It isn’t exactly a gay picnic here


It just so happened that my trip to Belgrade coincided with gay pride week here. But this isn’t like gay pride in New York or other western capitals. The numbers attending events here are quite small, but it is heartening to see some activists take up the cause of equal rights, often at great personal danger to themselves. Serbia is a country with intense anti gay hatred. The gay pride march was supposed to happen today in the center of town, but the government canceled the event citing security issues. The last time a march was permitted was in 2010, and it was marred by intense clashes between quite well organized neo-nazi groups opposed to equality and the police. Serbia is attempting to join the EU, but it will need to respect the rights of LGBT citizens if it wants membership. It was widely expected to allow the march to go ahead and provide police protection, but at the last minute they caved. Fortunately, a smaller group of a few hundred quickly organized gay rights activists spontaneously marched instead last night, without incident.