The last time I saw so many cops and reporters was the day my grow show got raided. Okay, there probably were not 2000 cops and 50 reporters there that day but it sure looked like it as I drove past the scene (which looked like all-you-can-eat hour at Tim Horton’s) after my burglar alarm triggered my beeper to alert me to the presence of alien invaders in my marijuana mine. But that’s an old tale that’s been told a thousand times, and this fresh jive ain’t got nothing to do with that old schtick, so let’s move on, shall we?
I not only brushed my teeth and hair for the first gay pride parade in the Montenegrin capital, I even ironed my pants and shirt. Getting turned away from, or chased out of the march would have been humiliating and there was no point running the risk of agitating the organizers by showing up rumpled. Even if the number of Montenegrins who would like to ‘kill the fags’ outnumber those of us who demand equal rights for queers by about 10,000 to 1, you just can’t walk in a pride parade looking shabby. I did not go so far as to doll myself up to look fabulous
I’ll leave the looking fabulous stuff to Marina.
The event was not a celebration. Montenegro is a long, long way from holding the festive pride events you see in the West.
No, this was not a party. This was serious business. There was tension in the air and fear was everywhere. The leader of Queer Montenegro had been attacked and assaulted the day before. The country’s most prominent queer rights activist has recently gone into exile, in Vancouver, after being attacked frequently and threatened persistently.
The exiled hero publicly stated that he had been very vigilant about reporting every attack and threat to the cops. He says he cops did nothing. So, could we really rest assured that the cops would protect us from the neanderthals who wanted to kill us?
Even when I was a small child I was convinced that grown-ups were taking the piss when they would tell me, “The policeman is your friend.”
I would rush to the nearest dictionary, look up the meaning of friend,
and say, “I don’t fuckin’ think so. Fuck the police!”
And I’d say it again, “Fuck the police!”
C’mon, say it with me this time, I know you wanna! Ready? 3…2…1…FUCK THE POLICE
And a subsequent lifetime of experience tells me not to trust cops,
so I had my doubts.
I kept those doubts to myself the night before, when Marina told me that she was, literally, worried sick about the prospect of violence. Although she is very passionate about LGBT rights, Marina had never been to any kind of protest before Sunday. She is constantly battling the braindead bigots on Facebook, so she knows how much hate runs through the misguided minds of the malevolent morons who attacked Montenegro’s first pride march in the coastal city of Budva, back in July.
Every ethnic group in the former Yugoslavia is is filled with hate. The Kosovo Albanians hate the Macedonians, the Croats hate the Albanians, the Montenegrins hate the Croats, the Macedonians hate the Montenegrins, the Serbs hate everybody and everybody hates the Serbs.
They will get drink and fuck each other but the cordiality usually dissipates when they awake in the morning and realize that they willingly had sex with an animal.
The Slovenians don’t factor into the equation anymore because they started fucking off as soon as Tito died and have rarely been heard from since. But the grand unifier of hate, the greatest hate of all, the hate that brings all the haters together is the hatred of queers.
Wait. They all hate the Gypsies, too. And the Gypsies probably hate the queers as much as everyone else does, if only so that they can have someone to feel superior to. So far as I know, the queers ain’t hating on anyone, but I bet they would have made fun of me if I’d shown up rumpled and disheveled. That would have made them feel superior to me, so maybe I should have. Well, next time. And there will be a next time.
Next time will be some time in June 2014 and that, boys and girls, is going to be a very, very interesting event.
Sunday’s march went off perfectly. A brilliant plan, a perfect execution. The organizers are to be congratulated, not only for their incredible courage, but also for their professionalism. Parade marshals did a great job of creating a positive energy to combat the tension.
Accomplishing that was made easy because of the cooperation they got from the authorities, who deserve nearly as much credit and respect as the organizers, even if they were bowing to the wishes of the EU.
Montenegro is an EU candidate country and it was, without a doubt, the EU overlords who told the government of Montenegro to spare no expense in keeping marchers from harm. This is an incredible benefit to LGBT rights campaigners. They are in the enviable position of having the sheer brute power of THE STATE on their side.
This is not an opportunity that should be pissed away, because, if and when Montenegro does become a full member of the EU, the EU will have less leverage on the country’s politicians. All politicians are loathe to alienate voters, even when they are in the habit of running crooked elections. Some 70% of the country’s 650,000 citizens actually believe homosexuality is a disease. The head of the powerful Orthodox Church has publicly stated that queers should be killed – here’s the translation of his quote, “A tree that is not fruitful is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
I’d like to ask his holiness if that applies to those of us who choose not to procreate, and those who are incapable of doing so, but he stopped taking my calls when he found out my legal name is Sa Tan.
Following Montenegro’s first pride parade there was a great debate amongst queer activists as to whether or not they should go back t the streets again. Some argued that it was too soon. They have little support. Attacks on and threats against anyone known or perceived to be queer increased after the July event.
The wiser queers, who prevailed, realized that they need to spark a debate – that they can, eventually, win – while they have the muscle of the EU on side to protect those who will dare to march.
When it was first announced that there would be 2000 cops on hand to protect marchers, I thought it might be an exaggeration to strike fear into the haters. But I do believe there really were 2000 cops there on Sunday. The entire length of the parade route was lined with cops in riot gear.
Every side street was blocked off a block away by dozens of cops in riot gear. There were cops here, there, everywhere and in the air, too. The cops did their jobs, but they were also friendly and that counts for a whole lot. The policeman is my friend!
Whoever came up with the parade route, which remained a secret until Sunday morning, is to be commended. I thought we would be marching down the city’s main street, lined with shops, cafes and offices, with apartments above. That would have been stupid. The haters could have gotten into one or more of the apartments above the street and there’d have been no way to stop whatever ugly they decided to rain down until it was too late. Short of kicking everyone out of their apartments, there’d have been no way to assure the safety of the marchers.
Instead, we marched down the arterial on which the Parliament building is situated. Nothing but government buildings on that side of the street, nothing but parkland on the other. The cops had been patrolling the green spaces with dogs since three in the morning.
We marched over a bridge (symbolic?), to the first intersection. The apartment building across the intersection had a large terrace that swarmed with cops. If a hater was tempted to do anything uglier than shout from one of thee apartment windows he’d likely have been dissuaded by the police helicopter that hovered 20 feet above the intersection until we turned and marched back to the house of Parliament.
There were delegations from the EU and the British and American embassies – but only the Netherlands’ government sent its Ambassador. This was a minor fuck you to the Russians – who have sizable economic investments in Montenegro and would prefer that the country stay out of the EU and NATO – in the ongoing tit-for-tat queer rights war between the countries.
I estimate that about 30% of the 150 or so of us who marched were foreigners.About 80% of marchers were under 30, girls outnumbered guys by at least a 2 to 1 margin, and I would not be surprised if straights outnumbered queers.
In order for the movement for LGBT rights to advance quickly, next year’s parade must be larger. That’s why it would be a mistake, perhaps a tragic, grave mistake, to use a different route in June. Stay-at-home sympathizers have to understand that we could not have been afforded more security on Sunday. Even after the march was over we were given protection by the cops, who loaded us into paddy wagons
and evacuated us to their forested training compound on the outskirts of town.
We stayed at the compound while the cops battled it out with the haters, far away from where love triumphed over fear
Local media reports state that 60 haters were arrested and the authorities are promising to prosecute them to the full extent of the law – and wouldn’t it be poetic justice if at least one of them gets some serious time and has to suck a mile of dirty cock before he gets a chance to throw another Molotov cocktail?
An hour or so later, we ere free to head home. I don’t doubt that we’ll all be back on the streets next June. But we would like to be joined by all those fags – queer and straight, male, female and other – who pansied out on Sunday. If Marina, who is afraid of the dark, can man up, get fabulous and hit the streets, so can every one of those sissies.