The Slovenia Times

Marching for a More Tolerant Society



A week of cultural events for Ljubljana Pride culminated in the march of around 300 people whose banners, flags, balloons and whistles all helped protest against intolerance towards homosexuals in Slovenian society. Among the prominent political figures joining the march were Interior Minister Katarina Kresal, who donned an official parade t-shirt; Ljubljana mayor Zoran Janković; and Pavel Gantar, President of the National Assembly.

The event coincided with hearings in the National Assembly on the new Family Code which, if passed, will put homosexual and heterosexual couples on equal terms and allow the former to legally adopt children.

Intolerance denounced

The parade was once again marred by acts of violence in the days leading up to it. Cafe Open - a Ljubljana bar popular with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community - was twice attacked with Molotov cocktails and vandalised with hate graffiti.

The second attack occurred exactly a year after the brutal assault on prominent gay activist and journalist Mitja Blažič. The perpetrators of the attack on Blažič were sentenced to 18 months in prison, but the story has not ended there. Hate graffiti recently appeared also on the house of the judge who presided over the case - who just happens to be the wife of Minister of Justice Aleš Zalar.

The recent acts of violence have been criticised by a number of prominent political figures. President Dr Danilo Turk condemned the attacks on Cafe Open, making it perfectly clear that any kind of violence is unacceptable, particularly when targeted at members of a different race, nationality, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

Mayor Janković, one of the two honorary sponsors of the 2010 parade, stated that no one had the right to express disagreement in a violent manner and questioned whether anyone had the right to put limits on love. Gantar despaired that today's society is less tolerant than that of the 1980s and both he and the Mayor called for tolerance and solidarity and urged that the new Family Code be passed.

"Enough waiting!"

This was the tenth annual Ljubljana Pride event and so little wonder that the slogan of this year's event was "Enough waiting!" The slogan was designed to signify the more than two-decade-long fight by the LGBT community for equal treatment.

In the words of Mitja Blažič: "The Slovenian gay and lesbian community demands equality. 26 years of having to wait for something that should already be the case is more than enough. We are against any kind of violence and aspire towards a society of acceptance, equal opportunities and compliance with Article 14 of the Slovenian Constitution which states that we are all equal before the Law".

It is an assertion which has gained widespread support from outside the LGBT community as well as from within it.

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