Speech by Branko Ćulibrk, member of the Organising Committee of the first BiH Pride March

Dear friends,

On behalf of the Organising Committee of the first BiH Pride March, I would like to thank you for recognising the importance of today’s march and for taking to the streets of Sarajevo with us in a struggle to win equality for all citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

I have been thinking for a long time about this speech because I feel a huge responsibility and a duty not only towards you present here today, but also all others who live in fear of violence, rejection and discrimination and were not brave enough to protest with us.

We – the lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans, intersex and queer persons struggle for our existence, identity and our love on a daily basis. Our love and our identities are being attacked, rejected, disrespected and beaten by homophobes every day! Unfortunately, our institutions fail to consistently put to practice the existing laws; there is no open institutional support for the human rights of LGBTIQ persons and, by that, they encourage homophobia and allow violence against us. Some institutions stigmatise us, discriminate us, force us to undergo medical treatments, prevent democratic sex education. We still do not have a law on same-sex partnership despite the fact that same-sex couples exist in BiH. Trans persons do not have access to healthcare nor can they change their documents unless they underwent full transition.

This March should be an example of protection of rights of LGBTIQ persons by the institutions and we hope that the protection of our rights will not remain at this, that everyday support in the exercise of rights and freedoms of all LGBTIQ persons will be made possible.

I underline that the right to freedom of expression is one of the fundamental human rights denied to LGBTIQ persons. It is our duty to fight for public spaces and use that fight to bravely speak about our invisibility, and to break the prejudice and stereotypes about us.

As of today, we demand a society in which we jointly resist violence, hate, isolation and homophobia. We demand the implementation of existing laws, as well as the adoption of new ones, which will enable the recognition of same-sex partnerships, regulate the access to healthcare for trans people and allow them to change their gender markers in official documents, and help achieve the equality of LGBTIQ persons in the BiH society.

The safety of every person, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex or queer, and our emotional and moral integrity are prerequisites for a free society based on full respect of human rights, equality and equity of all people and their dignity.

In this moment, we feel a huge responsibility, duty and solidarity to speak about the oppressed in the BiH society, the Roma, persons with disabilities, workers, demobilised soldiers, migrants and refugees, and all others who are in any other way placed on the margins and discriminated against, among whom the LGBTIQ persons who experience multiple discrimination. We use this opportunity to call for more solidarity with and empathy for these population groups.

While we committedly work and strive for the full exercise of all human rights, the state is obliged to provide guarantees of non-discrimination and equality to all its citizens, us included.


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