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Protection Based on Sexual Orientation and/or Gender Identity in LawsEdit
Since 2003, regarding hate speech in media, there is a ban against discrimination based on sexual orientation. It was introduced in the Information Law. Additionally, the same ban existed previously in the Radio Emitters Law, adopted 2002. Unfortunately, these laws are not obeyed, and Radio Emitters Agency, an independent governmental agency that should force those bans on registered emitters, hasn't done anything so far, regardless of LGBT NGOs demands.
In 2005, through a change in the Labor Law, discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment was put out of legality. However, there are no public records that this ban was used for prosecutions so far.
Recognition of same-sex couplesEdit
While same-sex couples have never been recognized by law, the new Serbian constitution, adopted in November 2006, has an outright ban on same-sex marriages and other forms of recognition, such as domestic partnerships, civil unions, etc. The measure consists of defining a recognized and accepted relationship as only as one between a male and a female, thus limiting any same-sex couple rights.
Male homosexuality in Serbia was banned by law since 1977, but there are no records that law was ever applied. Laws never addressed female homosexuality, mostly because of lawmakers’ negligence on the topic.
In 1978, male homosexuality became legal in Vojvodina, the northern province of Serbia, when Serbian provinces had a certain degree of law-making power; this move complied with relaxed public opinion on this issue in the province. As of then, homosexuality was in all terms equal with heterosexuality, without any special rights on same-sex marriages, same-sex unions or protection against discrimination. The legalization lasted until 1990, when Vojvodina lost its powers, falling back to the legal system of Serbia, which was forbidding male homosexuality at that time.
Finally, in 1994 male homosexuality became legal in Serbia, with an Age of Consent of eighteen (18) for anal intercourse between males and fourteen (14) for other sexual practices. Then, an equal Age of Consent of fourteen (14) was introduced on January 1, 2006, regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender.
Homosexuals are banned from military service; however proving that an individual is a homosexual is uncommon since the process for doing so is very difficult and embarrassing, with numerous psychological sessions every couple of years. The Serbian army goes by a Don't ask, don't tell policy similar to the one in the United States armed forces.
Development of activismEdit
Development of LGBT rights and culture in Serbia is contributed by LGBT sites such as the oldest Adriatic LGBT Activism mailing list in the region, Gay-Serbia and Queeria which are important online points for organising gay activism, as well as for meeting other gay and gay-tolerant people.
Gay life in the countryEdit
Gays and lesbians continue to face discrimination and harassment in Serbia. The majority of Serbian people display vast anti-gay attitudes. There have been numerous instances of violent gay-bashing, the most extreme during the first Belgrade Gay Pride.
There were two other plans for Pride Day celebration in Serbia, one in Belgrade in 2004 initiated by activists around GSA and another in Novi Sad initiated by LGBT Vojvodina in 2007, but because of low cooperation between activist groups and inability to provide adequate safety against violence due to limited funding, they never made it.
Official medical textbooks that classify homosexuality under "Sexual Deviations and Disorders" are widely used through. After several requests to do so, Serbian Medical Society has finally stated that same-sex orientation is not a disease in official letter to Labris in 2008.
The gay scene is small with clubs proclaiming themselves as LGBT (friendly) opening and closing frequently. As of 2008, Loud & Queer is the only official LGBT club, working in Belgrade. Additionally, few gay and gay-friendly cafes are located in the downtown area of Belgrade and Novi Sad, but their existence is a public secret.
LGBT Organizations in SerbiaEdit
- Lambda, LGBT human rights and queer culture centre (with offices in Niš and Kragujevac)
- LGBT Vojvodina, rights and culture development center of homosexual, bisexual and transsexual/transgender population of Vojvodina
- Labris, lesbian human rights group
- Taboo, group for affirmation of diversity. NGO working in Zrenjanin, Kragujevac and other smaller Serbian towns.
- Gayten LGBT
- Gay-straight Alliance, based in Belgrade
- Koalicija protiv diskriminacije / Coalition Against Discrimination
Summary table Edit
|Equal Age of Consent; since 2006||Yes|
|Anti-discrimination Laws in Employment under Labor Law||Yes|
|Anti-discrimination Laws in the Provision of Goods and Services||No|
|Anti-discrimination Laws in the Media (note: this law is frequently violated with impunity)||Yes|
|Anti-discrimination Laws in all Other Areas (indirect discrimination, hate speech by individuals, others)||No|
|Recognition of Same-sex unions||No|
|Adoption by Same-sex couples||No|
|Gays Allowed to Serve in the Military||No|
|Right to Change Legal Gender||Yes|
|Access to IVF for Lesbians||No|
|MSMs Allowed to Donate Blood (if had an anal intercourse in the last six months)||No|