The 2020 Bosnian Pride March, which was supposed to take place on Sunday, was cancelled due to the coronavirus epidemic but organisers have, through various activities and a public performance, sent a message demanding laws that would ensure equality for LGBTIQ persons.
"Today, August 23, 2020, the Organizing Committee of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Pride Parade, together with LGBTIQ persons and supporters, says that we cannot continue to wait due to sluggishness of systemic changes. We exist and live in this country and demand laws, protection, security and equality," the Organizing Committee said.
The organisers said they marked the Pride through “a series of alternative activities,” including public performances, to show that the streets of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s cities belong to them as well but that they do not feel free and safe there.
“The Bosnian Pride is not a commercial event but a necessary political protest and an expression of resistance, as are other protests by citizens who are stripped of their rights,” the organisers said.
"In this way, we once again point out all the institutional and legal obstacles that LGBTIQ people face continuously and on a daily basis. Through our actions and the fight for equality, we have encountered serious, unequal problems in accessing public space,” they said.
“Freedom of assembly in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not free, although it is guaranteed by the Constitution,” they stressed, arguing that institutions have a selective approach when it comes to human rights protests. “That is why we believe that amendments to the Law on Public Assembly in the Sarajevo Canton are urgently needed so that the freedom of assembly and the fight for human rights can be enforced in practice equally for all.”
“The LGBTIQ community faces difficulties of violence and fear due to the stigma and discrimination it experiences from the state and society daily. We face the fear of physical and psychological violence, discrimination, hatred, rejection, misunderstanding, sexism, racism, fascism, xenophobia, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia,” said a member of the Organising Committee, Bisera Hodzic.
The organisers also demanded a law on same-sex partnerships which would protect ensure their family rights and regulations regarding transition for transgender persons.