Bosnia to host its first Gay Pride march in September

Rainbow flag creator, Gilbert Baker. (AFP pic)

SARAJEVO: Sarajevo is to host in September Bosnia’s first Gay Pride parade, organisers said Monday after estimating that the climate in the capital was now suitable for such an event.

In 2008 and 2014 hooligans and radical Islamists attacked participants of queer festivals in Sarajevo that sought to support the homosexual community.

“Bosnia will finally have its Pride March that will be held on September 8 in Sarajevo,” Branko Culibrk, one of the organisers, told a press conference.

“The march will be a manifestation against inequalities and against violation of LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning) peoples’ rights,” he added.

Bosnia’s law in general bans any discrimination but it does not recognise rights for gay couples.

Authorities in the largely conservative country, which aspires to join the European Union, have pledged to improve the issue but the process is stalling.

In 2008 radical Islamists and hooligans opposed to a gay festival in Sarajevo, the country’s first-ever, injured about 10 people, including journalists.

Six years later, hooligans attacked participants of a queer film festival in the city and injured three people in a cinema.

The festival was held later without incidents however.

“Pride marches take place everywhere in the region,” said Dajana Bakic, an organiser of the Sarajevo march.

“This year they will take place for the first time in Macedonia and Bosnia,” she noted.

“The climate has generally changed and we expect that a large number of citizens will come to show solidarity with us.”

Her colleague Lejla Huremovic warned that Bosnia’s LGBTIQ people face “discrimination and daily violence in families, at school, work, faculties and in the street but also within institutions.”