The Visit of the Delegation of the Global Fund was lead by Mr. Joshua Metcalf-Wallach, portfolio manager of the Fund for projects on prevention of tuberculosis and HIV, in charge for countries of West Balkan that receive support from the Global Fund.
On the meeting that lasted for almost three hours, the team of the Global Fund was introduced to the activities of Q-Club, and expressed a positive attitude about activities of our organization. That was the reason for choosing Q-Club as a part of their visits in the West Balkan region.
During this intensive meeting, representatives of Q-Club introduced the situation about HIV/AIDS in Serbia, functioning of projects supported by the Global Fund, and work of the CCM and some other institutions and organizations involved in the national response to HIV, particularly with the position of people living with HIV in Serbia.
Q-Club has been involved in programmes of the Global Fund and will continue to work their implementation with respect to the significance of the benefit the Global Fund brings to the countries which couldn’t adequately respond to HIV/AIDS challenges on their own.
Q-Club has sent a welcoming letter to the new minister of Health of Republic of Serbia, Ms. Slavica Đukić Dejanović. As we recognise the significance of the Ministry for the position of people living with HIV in Serbia, we wanted to present ourselves in the best possible way to the new Minister. With the letter we sent our wishes for successful and pleasant work as Minister, and presented the key problems of people living with HIV in the healthcare system. The letter in Serbian in PDF can be downloaded here.
After Novi Sad and Niš, carboard LGBT people had their demonstrations on the Republic Square in Belgrade, holding signs like “We don’t ask for special rights”, “Get to know me before you get to hate me”, “I’m proud to be alive”… One of the cardboard people was a police officer crossarmed, watching the “Demonstration of cardboard LGBT people”.
The police forces guarding this event also watched with their arms crossed as there were no incidents during this performance. Activists of the Gay Straight Alliance and the Q-Club are very happy with reactions of citizens of Belgrade, and we think that this action helped develop the dialogue with the citizens to increase the tolerance level towards LGBT people.
This performance is a part of the series of similar activities in cities throughout Serbia and the project “Together for equality of LGBT people” implemented by five organizations: Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), as the principle project applicant, Gay Lesbian Info Center (GLIC), Center for Queer Studies (CKS), Loud and Queer and Q-Club, all of which working on LGBT rights in Serbia in their own way.
This project is a part of the “Calendar of human rights”, implemented by the the Directorate of Human and Minority Rights of the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights.
With the performance “Demonstrations of cardboard LGBT people” on the central square in Niš, our activities on fighting prejudices against LGBT population has continued.
The goal of the action was promotion of the equality principles, and non-violence towards the LGBG population. Among the cardboard people there were two with signs “HIV doesn’t choose sexual orientation” and “Stop prejudice and ignorance”, directed at raising awareness on HIV/AIDS.
Citizens of Niš have massively signed the visitor-book, talked to the activists of the Gay Straight Alliance and the Q-Club, and took the informational brochures. There were no incidents during the performance.
This performance in Novi Sad is a part of the tolerance promotion project “Together for equality of LGBT people”, comprised activities which will be done in cities around Serbia as a part of implemented by five organizations: Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), as the principle project applicant, Gay Lesbian Info Center (GLIC), Center for Queer Studies (CKS), Loud and Queer and Q-Club.
The Public administration and the Security Council of the City of Kragujevac have forbidden the performance “Demonstration of cardboard LGBT people” which is a part of the project “Together for equality of LGBT people”, supported by the Directorate of Human and Minority Rights of the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Directorate of communal services and surveillance of Kragujevac said that the reason for this postponement was request of certain “Movement of Proud People of Kragujevac” to have a rally on the same day. The Security Council had an emergency session, presided by the mayor, Veroljub Stevanovic, concerning security of the City of Kragujevac.
The conclusion of the session was that these two organizations of diametrically opposed agendas and convictions organizing their events on the same place and at the same time would put in risk the “reputation of the City of Kragujevac, as one of the safest cities in Serbia”.
Our action was originally scheduled for one week before. It was postponed due to a lack of a document, which was necessary for the communal inspection, but was never mentioned or requested before the event.
The activists of the Gay Straight Alliance and the Q-Club were in Kragujevac on that day, not knowing about the “procedure issue”. On that occasion a man called “Četnik“, otherwise known to the police, along with two other men, followed our activists. There were also name calling by the sports-fan group “The Red Devils”, along with some intensions to “chase fags all around the city”.
By postponing, and later cancelling the performance, showed that the problem isn’t in the general public, but in the lack of political will to provide basic civil rights and freedoms – problem this project is working to solve. We are convinced that reactions of the citizens of Kragujevac would have been positive, as it was in Novi Sad two weeks earlier.
We hope that similar future human and LGBT rights activities will be accepted with understanding and political support.