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Skopje Pride 2024 on June 22: Spectacularly Disobedient!

The fifth annual Skopje Pride parade will be held on June 22 this year under the slogan “Spectacularly Disobedient!”

The National Network Against Homophobia and Transphobia held a press conference today dedicated to this year’s Pride parade. As in previous years, the starting point will be the “Woman Warrior” park, where participants will gather at 5 PM. Following brief opening remarks at 7 PM, the protest march will begin, taking the same route through the streets of Skopje as in past years, culminating in a cultural and musical program at the Army Stadium in the City Park.

We proudly note that the past four Pride parades have proceeded smoothly, with maximum security and no incidents during the parades themselves, except for two incidents that occurred post-parade. The authorities responded promptly to both, with one incident leading to a hate crime prosecution, which we believe is an appropriate response and demonstrates the state’s commitment to protecting the rights of all its citizens.

“We expect the same level of security this year as in previous years. We are currently in a delicate situation as the elections are not officially over due to re-voting in several areas, and the State Election Commission has not yet released the final results. Consequently, we have not yet officially communicated with the Ministry of Interior to begin security preparations for the Pride parade. We will do so once the elections are officially concluded. Nonetheless, I believe the new ruling administration will want to demonstrate that our state has democratic capacities, as the success of a Pride parade is a testament to a country’s democratic strength and the respect its institutions have for the rights of all its citizens, including those who are not in the majority,” said Uranija Pirovska, Executive Director of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights.

This year’s Skopje Pride slogan is “Spectacularly Disobedient!”

“Disobedient because we want to reaffirm our opposition to the patriarchy that has ruled us for centuries. Spectacular as a hallmark of the community itself, and as a celebration of the fifth Pride anniversary. Even the New York Times featured photos from the first Skopje Pride, and we expect nothing less spectacular for this year’s event. It will be one of the best and most attended events in Skopje, just like in previous years,” said Kocho Andonovski, Program Director of the LGBTI Support Center, adding that the surge in hate speech following the announcement of the parade only underscores the need for Skopje Pride.

Pride is just one day when LGBTI people can be visible, authentic, and true to themselves. We must remember that this is a community deeply pressured to hide their identities even in private spaces—at home, among family, in school, or at work, where LGBTI+ people are most vulnerable to violence. When we experience our most painful moments even in the spaces where we should feel safest, it means that society needs radical change.

“This year, we chose the concept of disobedience as our slogan because the desire of LGBTI+ people to live freely has often been labeled as capricious, excessive, or an unnecessary quest for attention. The demand to live with dignity and without violence is not capricious. The need to be seen, to move freely in public spaces, to participate in political life, rather than being confined to our four walls, is not a desire for attention but a demand for our equal place in society. The right of LGBTI+ people to visit their partners in hospitals, to inherit the property of lifelong partners, to not have to strip down to prove their gender identity—these are our fundamental rights. If our vision of equality, dignity, and the basic right to life is controversial, then YES, we choose to be disobedient,” said Angel Dimitrievski, Executive Director of EQUALIS, adding that the drive to silence and erase the LGBTI+ community from public space appears to be growing.

We are witnessing severe attacks accusing us of forcibly trying to insert ourselves into the public sphere, where people often wish we did not exist. In this drive to silence all that is different, it seems our fellow citizens forget the extreme forms of violence they themselves endure daily, which are not the fault of LGBTI+ people. Workers die at their jobs, employers count how long they spend in the restroom, our fellow citizens are treated harshly by the healthcare system, and people struggle to provide one meal for their children. This is the reality in our country. Direct your anger there, not towards the most vulnerable group in society.

Despite this, we have reason to believe, to hope, and not to give up on the future. Pride is an event that brings thousands of people together. To our great joy, more and more young people are attending the parade, bravely and proudly celebrating their identities. It seems the future belongs to them. The future also belongs to our pioneers in this movement, thanks to whom we can march and hold Pride today. But most importantly, the concept that reassures us the most is that the future is ours, and we will fight fearlessly for it.

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