Ana Brnabic, Serbia's first openly gay
prime minister, on Sunday joined several hundred activists marching
in Belgrade's LGBT Pride parade, becoming the first head of
government in a Balkan country to participate in such an event.
“Serbia respects differences. That
is my message today, that the Serbian government is here for all
citizens and that it will respect the rights of all the citizens,”
Brnabic is quoted as saying by the Independent.
“We want to send a signal that diversity makes our society
stronger, that together we can do more.”
After violence marred Belgrade Pride in
2010, authorities refused to sanction another march for five years.
Amid tight security, which continued on Sunday, the march resumed in
Sunday's march was held without
incident, though it was widely protested.
According to several reports, the
atmosphere this year was more relaxed than in previous years.
Opposition to LGBT rights in Serbia and
other societies in the Balkans remains high. Last week, the head of
the Serbian Orthodox Church compared homosexuality to incest.
While President Aleksandar Vucic
nominated Brnabic for the post, he said this week he had “no
intention” of participating in Sunday's events.
Belgium and Iceland have had openly gay
heads of state, while Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel in 2015
first European Union leader to marry a person of the same sex while
in office. In June, Leo Varadkar made history as Ireland's first
openly gay prime minister.
Trudeau, Irish PM Leo Varadkar march in Montreal's LGBT Pride