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Report after the Press conference in Media Center Belgrade

Saturday evening 26-27 of September 2015, after the book-reading public event Dragoslava Barzut, a lesbian writer and feminist activist went the nearest café with three other lesbian friends from the lesbian football team. They were relaxed & singing in the small cafe with live music, filled with around 40 people altogether. Around 1am after midnight one guy came in and started to beat one by one of them systematically, screaming and cursing ‘Lesbians Lesbians!’.

Dragoslava Barzut, writer and activist of Labris

Dragoslava Barzut, writer and activist of Labris

As a writer, Labris activist and a lesbian, I feel morally responsible to public condemn the assault on three of my friends and me. I am thinking now of all friends and parents, who are having a hard time at the moment because of my sexual orientation, but today I choose to love myself.

Three of them were injured in this attack, one tooth broken, eye damaged, one fell down on her head, leg damaged. One was hiding behind the fridge. When they were little back to sense, Dragoslava Barzut called in the police and in the mealtime another men came to beat them up, screaming more words against Lesbians. This one had highly aggressive energy and then the waitress, for whom Dragoslava noted is ‘thin and small’, stood in between the raged man and the lesbians to stop him! She then grabbed the lesbians and locked them in the small WC. That’s how the violence stopped. While they were locked the police came and took the notes and brought two of them to the Urgent center for medical check up.

The hypothesis is that the violent men are part of the violence football fun clubbers “Rad” that were already known for homophobic attacks – because during the evening they sang their songs with the live music. Important fact is that Dragoslava Barzut was leading the Campaign Against Homophobia in Sport, and was on this same place in Belgrade Press Center last year talking about it.

On the press conference the lawyer from YUCOM organisation said they will file a case using the law on hate crime, that was passed in Serbia in 2012, but there is not one verdict using it.

After the press conference today, with small number of media and about twenty activists of lesbian, gay, trans and queer community from Belgrade, some of us lesbians were commenting that this is first so cruel physical attack on lesbians in the public space in this country. Beating lesbians=women in public is not gentlemanlike, usually the violent men beat men. But analyzing the many comments on social media lesbians came to conclusion that the modern criminal men understand that lesbians are not (classic) women (!!) so they beat us more then ever before

​! What would Monique Wittig say about it? (“Lesbians are not women “)

At the end of very emotional speech in the Press conference in Belgrade today, Dragoslava Barzut said:

“As a writer, activist of Labris and a Lesbian I think now of all my friends and family members who are suffering because of my sexual orientation, but I choose to love myself today. I feel moral responsibility to condemn the lesbophobic attack on my friends and me.”

​​The press conference ended in long applause of solidarity from the lesbian gay trans and queer community for the four brave lesbians who had to endure the violence for all of us who could have been on their place, to thank them for their courage, fear and visions that are ours ​​​too.

Lepa Mlađenović

Meeting With Commissioner for Protection of Equality

A meeting between representatives of the Coalition Against Discrimination and the Coalition For Access to Justice, on one side, and Brankica Janković, Commissioner for Protection of Equality, on the other, was held August 25th, 2015, in the premises of the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC)

Representatives of these two Coalitions presented their work in the area of the fight against discrimination. The Commissioner informed the representatives of the civil society about the Commissioner’s plans for the forthcoming period. During the meeting, the participants discussed future modes of cooperation between this institution and the two coalitions, focusing on the need to organize public hearings in the National Assembly, during which they would draw the attention of the institutions and the general public to the specific problems of the groups discriminated against in Serbia, and offer solutions for overcoming systemic problems relating to discrimination.

Jelena Vidic from Gayten, Zorica Mrsevic and Jovanka Todorovic (Labris)

Jelena Vidic from Gayten, Zorica Mrsevic and Jovanka Todorovic (Labris)

Representatives of the Centre for Advanced Legal Studies, Civil Rights Defenders, Praxis, the Regional Minority Centre, Labris (the Organization for Lesbian Human Rights), Gayten LGBT, the Association of Disabled Students, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, CHRIS (the network of Committees for Human Rights in Serbia) and the HLC attended the meeting.

The Coalition for Access to Justice comprises the Center for Advanced Legal Studies, Civil Rights Defenders, CHRIS (the Network of Committees for Human Rights in Serbia), the Humanitarian Law Center, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, the Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina, the Sandžak Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms, NUNS and Praxis.

The Coalition Against Discrimination comprises the Centre for Advanced Legal Studies, Civil Rights Defenders, Labris (the Organization for Lesbian Human Rights), CHRIS (the Network of Committees for Human Rights in Serbia), the Association of Disabled Students, Gayten LGBT, PRAXIS and the Regional Minority Centre.

Jovanka Todorovic, presented current and future activities of Labris. She pointed out the importance of legal regulation of same-sex partnerships in Serbia and reiterated the need for urgent adoption of the Model of the law about registered same-sex partnerships.

13th Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade Under Brutal Police Violence

Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week completed its 23rd edition last Sunday. The Pride Parade which has been annually held since its first edition in 2003 is the final celebration of a week long pride week inIstanbul. This year, the 13th LGBTI Pride Parade was attacked bypolice forces at the command of the Governorate of Istanbul

The ever since peaceful and colorful march of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Trans*, Intersex, and their allies was brutally attacked by the police forces using tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets, and allowing violent Islamo-fascist groups with bats, knives, etc. to scare off Pride participants. The command was given by the Governorate of Istanbul who arbitrarily banned the Pride Parade at the very last moment without even informing the organizers. The reason brought into agenda is Ramadan.


The Islamo-fascist newspapers such as Yeni Akit, Vahdet, Milat, and a couple of wider mainstream media organs such as Star, Sabah, etc have been publishing a series of targeting, hate motivatedarticles and news about the Pride Parade and LGBTI organizations, activists as “perverts”, “deviated people”, “honor-less act in Ramadan”, etc.

The police attack started at around 16:30 (half an hour before the parade should have been taking place). The heavy use of water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets even inside of the places where participants wanted to secure themselves, caused several injuries. The police attack continued at night during the Pride Week Closure Party in The Mekan. Many people inside the arena were heavily effected by the intense tear gas thrown inside through the terrace.

LGBTI organizations and LGBTI Pride Week Committee published a declaration protesting against this unacceptable situation. You may find it in the attached file.

Kaos GL, TIHV (Turkey Human Rights Foundation), and IHD (Human Rights Association) declared their support and offered legal consultancy to every injured participant of the Pride Parade in order to bring all these cases into court to seek justice.

The LGBTI organizations, the Pride Committee, and the activists will have a meeting today in Istanbul at 18:00 to discuss about the situation and how to proceed.

Couple of international allies organizing demos today in front of Turkish Embassies and Consulates (Berlin, Stockholm, etc.), also.

There has also been online hate speech and targeting campaign against some of the participants whose photos are in circulation in the internet. The videos and photos of 3 trans women who protested (or just felt like) being naked are in circulation, yet. There has been some horrible calls from both within the trans community and others to execute these people. The movement is also trying to calm all these aggressions, right now.

News links of international media:

A video by a random citizen where people try to celebrate Pride in side streets escaping from police brutality:

Press Statement By LGBTI Pride Week Committee

Despite opposition, European Parliament votes for LGBTI rights in EU Gender equality strategy

In a landmark vote, the European Parliament has demanded to include LGBTI rights in a future EU gender equality strategy.


The current strategy for equality between women and men runs out at the end of this year. The report voted yesterday, is the Parliament’s input for the gender equality strategy 2016-2020.

Specifically on LGBTI issues, the parliament

  • Asks to ensure the full legal recognition of a person’s preferred gender, which is vital for trans and intersex persons (par. 24) and to work towards full depathologisation of trans identities, including in childhood (par. 55);
  • Demands an inclusive definition of families, including families with LGBT parents in labour and family law (par. 31);
  • Calls on the Commission to tackle prejudice against LGBTI persons in schools (par. 61)
  • Furthermore, the Parliament reiterates its call to adopt a separate strategy on LGBTI rights. It also calls on the Council to adopt a Directive that would outlaw discrimination on the basis of inter alia sexual orientation, in education, social protection and access to goods and services (par. 2).

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, commented: “The message of the Parliament is clear: It is time for the Commission to take leadership on gender equality and LGBTI rights.”

“The attempt by EPP and ECR to delete all LGBTI content shows just how out of touch they have become with today’s society. Thankfully, the Parliament rejected their attempts, and voted in favour of the original report.”

All LGBTI content was threatened by an alternative resolution as well as numerous split and separate votes, demanded by the conservative and right-wing groups EPP and ECR.

Maria Noichl MEP, author of the report and Member of the LGBTI Intergroup, added: “Misogyny, homophobia and transphobia are still widespread in Europe, and there is a lot that the EU still needs to do to make equality a reality.”

“I am very glad that the Parliament affirmed its full commitment to gender equality and LGBTI rights. It is now up to the Commission to ensure that the final strategy reflects this progressive input.”

IDAHOT/B 2015 marked in Belgrade

To mark the International day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia (IDAHOT/B), on Sunday, May 17th, a rainbow flag together with a trans rights flag were dropped from the Ombudsman’s building in Belgrade

In this symbolic way, people of different sexual orientations and gender identities were shown support and attention was drawn to the problems these people have to live with on day to day basis.


Photo: RTS


Besides Gordana Stevanović, Ombudsman’s deputy, members of the Gender equality council were also present, and representatives of Gayten-LGBT and Labris, Milan Đurić and Jovanka Todorović respectively. Afterwards, Ombudsman’s deputy headed to Students’ park to an IDAHOT queer picnic, organized by Gayten-LGBT and Labris, also in order to mark this year’s IDAHOT day.
The event was well attended – it is estimated that around 80 to 90 people came. Flags were put up around the park, there was music and refreshments. The event was guarded by police forces and there were no incidents during, before or after the event.

In Serbia, LGBTQIA people are still not sufficiently and adequately protected, although recently huge steps have been undertaken to protect and improve their position, such as the making of the strategic documents containing actual measures dedicated to the improvement of LGBTQIA people’s lives. Before-mentioned organisations take part in these processes.

The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (also IDAHO, IDAHOT, or IDAHOBiT) is observed on May 17 and aims to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBTQIA rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBTQIA rights work worldwide. IDAHO’s date was chosen to commemorate the decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990.


Coalition Against Discrimination Annual Award Ceremony


Award ceremony of annual prizes to individuals who contributed to development of culture of tolerance and struggle against discrimination in Serbia in 2014 will be held on Tuesday, 21st April 2015 at Media Centre Belgrade (Terazije Street, number 3, I floor), begining with 10:00 hours

The award is assigned by the Coalition Against Discrimination, whose members include Center for Advanced Legal Studies, Civil Rights Defenders, LABRIS-Organisation for lesbian human rights, Network of the Committees for Human Rights in Serbia – CHRIS, The Association of Students with Disabilities, Gayten LGBT, Praxis and Regional Centre for Minorities.

The awards are assigned annually to persons, institutions or organisations with outstanding contribution in defending, advocating and promoting the culture of human rights and equality in Serbia. The awards include five categories: public authorities, civil society, media, business sector and public persona.

The Coalition members agree that, despite a succesful and peaceful Pride 2014, Serbia still has a lot of work ahead in building an open and tolerant society, based on principles of constitutional democracy.

We invite all media, civil society organisations and individuals, especially our award winners from previous years, to join us on the ceremony and make the event more festive.


Remind the Ministry of Education and other relevant institutions of their obligation – Demand them change and exclude discriminatory content against LGBT people in high school textbooks!

Do you know that 9 Biology, Psychology and Medicine high school textbooks contain explicit discriminatory content in 18 places, which are not only related to human rights violations but also are breaches of constitutional and other laws in Serbia?

Log in to make your statement against this discrimination:

Your call of appeal will be directly sent to 30 relevant institutions.

In 2011, within its mandate, Commissioner for the protection of Equality formed the working group for analysis of primary and secondary school curriculums and teaching materials and issued the Recommendations that were sent out to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, to the National Education Council of the Republic of Serbia and to the Department of improving the quality of education in order to remove such discriminatory content from these materials and practices, while promoting tolerance and respect for human rights.

Those Recommendations were never applied!

In accordance with what is stated above and thanks to the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Serbia, Labris initiated a new analysis of the content of these high school textbooks in order to see if there were any changes regarding the discriminatory content.
The analysis was carried out through qualitative content analysis from a sample of 26 textbooks for Psychology, Biology and Medicine, which were used in the 2013/2014 school year.
The Ministry of Education is a signatory of the Strategy and Action Plan for the implementation of strategies for the prevention and protection against discrimination for the period from 2014 to 2018 and are obligated to fulfill the planned activities and changes – which has not been done.



    • It is in violation of the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Serbia
    • The content is not in accordance with facts provided by the science community
    • It supports the stereotypes and prejudices in society towards LGBT people and indirectly encourages violence and discrimination against LGBT people
    • Young LGBT people are in a sensitive period of growing up and are in adolescence. They are often in emotional pain and socially excluded as sick and socially deviant due to such discrimination. Based on indicators from various studies, young people, because of rejection and/or the misunderstandings of the family and society related to their sexual orienation or gender identity, are:

about 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide

about 5.9 times more prone to depression

  • The discrimination causes difficulty in the work of teachers who work in high schools, whose mission is to work on tolerance and respect of differences and the prevention of violence in schools.

Marriage Equality Comes to Slovenia

Today, HRC commended the government of Slovenia for passing legislation that will make it the 21st nation to grant full marriage rights to all of its citizens

“We commend the elected representatives of Slovenia for passing such historic legislation ensuring the nation’s LGBT citizens receive the rights they deserve, and we congratulate the LGBT activists and advocates who helped make this momentous day possible,” said Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global.


Slovenia’s national parliament approved the bill by a vote of 51 to 28. The bill will be sent to President Borut Pahor to sign into law.

Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark,France, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay, as well as England and Wales in the United Kingdom, have marriage equality laws that have gone into effect. In addition, Finland is set to extend full marriage rights to their LGBT citizens in the coming year.

The situation for LGBT people around the world varies widely, as some countries embrace equality, while in others, LGBT people continue to suffer from discrimination, persecution and violence.

  • Same-sex conduct is criminalized in 76 countries
  • In 10 countries same-sex conduct is punishable by death
  • So-called anti-LGBT “propaganda” laws inhibit LGBT advocacy in three countries
  • Same-sex marriage licenses are issued nationwide in 21 countries
  • In 2014 there were over 200 documented reports of transgender people murdered in 28 countries. There continue to be countless undocumented cases of violence against transgender people throughout the world.


Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, apologized to LABRIS – Lesbian Human Rights Organization for discriminatory statements about LGBT persons

Serbian Foreign Minister met with representatives of the organization Labris and the Commissioner for Protection of Equality and apologized for committing acts of discrimination

Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has met on Saturday, February 21, with representatives of Labris, Jovanka Todorovic and Dragana Todorovic, in the Office of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality and apologized for his earlier statements which were qualified by the Commissioner for Protection of Equality, Nevena Petrusic, as discriminatory, upsetting and humiliating. At that time Minister Dacic was the Prime Minister of Serbia.

Photo: Beta

Photo: Beta

Labris representatives have discussed the consequences of discriminatory statements with the Minister Dacic (one of which was that homosexuality is “not normal and not natural”) from September 23, 2013, which he made before the Pride Parade, which was scheduled to take place in Belgrade on September 28, and was ultimately banned for alleged security reasons.
Apart from this, the discussion was focused on everyday problems of LGBT persons, which are, according to numerous surveys, are one of the most discriminated social groups in Serbia.

Minister Dacic has expressed remorse for his statements, agreed with representatives of Labris that discrimination against LGBT persons is unacceptable and expressed willingness to intensify cooperation with Labris in implementing international normative standards for the respect and promotion of human rights of LGBT persons, and in particular in implementing Council of Europe Recommendations.

“I am sorry that my statements sounded as an insult to the LGBT population. I had no intention of offending anyone,” Dacic told media reporters on Saturday, February 21, after the meeting with representatives of Labris.

Together with 14 organizations and 11 individuals, Labris has filed a complaint to the Commissioner for Protection of Equality who ascertained that the dignity of LGBT individuals has been violated, and recommended Minister Dacic to invite a Labris representatives to a meeting.

In 2013 Minister Dacic has said that members of the LGBT population are equal with other citizens and that one should not go to the other extreme and ingratiate oneself with them. “I feel no hatred towards them. I just cannot accept that that is normal, because that is not natural,” Dacic said, posing the question: “Should I become gay so that this be pro-European?”
This is the first time since the adoption of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination in 2009, that the perpetrator of discrimination met with the complainant, which is a big step forward towards the development of a culture of dialogue and respect for human rights in Serbia.

Lithuanian MP Warns LGBT* Human Rights Defenders about “Massacre [as] in Paris”

On January 18th, 2015 the Member of the Lithuanian Parliament Algirdas Vaclovas Patackas publicly warned the Board Chair of the national LGBT* human rights association LGL that the organization is “playing with fire” and that its activities might result in a “black, repulsive and totally unacceptable response” similar to that which “happened in Paris.” The statement by the MP was issued as a response to the organization’s humour-based suggestion to store 10-litas notes as LGBT* souvenirs

A.-Patackas-356x210In the message, initially published by the right-wing news portal, the MP accused the LGL’s Board Chair Vladimir Simonko of “provocation” that might result in “dead bodies”. “For black, repulsive and totally unacceptable challenge-provocation you might face no less than black, repulsive and totally unacceptable response. Because in Lithuania, as in every land which calls itself Christian, not everyone turns the left cheek; there are many, who believe in the principle “an eye for an eye”, i.e. the main cause of what has happened in Paris” – warned the MP. As a result, the MP Patackas urged the Board Chair of the national LGBT* organization to “cancel the provocation”.

LGL has immediately approached the national law enforcement officials with the request to investigate comprehensively the truthfulness of the alleged threats to the organization. According to the LGL’s Board Chair Vladimir Simonko, the news were highly disturbing. “Despite the fact that this message is directed to me as the head of the organization, all staff members view this message with great unease. If these allegations are real, we place our trust in the national authorities. If this is some sort of a “joke”, I believe that the MP Patackas has very poor sense of humour, which is totally unacceptable in the light of recent tragic events in France,” – said Mr. Simonko. LGL is of the position that in case the MP Patackas has any information about planned attacks against the organization or its staff members, he must share this information with the law enforcement officials immediately.

The MP Patackas is the author of the controversial draft amendment to the Lithuanian Criminal Code, removing criminal liability for homophobic hate speech. The proposed amendment states that the “criticism of sexual behavior or sexual practices, convictions or beliefs, or persuasion to change this behavior, practices, convictions or believes cannot be per se qualified as harassment, humiliation, incitement to hatred, discrimination or incitement to discriminate.” On December 16th, 2014 the draft bill was returned to its drafter for the improvement.

Thereby the translation of the full message by the MP Patackas is provided in English.

“A. Patackas. A warning to citizen Simonko

An announcement appeared in the press that LGBT and his leader, that is Simonko, intends to distribute ten litas banknotes with a playful note that Darius and Girėnas are gay. If two men standing next to each other seem to appear to be gay, there is a name for it – paranoia. „LNK“ television also spoke about this intention in an overly playful, supposedly indignant tone, and mocked exasperated Gražulis, but not the author of this provocation. This piece of news, however is not playful, it threatens with no less miserable consequences as the recent massacre in Paris. Everything there also began in a playful manner but ended with dead bodies, because words hurt like a knife.

Will there be another attempt to “expand the boundaries of freedom of speech“? We say in advance – it will fail. Lithuania is not France where in the Parisian Bastille and the communes the heads of Marie Antoinette and Robespierre Marije were chopped, many priests were killed, nuns were desecrated, and where the secularist state recently revealed its black side. Lithuania was not all that (except Carine and Soviet periods, but the occupants did it). Lithuania has its heroes, noble men to respect by every normal Lithuanian for their deed and especially for their testament for young Lithuania that will remain of eternal value.

This is why citizen Simonko must be warned – stop, it is neither witty nor playful – you are playing with fire. For black, repulsive and totally unacceptable challenge-provocation you might face no less than black, repulsive and totally unacceptable response. Because in Lithuania, as in every land which calls itself Christian, not everyone turns the left cheek; there are many, who believe in the principle “an eye for an eye”, i.e. the main cause of what has happened in Paris. (emphasized by author) And hardly anyone in Lithuania would bear an inscription “I am Simonko“. Fight to satiety for your colored rights – every citizen is entitled for it by democracy – but in a civilized, non-provocative way.

And still, who are you, citizen Simonko, to dare to make fun of a fellow citizen, his sacredness and values? Who taught you and what values were instilled by your family? You live in Lithuania, but you speak Lithuanian with an accent, apparently you first heard of Darius and Girėnas when their images appeared on the litas. But you are a citizen of Lithuania, so you must always act responsibly and civilly.

So, wishing namely citizenship based on common sense, but insisting to cancel the provocation, disrespectfully – the author.”

Source: LGL