. He has been in a relationship for ten years.

“It took years for my mom and brother to accept that I’m gay. Now I can say we’re okay. She was going shopping with my boyfriend, my brother is kind of a bodyguard every time I threw a gay-friendly party. They both created defensive mechanisms, in one way or another, they became more protective in the face of problems,” he told FairPlanet.

Mladen heads a local non-governmental organization that primarily fights for human rights, but things became more dangerous a few years ago when his activists began to impose the very painful process of confronting the past, two decades after the war that broke out in the former Yugoslavia.

“Until then, there was physical and verbal violence regarding my sexual orientation, but after I started speaking out loudly about the war crimes committed in my hometown by the ethnic group to which I belong, it “It was obviously too much for them,” he recalls.

He was beaten by five men in the middle of his hometown, he was beaten in many cities in the former Yugoslavia where he had attended gay-friendly events, he was spat on in the streets, he also received threats, but His worst experience was graffiti all over his hometown with his full name, with a swastika – the emblem of the German Nazi party and with a derogatory term for homosexual populations.

“Another worrying case was that of the graffiti right in front of my door ‘ubij pedera’ /kill gays/ when the police declared that it was not their responsibility and transferred it to the municipal police; the municipal police said that it was also not within his jurisdiction since it was private property and so on. And usually, when it is clearly hate speech – which is a criminal offense, the police and prosecutor simply avoid labeling it as such, they usually treat it as a violation of public peace and order ” added Mladen.

His mother works in the local municipality where some of her colleagues believe she should be fired because of her son’s sex life.

“If my son was gay, I’m sure I would have lost my job immediately,” one told FairPlanet.

Her boyfriend, who did not give his name, told FairPlanet that he had been assaulted several times and that he regularly reported it to the police and then followed all cases through the court system. Furthermore, he has discovered over the years that police and local authorities generally do their jobs more professionally if numerous national and international human rights organizations are alerted to each case.

“Recently we have reached the stage where the police are very sensitive towards two of us, because they are aware that we would use all legal possibilities to protect our rights. So if someone puts a sticker incriminated on our door, the police search the building from the basement to the roof. I fear that not all LGBT people have benefited from such protection. In the meantime, our organization has become the gathering place for young LGBT people, who are coming in increasing numbers, asking for support, help or simply a place to gather and we believe that things are starting to move forward,” said he declared.

However, there are some terrible personal stories, such as that of a 16-year-old boy who came out to his parents and has since been beaten heavily and permanently. Meanwhile, he met the girl and starts pretending he’s straight, but he still suffers from domestic violence.

“The worst part is that we are completely helpless. He doesn’t want us to intervene, to alert any institution, to speak with his parents, simply nothing, otherwise his parents’ reaction could become even more cruel , so we can’t find a way to help this young man and often this type of pattern leads to suicidal thoughts,” he added.

Mirjana Ćuskić of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, which leads an anti-discrimination campaign for LGBT people in several parts of Bosnia, told FairPlanet that local communities should provide shelters for victims of domestic violence caused by their sexual orientation, but this society is still far, very far away. far from there.

“For example, we had the case of a high school student who was seriously attacked by his classmate because he was gay. We had difficulty preventing the victim from being excluded from school since the relevant authorities reported that the victim was a person who could not have adopted the rules and environment of the school and that is why he should have been absent, not the bully,” she said.

According to non-governmental organizations, LGBT people are mostly discriminated against, stigmatized and raped in the areas of education, health care, media, social services and employment.

“The police generally deny any discrimination by showing their own statistics and no attacks are reported. Working with LGBT communities we realize that they do not report violations to the police due to a lack of trust .LGBT people are not allowed to become blood donors.Transgender people are “Diagnosed with a mental disorder. Does it seem like there is no discrimination? ” added Ćuskić.

Even if the first Gay Pride in the countries of the former Yugoslavia took place in 2001 (Belgrade in Serbia and Ljubljana in Slovenia/), Bosnia still remains the one and only country in the Balkans which has still not achieved organize. There was a first attempt at the beginning of the month, but it failed because the authorities did not authorize it. Instead of marching, the LGBT community organized a sort of rally to raise their voices against violence against LGBT people.

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