The World Health Organisation removed on May 17, 1990 homosexuality from its list of diseases, confirming the stance of the experts, after the American Psychiatric Association determined that homosexuality itself was not a problem of rationalisation, stability and reliability.
May 17 is marked throughout the world as the International day of the fight against homophobia and transphobia with the aim to raise awareness about the necessity of the fight against discrimination against homo- and transsexuals.
Darko Lukic, professor oftheatrology, spoke about why Sarajevo needs a Pride parade as well as how important mutual respect and understanding is.
He commented on stances often articulated as “I don’t want my child to watch this,” saying that children often watch fathers beat their mothers, relatives violating the law, people around them buying diplomas, poor people often being left to cope by themselves and alcohol and drugs in schoolyards.
“Those children have access to all kinds of porn on their mobile phones. It is weird that those moral preachers are not bothered by the fact that their children are watching that every day. Are they really that insecure regarding their method of raising their children and common sense of their children or do they really think that every child that sees a crime movie becomes a criminal?” Lukic asked.
Every fear derives from some kind of ignorance, he explained as he talked about prejudice.
People are afraid of the unknown, of what is foreign to them. They imagine what it may be like and most of the time imagine it wrong, he said.
“Regardless of whether they are different, whether the Others are different from us in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual … once we become familiar with them and understand them, the fear vanishes,” Lukic explained, adding that then those Others become neighbours, colleagues, dentists.“
Every ignorance fills the holes in knowledge with prejudice and stereotypes,” he said, adding that negative prejudices about homosexuals are that they are always promiscuous, immoral, eccentric and even paedophiles.
”Positive prejudices are equally stupid but less dangerous. Apparently all homosexuals care about esthetics, have an artistic soul and are very kind. None of this is true,” he said. “Homosexuals are just normal people like everyone else and can be good or bad people. Homosexuality is an important part of someone’s identity but it is neither the only nor the number one factor that determines someone's character and behaviour.”
He emphasised that gay and lesbian couples live the same lives as straight couples.
“Those are people who quietly walk among us every day but, according to some, they should not be walking noisily for two hours a year,” Lukic said.
Publicly advocating someone’s rights has nothing to do with education, urban or rural religion, he explained, adding that it simply depends on someone’s character and how someone was raised at home.
“Everybody can choose whether he will help the weak and the vulnerable or whether he will mistreat them,” he said.
Speaking about the resistance to Bosnia’s first Pride that is scheduled for September, Lukic said that such resistance existed everywhere, in New York, Paris, Madrid but 40 years ago.
“Pride is today a cultural event there, a tourist attraction. Over the years, of course, neither did the birth rate drop, nor did the world go down over there, nor did bypassers change. Therefore, over there, it can now be called a parade,” he said.
In the case of Bosnia and other countries in the region, the gathering cannot be called parade.
”Those are peaceful protests for human rights and basic human dignity which are, currently unfortunately jeopardised. The aim is to show once a year that some 10 per cent of the population is being discriminated against and deprived of basic human rights,” Lukic said.
The current outbursts of hatred, anger and aggression best proves the need for such a protest walk, he added.
The first Pride in Zagreb was held 17 years ago and there too conservative politicians and the church were objecting it months ahead. Institutions were inciting hatred and violence among citizens and when the event started, there were more policemen then participants. Still, organised groups threw stones at the protesters and beat them, Lukic remembered.
”I will never forget how we hid and gave first aid to those who tried to run away. Today the Zagreb Pride is a big and peaceful celebration and the whole city is taking part in it. We can say that in Zagreb every important public person is participating or supporting the Pride parade, he said.
Belgrade’s first pride 18 years ago ended in blood.
“Hooligan hordes, incited by priests and right-wing politicians brutally mistreated the participants with exceptional cruelty and destroyed the city. A part of the procession escaped and hid in the Yugoslav Drama Theatre where the actors kept them hidden,” Lukic remembered.
It took nine years for the Belgrade Pride to pass peacefully, but this year, Belgrade is the host of the Euro Pride. That is how things will develop in Sarajevo, Lukic predicted.
For two or three years, conservatives will be announcing the end of the world if Pride is held, encouraging hooligans to scare and mistreat the participants, he said.
”In the fifth year, someone will figure it would be cool to name a bar, a restaurant, a cevapi restaraunt or a pastry shop Pride and retired people will cheer from their windows and wave to celebrities in the crowd. Those first few years we will have to endure and be ready to put up with that pathological hatred and primitive aggression,” Lukic advised.
This is why he is paying deep respect to the organisers and all participants as well as well-intentioned citizens who do not object the event, he said.
He explained that it was not true that countries with monotheistic religions are the only ones resisting Pride parades.
”It is a prejudice to think that religion is backwards, primitive and violent. This kind of titles were earned by just some societies and some religious leaders in disregard to the books they regard as holy, the same books adored by those who put love ahead of hatred and empathy before aggression,” said Lukic, who currently lives in Germany and works on European cultural and educational projects such as Creative Europe and teaches at universities in Germany and Spain.