LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

We vote too!

Creating Opportunities

Stefan Sparavalo, Media&Public Relations Coordinator of Da Se Zna!

We find political participation of LGBT+ people (as well as representation of our community within political parties and their programs) of utter importance for the overall advancement of the position of LGBT+ community in one society.

In this regard, the Da se zna! association launched a campaign last year during presidential elections in Serbia. „We vote too!“ aimed to gather important questions concerning LGBT+ community from political actors – then presidential candidates.

In the very first election we tackled last year, we realised how politicians are not so open for any sort of civic initiatives in general, let alone when they concern LGBT+ issues.

As we knew that the local elections for Belgrade were approaching, we wanted to continue our campaign and reach out to local MPs, but as well to discern with the LGBT+ community what the relevant questions are for candidates who are running for decisionmaker positions.

With the idea of realising more activities and aiming for a more thorough approach (as we implemented first „We vote too!“ campaign without any financial means), we reached out to ILGA-Europe and the Creating Opportunities programme, seeking funds for our campaign.

The main goal of ours was to come up with a report containing the views and standpoints of political parties and electoral lists running for local Belgrade Assembly, as well ones of LGBT+ community as part of the local electorate.

During the pre-election campaign, we also held a debate with the electoral lists representatives who expressed interest in our platform and showed affirmative attitudes towards human rights of LGBT+ people to certain extent.

You can see this debate on our Youtube channel.

Answers from electoral lists have provided us with interesting information:

  • 4 out of 9 electoral lists have LGBT+ candidates that are out
  • 7 out of 9 lists see political participation of LGBT+ people in local authorities as essential
  • whilst 8 of 9 believe City of Belgrade should allocate certain financial means for projects regarding the advancement of LGBT+ rights.

Albeit these responses seem to be quite encouraging, we are particularly worried that our questionnaires were ignored by ruling parties, especially by the biggest party in Serbian and most dominant one within the national political spectrum – Serbian Progressive Party. This is the second time the questionnaire is being ignored by this party, as we were trying as well to reach out to them during presidential elections last year.

According to our online questionnaire, we found out:

  • that over 75% of the LGBT+ community members intends to cast a vote,
  • whilst over 90% of them consider the attitude of electoral lists on LGBT+ rights. 77% of community members sees as important that outed LGBT+ community members are being on the electoral lists.

The„Da se zna!“ team might say we are eagerly waiting for the new elections – in flawed democracy as Serbian is we are definitely not lacking them.

We hope that this campaign will serve as an introduction for more thorough cooperation with the political parties and political actors.

We are as well happy that ILGA-Europe has seen our project as an essential LGBT+ local initiative.

It is important that we, as LGBT+ community members, indeed vote too!