News that Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic a son was born - her partner Milica Djurdzic became the biological mother - received an inevitable political overtones. Brnabic, who in the summer of 2017 became the first woman and the first open lesbian to take over as prime minister of Serbia (and remains one of the few LGBT politicians of this rank), will have to put up with the fact that her country still does not recognize - and is not even going to recognize - same-sex marriage.
LGBT rights are still a sensitive issue for Serbian society. On the one hand, since the early 2000s, the country has gradually banned all types of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as incitement to hatred. On the other hand, in a country where a significant part of the population adheres to religious and traditionalist views in matters of family and marriage, homophobia and transphobia are still strong. Serbia has banned gay prides for several years in a row, arguing that their holding could lead to outbreaks of violence. In 2014, prides resumed, but under heavy protection.
Article 62 of the current Serbian Constitution states that only the union of a man and a woman is considered marriage. At the same time, not a single law stipulates the so-called civil unions and any form of domestic partnership. In recent years, Serbian politicians have proposed expanding the rights of people in such unions - for example, giving partners the right to visit each other in the hospital. But more often than not, such initiatives come with a proviso: no one is going to change the constitution to legalize gay marriage (a rare exception was the leader of the Social Democrats and former President of Serbia Boris Tadic, who in 2015 supported projects to legalize same-sex marriage and give homosexual parents the right to adopt children).
Therefore, when in June 2017 Aleksandar Vucic, who had recently won a landslide victory in the presidential elections, announced the appointment of Brnabic to the post of Prime Minister of Serbia, his choice surprised many both inside and outside the country. Several public figures in Serbia have expressed open disapproval of Vucic's choice. However, it cannot be said that the newly-made president took a big risk: after the Progressive Party led by him won a majority in parliament, he became the most powerful politician in the country's recent history. Some commentators even believe that Serbia has entered the Vucic era.
There is an opinion that the appointment of an open lesbian to the post of prime minister gave Vucic a trump card in negotiations with the European Union, the course of rapprochement with which became the main point of his foreign policy program proclaimed by him. The Russian official press said that the president had bet on a "pro-Western candidate" who had worked with American consulting for many years and, moreover, does not hide her "unconventional orientation." However, Vucic himself almost did not focus on the sexual preferences of his protégé.
So the more prosaic version looks more plausible. Brnabic, which received its first big appointment only in 2016 (at the suggestion of Vucic, who was then prime minister, she headed the Ministry of State and Local Self-Government), does not belong to any of the Serbian parties, which means that it is convenient as a co-pilot who is not will challenge the leadership of the former.
Brnabic's relationship with the Serbian LGBT community is strained. She prefers to distance herself
from the community
“She is capable and smart, but she will be a weak prime minister,” Balkan observer Milan Nic said immediately after Brnabic was appointed. "Vucic is a strong leader and he just needs someone to run the government for him."“This is not her government - this is the Vucic government, there is no doubt about that,” analyst Dragan Popovic agreed, pointing out the fact that there were quite a few anti-Western ministers among the ministers under Brnabic who migrated from the previous government, the Vucic government. - He kind of plays along with both sides. He says to the West: "See what I'm going to be progressive." And at the same time it sends a signal to Russia so that they do not worry."
Perhaps Brnabich herself, a former business woman who was educated at Northwood University in Michigan and an MBA from the British University of Hull, does not consider herself a puppet politician at all. But in the year and a half that she spent in her current post, she did nothing to refute this opinion - it seems that working "in unison" with the president is more than satisfied with her.
Equally cautious - if not tense - Brnabic's relationship with the Serbian LGBT community. In 2017, she took part in a gay pride held in Belgrade, but more often than not she prefers to distance herself from the community. “I am not their speaker,” Brnabic said immediately after being appointed prime minister, “I don’t want to be called a gay minister, just as my colleagues don’t want to be called heterosexual ministers. I just want to do my job."
The LGBT community is also not happy with Brnabic's work and believes that she pays too little attention to the fight for their rights. Brnabic dismisses the claims of activists, saying that now Serbia has much more pressing social issues, such as education reform and the country's digitalization, which should help the government in the fight against corruption. But her arguments do not convince everyone. “We have only one thing in common - we are both lesbians,” activist Zoya Gudovich said in 2017. However, less demanding analysts believe that the very presence of an open lesbian in power is a rather serious breakthrough for Serbian society. At least because the birth of a child in a same-sex Serbian family turns out to be official news.
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