First transgender Serbian army veteran celebrates new identity as woman
More than a year after she was sacked from Serbia's army for coming out as transgender, Helena Vukovic has finally received a passport, driving licence, health and ID cards confirming her identity as a woman - a small but important step forward for a deeply conservative country.
LGBT Activists March with Politicians for Belgrade Pride
Serbian politicians joined several hundred LGBT rights supporters on a march through the Serbian capital on Sunday for the Pride Parade, which concluded without any incidents – although many criticised the organisation of the event.
The third Belgrade Pride Parade, which took place under the slogan “Ljubav menjs svet / Love changes the world”, was held on Sunday with several hundred LGBT rights supporters, alongside Serbian politicians, participating in the march through the centre of the Serbian capital.
The group was protected by some 5,000 police officers who had the city centre in lockdown to ensure participants’ safety.
Ahead of a decision by the Romanian Constitutional Court on November 29 on whether gay marriages are constitutional, calls to ban gay marriage by redefining the constitutional definition of the family have gained traction in the general election campaign.
The Senate, the upper house of parliament, which was due to discuss an initiative seeking a redefinition of the notion of family in the constitution on November 7, has now postponed the debate until after the elections on December 11.
''Podrška / Support - Family Value'' - slogan of fourth Montenegro pride
The fourth Montenegro Pride will take place on 17 December in Podgorica. Main theme of the event for this year will be “Support – Family Value”.
The idea of the Organizing Committee behind the slogan, is that lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people face refusal, intolerance and lack of support by their relatives. While the family environment is supposed to be the safest and most inclusive, this is quite often not the case for LGBTI people in Montenegro, as well as in many other parts of the world.
In its statement the Organizing Committee said that: “We believe that the traditional family in Montenegrin society supports all its members regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that rejection, harassment, lack of understanding towards LGBTI people cannot be justified by arguing it is not in line with our traditions”.
Through this pride, organizers want also to draw attention to their own families, which are not yet recognized. At the Pride, they will demand the adoption of an inclusive legislation which recognizes these families.
This year participants will walk for all LGBTI people in Montenegro who are not accepted by their families and thus show them that they are not alone and that they have support.
With us this year will also be parents and relatives of people who have accepted their LGBTI members and have supported them in their efforts to a dignified life.
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EU Progress Reports reveal LGBTI rights situation in the Western Balkans
In November 2016, the European Commission published its annual progress report on countries aspiring to become members of the European Union and which are recognized by the latter as potential candidate countries or candidate countries for membership.
The reports, with a significant difference from those of previous years, cover LGBTI rights and issues more broadly, particularly for candidate countries which are now in negotiation process or are expected to start them soon.
The reports reveal that despite legal advancements in most countries, with the exception of Macedonia and Turkey, LGBTI people continue to face prejudice, discrimination and are targets of homophobic, nationalistic, extremist and other hate groups. Political will continues to remain law all over the region.
The reports have also praised the successful pride events in Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia.
On Albania, the Commission recognized the progress made through the establishment of the National Council for Civil Society which aims to strengthen cooperation between government and CSO’s as well as the enactment of the law on volunteerism by Parliament...
On Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Commission notes that more work is required addressing human rights and minorities’ issues...
On Kosovo, the Commission notes some progress made with the implementation of 2015 package of human rights laws and declarations of support for LGBTI rights...
On Macedonia, the Commission notes that more efforts are needed to ensure the respect of human rights of vulnerable groups...
On Montenegro, the report notes that the country has completed several legislative reforms to further align with EU and international human rights standards, however implementation remains weak...
On Serbia, the report notes that the legislative and institutional framework for observance of international human rights law is in place...
Festive Photo Series Celebrates Albania’s LGBT Community
LGBT couples in Albania posed for BIRN photographer Ivana Dervishi in a special collection of images created under the motto 'holidays belong to all forms of love', aimed at celebrating Albania’s LGBT community as well as the festive season.
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