23/10/2013 HRA appeal following frequent attacks on members of LGBT community in Montenegro

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23/10/2013 HRA appeal following frequent attacks on members of LGBT community in Montenegro

Human Rights Action (HRA) strongly condemns the frequent attacks on members of LGBT community and their friends, which followed the Pride Parade, held in Podgorica on Sunday, 20 October 2013, and calls for the police and public prosecutors to use all their authority to strictly sanction such a violent, unreasonable and cowardly behaviour.

The latest attacks against LGBT persons by “20 against one” principle prove the already known high level of homophobia in Montenegro and the accompanying cowardice. Since Sunday, the public has been informed about two attacks, while most of these cases do not reach the police because the victims do not report them out of fear that their families and friends will find out about their sexual orientation and reject them. This level of homophobia is unacceptable in a state that seeks to improve the rule of law and equality for all its citizens, and, above all, it is not acceptable in a civilized society of the 21st century.

Therefore, we urge the state authorities to make every effort to identify and strictly punish the perpetrators of these criminal offenses committed out of hatred. We appeal to the citizens of Montenegro – be reasonable, stop the violence in your surroundings, make the effort to accept your fellow citizens as they are, because they are your colleagues, friends and family members. We appeal to parents – teach them on your own example to love and be compassionate, not to hate, and help them become good and brave people, not bullies and cowards. Parents of LGBT persons – your children are living under constant stress that you will reject them if you find out they are different from others. Do not let other people’s opinions be more important than the life and happiness of your children. Protect them and love them unconditionally, because their sexual orientation is not their choice, but an innate characteristic and not the only characteristic of their personality. Do not let the fate of Mary Griffith happen to you. She is just one of many parents who, only after their child had committed suicide, realized what a tragic mistake they made ​​out of fear and ignorance, by rejecting their child because of their sexual orientation. Mary later became a devoted activist for LGBT rights, and a film about her struggle, “Prayers for Bobby”, was made in 2009, based on the book by Leroy F. Aarons.

We also suggest everyone read a short letter of a father to his daughter who threw her son out of the house only because he was gay: http://www.6yka.com/novost/44839/nevjerovatno-pismo-oca-kcerki-nakon-sto-je-izbacila-iz-kuce-svog-gej-sina.

Please think twice before it is too late!

Tea, Milena, Slobodan, Mirjana, Elma, Andrea and Goca

Human Rights Action team