Speech by Lejla Huremović, member of the Organising Committee of the first BiH Pride March

Hello everyone, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being with us here today.

Today, more than ever before, we, the lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans, intersex and queer persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, stop being invisible and today, stringer than ever before, we send the message that we will fight for our lives with courage and dignity. For the lives that, as any other lives, cannot be lived within four walls. For the lives free from fear and violence. It is enough!

Our daily life is so much invisible that even our families ignore us. It is often worse when we are visible – we experience violence, are forced to keep silent and not be what we really are, we are being locked in the house or forced out of it, our personal documents are taken from us. In the school or at the university we are not allowed to say who we are and who we love, we may not pursue the rights of LGBTIQ persons because our teachers spread hate publicly. At work, when there is one, we are forced to keep silent about our lives.

If there were no violence, if there were no hate, if our lives were not endangered, I would not be here today and would not have to emphasise our sexual orientation and gender identity; I would rather focus on other problems, unfortunately, abundant in this country and in our daily life. Hence the Pride March! Hence the attention on us and our needs. Because we want to build a society of non-violence, solidarity, support, and community in which no person will have to hide love or limit their life to four walls. In which no person will have to be afraid to report violence, either experienced or witnessed.

We are aware that this first march will not change the world and we are aware that there are many LGBTIQ persons who, even after ends, will not be able to tell the people closest to them who they really are. But we know that this march, this struggle, will give them the strength and hope that change can happen. In the previous five months, we received hundreds of messages from people who are not out and to whom this march means everything.

This march gives us strength and faith that it will start the process of breaking prejudice against us and that things will be better for all of us. We are here, we exist and we are not a threat to anyone. We are a part of society and we have the right to be equal citizens.

Let freedom and love spread! That is our dream! A dream to live free from fear of violence, to live in a society in which we will build our families and homes.

We do have the courage. We do have the courage to fight for our lives. And we will. In the name of love. In the name of peace. In the name of freedom.

Thank you!

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