Monthly Archives: October 2013

The resolution that the German Greens have adopted at their last congress: For a colourful queer movement in Belgrade, Istanbul, Moscow and Berlin

For a colourful queer movement in Belgrade, Istanbul, Moscow and Berlin
– Equal rights for everyone all over Europe!


In the end of June this year the Istiklal in Istanbul flourished in rainbow colours. More than 60.000 people demonstrated against homophobia and discrimination as well as equal rights. These pictures give us hope that there is movement for queer demands.

However: If in Russia, where a law has been put into place on the 30th June against the propaganda of “non-traditional sexual relations” which already led to massively increasing assaults against homosexual people and societal exclusion. If in Serbia, where the Pride Parade has been banned again and can only take place – if possible at all – under huge police presence and queer activists need to be in fear of physical assault every day. Or if in France, where a big counter movement to the opening of marriage has formed – everywhere it becomes clear: Despite progress in some areas homo- and transphobia are still growing in many parts of Europe.

Photo: mayawitnesses.files.wordpress.com via creative commons

Photo: mayawitnesses.files.wordpress.com via creative commons

Especially the situation in Russia is alarming. Everywhere in the world people went to the streets in order to demonstrate against the law against propaganda of “non-traditional sexual relations”. But also in other countries of the former Sowjet Union the situation is more than worrying. In countries like Ukraine, Moldavia, Armenia and Belarus similar laws are being planned – if they have not been implemented yet. This situation has to change!

BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN have always been fighting for equal rights for Lesbians, Gays, Biand Transsexuals, Transgender, Intersexuals and queer people (LGBTTIQ) in the European Union and in all over Europe. Freedom of sexual orientation and gender identity as well as protection from discrimination are inalienable human rights. We want to raise awareness around these unacceptable ongoings. We are fighting for a Europe where equal rights for all and a life without fear are possible.

One of our most important partners in this struggle are local and international civil society
organisations
. We are concinved that change in society needs to come from the street as well. That is why we are fighting for strong colourful queer movements in Germany and Europe!

Antidiscrimination politics in the EU

The European Union is not pushing enough for progress in the field of antidiscrimination politics anymore. Because of a lack of implementation of antidiscrimination directives in many Member States the EU is no longer an example in this field.

Until today, the antidiscrimination directive has been blocked within the council by some states – led by Germany. This directive is supposed to secure people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation in their everyday life. At the same time it is supposed to give a basis for the legal recognition of multiple discrimination. We still do not have minimum standards in the fields of services and goods, education, health care, and social security related to sexual orientation. There is still no union suit right in the EU. This needs to change!

Post-war societies in the Balkans

Especially when linked to nationalist ideologies homo- and transphobic rhetorics become a threat for security for queer activists very quickly. In 2010 during the attack on the Pride Parade in Belgrade 160 people were harmed – many of them severely. The different churches also play a very problematic role in the reproduction and spreading of homophobic rhetorics and attitudes.

At the same time all states in the South-East of Europe want to join the European Union after the accessions of Slovenia and Croatia. We Greens support this process and see the accession to the EU as the only long-term peace perspective for the region.

A big part of the population of these countries want a societal opening, a strong civil society and secured human and civil rights. They are hoping for positive impulses from the EU. We are in solidarity with these people and fight so that everyone can build their future independent of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Gay parade as a ticket into the EU?”

Still there are strong nationalist movements that try to deepen social conflicts in the society by agitating against Roma and Sinti, LGBTTIQ or other minorities. The Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic made his homophobic and anti-European attitude explicit when he said that he does not care about entering the EU “if the gay parade is the ticket to it”. This attitude is not rare and marginal in the Serbian society.

Photo: The Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic made his homophobic and anti-European attitude explicit when he said that he does not care about entering the EU “if the gay parade is the ticket to it”.

Photo: The Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic made his homophobic and anti-European attitude explicit when he said that he does not care about entering the EU “if the gay parade is the ticket to it”.

In the last year the Pride Parade in Belgrade was banned again – explaining that the security of the participants could not be guaranteed. In Sarajevo in 2008 a queer art festival had to be cancelled after an attack by fundamentalists and also in Croatia demonstrations for equal rights have again and again been under attack – lately the Pride in Split in 2011.

Queer activism is still far too often confronted with intimidation, discrimination and even physical violence. This situation is completely unacceptable. The European Union has to send a clear sign that the commitment to human rights is a pre-condition for successful accession negotiations. In former negotiations with Croatia this has already proven to be possible and things moved inside of the Croatian society. The introduction of a civil partnership law is being discussed in the government now and first steps are being taken against homophobia in schools and universities. Still not everything is perfect.

Most importantly, the EU has to engage more in communication with the society and not only put focus on legal progress. An open communication with the population is especially important when LGBTTIQ are portrayed as scapegoats for a slowing down of negotiation talks. That is why it needs more transparency in accession processes.

Who, if not us…?

Green parties all over Europe have come from different social movements that were very often repressed by state authorities. Especially the Gay and Lesbian movement as well as the women’s rights movement were and still are core for the vision of society that the Greens are pushing for – not only in Germany, but everywhere in Europe and the world.

We are aware that due to former decisions we have a huge responsibility towards countries in the South-East of Europe – especially with regards to peace and human rights. We want to show this awareness through an active support also of LGBTTIQ movements in the region.

Thus, BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN demand and support:

    • The immediate retraction of all misanthropic legislation such as the law against propaganda of “non-traditional sexual relations” that has been put in place since the 30th June in Russia.
    • A special focus on the situation of LGBTTIQ in all negotiations for accession with the EU.
    • The recognition and integration of LGBTTIQ in laws for protection of hate crimes and hate speech.
    • The strengthening of EU programmes supporting civil rights organisations fighting for
      rights of LGBTTIQ.
    • A strong financial fundament for exchange programmes under the umbrella of the EU and the Council of Europe in order to give incentive to create more contact between queer activists and organisations – especially in the youth field.
    • A stronger queer movement Europe- and worldwide supported for example by international queer and human rights organisations such as ILGA, IGLYO and the Eddy-Hirschfeld Foundation.
    • The introduction of an equal marriage for all in Germany.
    • The full implementation of the antidiscrimination directive in professional life – by giving up the blocking of the 5th antidiscrimination directive in the council.
    • More focus on LGBTTIQ issues in the human rights committee of the United Nations.
    • In concrete terms, the BDK is urging the MPs in the German Bundestag to use the existing majority for an opening of marriage in the Bundestag today to undertake this important step.

Labris participating in the conference: New media and art as tools for human rights advocacy

Defenders is organising a five-day working conference in Przno, Montenegro, from the 22 to the 27 October. The conference is entitled “Empowering people – ideas worth spreading“ and will gather human rights activists from Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. The goal of the conference is to increase the participants’ capacities in using new media and technology as well as art in their advocacy work


“We want to truly empower activists in using new media and technology in their work as well as giving them the tools to be more effective. New media and social networks are used everywhere and therefore our advocacy efforts must follow the trend. Art is also a well-known tool for <strong and engage people in a debate. During the conference, the participants will share ideas, create new projects and be given a „communications upgrade“ to create online and offline communities, thus making them part of the human rights advocacy network“, said Goran Miletic, Programme Director for the Western Balkans at Civil Rights Defenders.

Wallpaper-webb

All of the lecturers attending the conference are renowned experts in their field of work. The lecturers are Chris Michael & Ruben Brunsveld from the Swedish Institute for Public Speaking, David Brewer from Media Helping Media and Hedda Krausz Sjögren, playwright and producer of the documentary play “Seven”.

“Empowering people – ideas worth spreading“ working conference is supported by the Swedish Institute and is part of the capacity building efforts undertaken by Civil Rights Defenders. Through intensive training and workshops, 40 activists from the Western Balkans will learn how to use new media, create communication strategies, learn about video production and theatre as well as civic journalism in advocacy. The participants will exchange ideas and create new ones at the conference, which will provide the foundation for future joint efforts and regional partnerships.

The Author and Labris activist Dragoslava Barzut about protest Pride march in Belgrade: The outburst of panic bravery

Ten days before Pride Parade in Belgrade I did an interview with Dragana Vuckovic a member of Pride Parade 2009 organisational board. In that interview she said (without the information about Pride Parade repeated ban, of course) that September is a month of groundhogs


I used Dragana’s view to make a title for the interview in spite everything was not pointing out to that besides even myself knowing that this September is going to be different. I firmly believed about the conclusion of the title and stayed with a feeling of setback when the opposite happened.

by Dragoslava Barzut

by Dragoslava Barzut

Friday, 27 September 2013, Coming home later the planned because of prolonged meetings.
I always stay up late at work. That is how one activist working day looks a like in Belgrade dispite other popular images. Right upon my arrival home there on TV was starting the National Journal. Bit earlier that day, I did (around 4 pm) a transparent for the next day (September 28, 10 am) when the Parade should happen. I was calm with a thought: wake up early, have my coffee and walk together with my partner on Pride Parade.

I was taking off my trousers right in moment (19:17) when the TV news anchor (it’s unbelievable how in moments like this I am able to memorize everything) announced that the Office for security service coordination brought up the decision about peaceful, constitution guaranteed, one year reported and planned assembly ban. Now, four days after I am still with the anxiety feeling, the same one I was with while the TV news anchor was announcing this year, fourth in row the Pride Parade ban.

I felt my apartment with my dog and girlfriend in as the most insecure place ever, while the panic fear was going from smaller to a bigger box, from the apartment to street, then the whole over Belgrade and Serbia, breaking out the matrix, lighting speed and living it behind. After what I returned to myself.

Photo: media.rs via creative commons

Photo: media.rs via creative commons

I found myself in front the TV, with the trousers half on (one leg on the floor the other one in my hand) still in my underpants. I had the feeling of distress, not because of the underpants as my mom would thought but the apartment I live in, the street I pass, the city I love, the passport of the country I hold, the language in which I speak, write and create in, the taxes I pay on my salary every months. Felt embarrassed by the crudeness of the Minister of Internal affairs and the Prime Minister, Ivica Dacic while with the smile on was justifying the Pride Parade ban. He felt embarrassed by me.
I felt embarrassed by him. We all felt embarrassed.

What of my rights are endangered? Right to go out on the street, right to no to be the majority opinion, right to be different. Being of all of this in Serbia is risky, various levels at.

Then, the sms arrived: “Sorry people, we are fucked up. That’s why we are marching tonight. See you in front of the Government building, tonight 11 pm! COME, IT’S ABOUT YOU TOO!”

The phones started ringing, the cab was called and just around 10 pm we have already been down to Resavska street picking up two friends. Slowly, we were passing down Nemanjina street and then right to the Government building. There, some activists have already arrived. We greeted each other without words, only by eyes signals. The outbrust of panic anxiety has turned into the outbrust of panic bravery because everyone looked visibly scared, even myself. Ten minutes before 11 pm we were going up Kneza Milosa street. We could see the police forces hoop formed with an order to put the helmets on. We could hear how they speak via Motorola: “There is more then two hundreds of them here…” and people were constantly joining us. The traffic has been stopped. Non of us knew where we are heading to but we knew the reason why we are walking. The idea to walk inspite the ban and you don’t have to believe me but I felt safer walking in crowd then into my apartment, shortly before.

To us, it was clear that Pride Parade doesn’t happen to the Europe’s demand nor should be allowed because of the Europe, it was our citizens question, our personal question. For us, the problem weren’t the small numbered groups of clerics and facists marching as well the streets of Belgrade with previously announced physical violence against Pride Parade participants.

The main problem was the legitimization of violence against minority group as reasonable behavior. As the other day said Teofil Pancic, the eminent Serbian journalist and columnist: “There’s the certain cynicism about Belgrade Pride Parade. The cynicism of the Serbian Government and the cynicism of the International community supporting the Government like this. Remember always the words of Winston Churchill: ‘For where you don’t live, it’s not your care’. We live here, it’s our care.” said Pancic.

Translated: Radica Hura