ISSN 2330-717X

Bosnia Capital To Host First Pride Parade


By Mladen Lakic

Bosnia is one of the few countries in the region that has never hosted a Pride parade – but gay rights activists say that milestone will be finally crossed this September.

Bosnian human rights activists announced on Monday that Bosnia’s first-ever Pride Parade will take place in September in the capital, Sarajevo, and will gather members of the LGBTI community from all over the country.

“Bosnia is finally getting its Pride Parade, which will be held on September 8,” the Sarajevo Open Centre, a non-government organisation with a focus on LGBTI rights told a press conference in Sarajevo.

It explained that 15 members of various organizations will be in charge of Bosnia’s first Pride Parade, without adding any other details.

While most parties in the socially conservative Balkan country remained silent, the Bosnian Croat leader broke ranks to say he was all in favour of it.

“I am a supporter of absolutely all diversity, it is a personal matter. Everyone thinks differently and that is to be appreciated; that is diversity,” Dragan Covic, head of the main Croat party, the Croatian Democratic Union in Bosnia, HDZ BiH, said on Monday.

Bosnia and Herzegovina lags behind the region in tolerance for gay rights. Being gay remained a crime until 1998 and no public Pride events have taken place before now due to security concerns.

Past attempts to organise public LGBT events ended in chaos – and violence.

When the community in Sarajevo tried to organise the first public, four-day cultural festival in September 2008, hoodlums wrecked it on the first day.

But attitudes in the region are changing. Pride events have become more routine and less controversial in the neighbouring former Yugoslav republics of Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro in recent years. Socially conservative, mainly Muslim Kosovo held its first Pride march in October 2017 – which President Hashim Thaci himself attended.

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The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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