GLXY Travel Guide - Exploring the LGBT Scene in Belgrade, Serbia

30 Aug, 2017
In this article you can find out why and when to visit Serbia and Belgrade, how friendly is this city for LGBT persons, where to go for gay-friendly dinner options, bars, clubs and other venues, what are the most important LGBT events of the year not to be missed; how to meet locals; and other interesting and important practical details.

About Serbia and Belgrade

Serbia is a small country in the region of Southeastern Europe. Geographically and also climatically it is a part of Mediterranean belt, and it borders with 8 countries, including Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Bosnia & Herzegovina etc. Lately, we’ve heard about the country a lot in the news, since they are the second country in the world that has a lesbian Prime Minister. More about that later. Let’s see Belgrade first. Belgrade is the capital city of Serbia, and it also was the capital city of Republic of former Yugoslavia as it is the biggest city. Currently, it counts around 1,6 millions of people and it is spread over 360 square kilometers.

The urban planning seems to be well managed through the history, so now you have layers of different period’s architecture perfectly slipping into each other. We would encourage you to take a walk to through the main street Knez Mihajlova towards the beautiful middle ages fortress Kalemegdan, in the morning or in the evening. During the summer days, tourists find a resting moment on the beach of Danube, that is called Ada Ciganlija. Beautiful jetties next to the river, a city full of historical monuments and the museum of Nikola Tesla, and an amazing night life. We will tell you only one thing about a modern myth referred to Belgrade: Get ready for some crazy but lucid, flamboyantly excessive nightlife. We especially recommend you to check the Belgrade rafts, since it is the city’s trademark.

LGBT situation

Serbia is still a closed state on LGBT human rights. LGBT, as well as other non-governmental human rights organizations often draw attention to the lack of initiative and willingness of the government to change the situation. Same-sex couples are not recognized in Serbia. Also, Serbia is one of the three European countries that have a constitutional barrier to adopting laws on equal marriages. By the Constitution of 2006 marriage is defined as a relationship between man and woman. The previous constitution did not have such a limit. Going back to the fact that Serbia has a lesbian Prime Minister, Ana Brnabić, publicly out.
In the middle of 2009 Serbia adopted Antidiscrimination law that includes protection to LGBT people. In december 2009, the first International Festival of Queer Movie “Merlinka” was organized by Gej lezbejski info centar (Gay Lesbian Info Centre). The government canceled it two times and when it finally happened it was awarded by the Crystal award for the best communication approach to the project. First parade happened in 2001, but all until 2014, Belgrade Parade didn’t go unnoticed by religious radicals, football hooligans and many other haters.
In January 2011, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia issued a permit to the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Belgrade to conduct the ceremony of concluding a civil partnership if both partners have British citizenship or if one of them has British citizenship or another nationality of another country except Serbia. The French embassy in Belgrade also offers the registration of registered partnerships with French nationals and their foreign partners. Today, Serbia has two Pride parades, since the LGBT community split, one is happening in May, and the other in September.
The political situation is quite ambiguous. With the move of current president to chose publicly out lesbian as a PM, Serbia is certainly expressing a different kind of openness than before. On the other hand, the parade's still are covered by a great amount of police forces, which proves that the society still doesn't fully accept LGBT community. Nevertheless, even though the rate of homophobia in Serbia is over 60%, Belgrade is a central place for gay parties and gatherings in ex Yugoslavia.

As for the LGBT organizationsthere are:

Labris- organization oriented towards lesbian, bisexual and trans women rights, one of the oldest in the country
Gay Straight Alliance
Gayten LGBT- Advocacy, psychological and law support
Novi Sad Lesbian Organization- Lesbian organization that tackles the situation in Novi Sad
Gay Lesbian Info Center- Parade coorganizers, advocacy
Belgrade Pride- one of the Parade organizers

If you want to have fun, drink something and party in Belgrade there are LGBT and LGBT friendly bars/restaurants/places to see:

Pleasure – Address: Kneza Miloša 9- One of the most openminded LGBT places in the city. We recommend you to go there, especially during weekends for some amazing themed parties, followed by DJing and often VJing
MUSK – Address: Makedonska 28

SMILEY – Address: Terazije 5
KC Grad - Address: Braće Krsmanović 4- KC Grad is one of the coolest places in the city. It is short for Cultural centre, so there you can find a variety of artistic and cultural events, and what is the most important, go there to meet amazing people. Because the music is not that loud (before the party time), you can chat, do your art, or have a beer and a snack.