Pride in Sarajevo: how tolerant is Bosnia?
Around 2,000 demonstrators marched for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people in Bosnia and Herzegovina's first Pride parade on the weekend. More than 1,000 police officers were deployed for the event, in the run-up to which many homophobic comments were made. But the parade went off peacefully, much to the delight of the press in the region.
Test passed with flying colours
The first Gay Pride in Bosnia went off very smoothly, Vecernji list comments enthusiastically:
“The Gay Pride in Sarajevo, the last capital in the Balkans to hold its first pride parade, went peacefully despite everything. There was no tear gas, no Nazi salutes or stone-throwing - unlike the first Pride parade in Zagreb 17 years ago. Despite the harsh words on Sarajevo's streets, in the social media and in the press Bosnia has passed its first 'tolerance for difference' test. ... Europe came to Bosnia yesterday and painted it with the colours of the rainbow.”
All Bosnians know what exclusion is like
The Gay Pride parade in Sarajevo speaks volumes not just for the city's LGBTI community, Delo adds:
“Even before Sunday Sarajevo was a tolerant city. And that's what it will remain - unfortunately even towards politicians who have been living from the division of society for the past twenty years. Separation along ethnic and religious lines is the most common kind of division, and so many people in Bosnia and Herzegovina can easily identify with the participants of the Pride parade. Every citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a member of one minority or another, which in the best case is simply overlooked and in the worst oppressed. You don't have to be a member of the gay community in Bosnia to understand how its members are pushed to the fringes of society.”