Belgrade Mayor Aleksandar Sapic should attend EuroPride so he could learn about equality and human rights, European Pride Organizers Associations (EPOA) Board member Steve Taylor told Radio Free Europe (RFE).
Taylor’s reaction came in response to newly elected Belgrade Mayor’s June 1 statement that he would not open the EuroPride event or raise the rainbow flag over city hall, RFE reports.
“Am I happy about this is not important now. What is important is to show that we are a city open to everyone and I hope everything will be in order and that we will fulfill our duty and obligations as the host of this event,” Sapic told the media.
EuroPride 2022 will held in Belgrade on September 12-18. This is a pan-European international LGBTI event featuring a Pride parade, hosted by a different European city each year.
Mayor Sapic said he would be opening the Family Days event next May which will be organized under the auspices of the city authorities. “This will be an event that I will open. This will be an event that I will take part in,” Sapic said.
Taylor described Sapic’s attitude as “a huge missed opportunity” for the transformation of the international perception of both Belgrade and Serbia regarding the way Serbia treats LGBTI persons.
Taylor said that this was the most important European LGBTI event in 2022 for which thousands of LGBTI people will come to Belgrade from the whole of Europe to celebrate the freedoms that they have won so far, but also to point to the areas in which progress is still needed.
I think the Mayor’s decision against taking part is really a step backwards because it will not prevent people from coming or the event from taking place but only send a message that, while Serbia is welcoming EuroPride and Belgrade hosting it, city heads do not understand or honor the freedoms and human rights of LGBTI persons and that is really sad, Taylor said.
Explaining that he is a gay man with a family, Taylor said LGBTI families are now celebrated in many European countries.
The world has not crumbled because we have children with two moms or two dads, he said, adding that we need to accept and celebrate the fact that families come in all shapes.
The fact that Mayor Sapic said he would support the Family Days event instead of Pride shows just how much more he needs to learn. This is why he should come to EuroPride – to learn about equality, human rights and LGBTI families.