Montenegro’s First Gay Pride Parade Set for 31 May

Montenegro’s first ever gay pride parade is scheduled for 31 May in Podgorica.  The parade is being organized by members of the web forum Progress, a community of “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people in Montenegro.”

The Montenegrin government is officially supporting the parade and has committed two officials to assist the organization committee. Deputy Prime Minister Dusko Markovic stated that the government’s support of the parade demonstrates its commitment to the European values of tolerance, equality and social inclusion. Montenegro’s chief of police stated that law enforcement authorities will make every effort to ensure the full safety of participants and maintain public order during the rally. In the words of Prime Minister Igor Lukšić:

“Whether we personally accept them or not, whether we personally have one opinion or the other, let that remain our personal thought, but we must face the fact that there are differences in the society, that those issues are a part of the human rights corpus. Let the people take a walk and we will show that we are civilized.”

Ferhat Dinosa, the Minister for Human and Minority Rights, is less optimistic about the event. “The position of that population should be resolved in a way that would not spark a social conflict. We have seen in the region that pride parades do not produce positive things for (gays).”

Zdravko Cimbaljevic, the head of Progress, has claimed that Montenegro has a problem of institutionalized homophobia and that it will not be safe to hold the march because they lack political support.

I believe that Cimbaljevic’s fears are unfounded, but that the best way to prove that is to support the parade.  Both groups must come together to show their support for Montenegro and for all Montenegrins.  Heterosexuals and homosexuals alike must remember that they are all Montenegrins.

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