On the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) points out the need for functional improvement of the mechanisms for protecting the rights of LGBTIQ persons in Montenegro and achieving equality of the LGBTIQ community within society.
Although there is progress in recognizing and respecting the rights of LGBTIQ people in Montenegro, this does not yet result in the full acceptance of LGBTIQ people in Montenegrin society. Our research confirms this through the perceptions and attitudes of citizens. Also, it is particularly worrying that homosexuality continues to be seen as a disease that requires a cure. Nevertheless, the majority of citizens recognize the vulnerability of LGBTIQ people in Montenegro and that they need support in exercising their rights. Stereotypical social framing, discrimination and violence against outed or presumed LGBTIQ, as well as the institutional conditioning of some LGBTIQ people, contribute to the prolongation of stigmatization of this community and their fear of non-acceptance.
This year’s theme of the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia is “Breaking the Silence”. This message is directed to LGBTIQ people, but also to other parts of society whose individuals are responsible for creating a climate of acceptance of LGBTIQ people. Breaking the silence regarding part of one’s own identity in Montenegro is still risky, as the research warns that Montenegrin society is divided when it comes to support of LGBTIQ rights. Our citizens would be more inclined to accept a friend or acquaintance of homosexual orientation than their child. But this year’s focus is supported by the majority of Montenegrin citizens assessing that public scientific discussions on topics and problems related to LGBTIQ would be useful for understanding and accepting members of this community, a positive trend in overcoming stereotypes when it comes to practical choices as well as the huge growth of those who express positive attitudes towards teaching LGBTIQ rights from scientifically based perspective in the schools. All this should be aimed at creating a favorable climate for fostering respect for the rights of LGBTIQ people and their full respect and acceptance.
It should be reminded that the Parliament of Montenegro in 2019 failed the exam of understanding the importance of equal treatment of all of its citizens. This refers to the Law on Life Partnership of Persons of the Same-Sex which failed to break beyond the political calculations of some MPs. We hope that 2020 will be an opportunity for a correctional exam and correcting this injustice as it is one of the most important laws for the LGBTIQ community in Montenegro. The crisis in all fields, which COVID-19 still keeps active, is a warning for all omissions and cases of discrimination against LGBTIQ people due to inability to access necessary medical means and support mechanisms, but also exposure to violence in unacceptable primary social groups, i.e. families.
The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) was established in 2004 to address the violence and discrimination suffered by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, inter-gender and other people with different sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions and sexual characteristics.
Željka Ćetković, Coordinator of the Active Citizenship programme