Historic moment as first LGBTQ minister appointed in Serbia

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic has appointed the first openly LGBTI minister in the nation’s history – an exciting moment for Serbian LGBTQ advocates, who have been working with Victory Institute to increase the number of LGBTI officials in the Balkans. Ana Brnabic, an openly lesbian woman, was chosen by the prime minister to be the next Minister of Public Administration.
“She is not hiding [her sexual orientation], she speaks about it proudly,” Vucic said in a press conference, adding that he is only interested in how “professional” and “hardworking” Brnabic is.
The move comes at a crucial point for Serbia, as it pledges to improve protections for LGBTI people and other minority groups as part of its bid to join the European Union.
“The appointment of Brnabic is a historic moment for LGBTIQ people in Serbia and the Balkans, and will help us move towards equal opportunities for everyone,” said Jelena Vasiljević, Program Coordinator for the lesbian human rights organization LABRIS, in an email to Victory Institute. “This is a step forward in creating more spaces for political participation of LGBTQ people and will encourage other parties to include LGBTQ people in their office.”
LABRIS is one of several Balkan partners Victory Institute is working with to train LGBTQ activists to run for political office and advance LGBTI rights. In 2015, Victory Institute organized a regional conference in Belgrade, Serbia on LGBTI political participation, which was attended by 130 participants from 17 countries.
“This is a very welcome step toward increasing representation of LGBTI people in the Balkans, and we commend the Serbian Prime Minister and the Serbian Progressive Party for this appointment,” said Luis Abolafia Anguita, Director of International Programs at Victory Institute. “We know more LGBTI representation leads to advancing rights for all LGBTI people.”

Appointees, International