Serbian president nominates first openly lesbian prime minister

Last week, Serbia’s president nominated Ana Brnabic as Prime Minister. If she is approved by parliament, she will become the country’s first openly lesbian Prime Minister.

Since August 2016, Brnabic has served as the Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government of Serbia, becoming the first woman and first openly-LGBTQ politician to occupy this office in Serbia.

Many nationalists and conservatives oppose Brnabic’s appointment, as Serbia has a poor track record for supporting the rights of LGBTQ persons. Many members of the LGBTQ community face discrimination, harassment and violence on a daily basis, and they are not afforded equal human rights such as the right to marry and the right to adopt children.

In an effort to move closer to European Union membership, President Aleksandar Vučić has promised to improve the human rights situation for LGBTQ citizens. The nomination is pending formal approval by Serbia’s parliament some time this week, and Brnabic’s approval would mark the first time that a woman, and an openly LGBTQ person, has held the office of Prime Minister in the country.

“If elected in parliament, I will run the government with dedication and responsibility and I will do my job honestly and with love,” Brnabic tells a local news agency.

Over the past five years, Victory and our Serbian partner organization, Labris, have worked hard to train LGBTQ leaders in political participation. Although Brnabic has traditionally been quiet on LGBTQ issues, we hope that this appointment is a positive step toward increased political inclusion and civic engagement of LGBTQ persons in Serbia, as well as an encouragement to political parties to open spaces to the LGBTQ community for participation.