Sunday, September 20, 2009

A day of Pride anyway

Well, yesterday I told you that the Belgrade Pride March 2009 was cancelled.  But we found a lot of connections today and a lot of pride.  All gatherings were forbidden in Belgrade today and the main square had a huge police presence. We contacted a local lgbt organization this morning and were invited to come to their office.  We did join them and had a fabulous day with them.   The first thing that was most obvious is the youth of the activists.  They are young and passionate and determined.  They were very welcoming of us and we met new friends from Serbia, Greece, Germany, England, Belgium, Russia and probably several other countries.  Although we weren't able to march, we were invited to a reception this afternoon hosted by the Swedish Ambassador at the Swedish Embassy.  We left in groups of three or four by taxi to the embassy.  It was an encouraging show of support.  The ambassador gave a little speech welcoming us and gifted each of us with a t-shirt commemorating Belgrade Pride 2009.  On the back it says in Serbian "it's time for equality".  Here's a photo of the front:

We had an amusing moment shortly after our arrival at the embassy.  Many of the embassy staff were greeting us warmly.  There was a man standing in the garden.  Florin asked him if he worked at the embassy.  The man replied "Yes, I am the head.  I live in this house."  It was the ambassador.   I laughed so much and realized I had another Florin story to add to my repertoire.

We left after we had been there quite a while and set out walking to find a taxi.  We didn't find one and a Serbian man on a bicycle very kindly stopped and called a taxi for us and even waited until the taxi came.  In general we have found the Serbian people to be very warm and friendly.

After a one hour nap, we went out in search of supper.  We found a place in the city center that is favored by students.  Our waitress was a delightful and beautiful young woman.  Florin had flounder in almond sauce that he said was delicious.  I had chicken kabobs over rice.  On my plate was a blob of something I didn't recognize.  It was cold pea puree.  Actually it was quite good.  It has been a treat for me to have so many meals and coffees outside.  The weather has been quite warm.

We then walked to find dessert and coffee and then took a taxi back to our hotel.

It has been a good day.  We made new friends.  Florin was able to make some connections with local groups for further contact and collaboration.  And we felt that Pride was really observed, even if not in the way we had anticipated.

It seems impossible that one week ago today, I received my departure blessing and flew to Eastern Europe.  It has been a full week indeed.


  1. Sounds like , parade or not, the gay community is pushing forward.
    Love the Florin story with the ambassador. What great memmories you are collecting