Lesbian Prime Minister-to-be hits back at homophobic critics

The first LGBT prime minister nominated in Serbia has hit back at her critics in the classiest way possible.

Ana Brnabic, 41, was nominated for the position two weeks ago by right-wing President Aleksandar Vučić, and is expected to be confirmed by the end of this week.

Last year, Brnabic became the first out gay cabinet minister when Vučić appointed her to be Minister for Public Administration.

Ana Brnabic Serbia getty

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Her nomination to be prime minister has been met with scathing attacks from misogynists and homophobes, as well as those who accuse her of being a puppet for Vučić.

There are also those who accuse Vučić of choosing Brnabic simply for show, to demonstrate how progressive Serbia is so that it can join the European Union.

Yesterday, in a speech to the parliament in Belgrade, Brnabic belied her political inexperience – she has no party affiliation, and has never been elected to any position – to hit back at detractors.

Facing the insults defiantly, she said: “I expect to receive them also in the future.

“I will respond with truths and facts that I will defend with dignity.

“I have big goals as I look to the future.

“Let’s put the past together where it belongs – to the past,” she added, according to The New York Times.

After she joined Vučić’s government last year, she told Vice Serbia: “I’m not a spokesperson for the LGBT community.

“I don’t want to be branded as a gay minister, just as my colleagues don’t want to be primarily defined as being straight.

“All I want is to do my job as best as I can.”

Her historic nomination has encouraged activists in the deeply conservative country, which only declassified homosexuality as a disease in 2008.

Two years after that decision, two-thirds of people still believed it was an illness.

Ana Brnabic Serbia getty

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Brnabic is no activist, though. Last year she refused to lend her support to a proposal to push for legalising same-sex partnerships in Serbia.

Zoe Gudovic, 40, a social justice activist in the country, told The New York Times: “The only thing I share with Ana Brnabic is that we are both lesbians.”

She said Brnabic deserved “credit for shattering the deeply rooted notion of how a woman in the highest position of government should look like, what she should wear and how she should behave in this homophobic society.”

This did not mean she approve of Brnabic accepting the nomination, however.

“I find it impossible to accept that she is willing to be part of the nationalist, authoritarian regime that will ruin our economy, sell our country to foreigners and abolish whatever is left of a social state,” Gudovic said.

Teen charged with terrorism offence for alleged plans to attack LGBT Pride event

A teenager who allegedly made threats to attack people attending an LGBT Pride event has been charged with a terrorism offence.

Ethan Stables, 19, of Egerton Court in Barrow, was arrested last week following claims of threats against those planning to attend the event at the New Empire pub in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, in north-west England.

Cumbria Police confirmed in a statement: “A man has been charged with a terrorism offence in Cumbria.

Police officers

Police officers (Getty Images)

“Ethan Stables, aged 19, of Egerton Court, Barrow, has been charged with an offence under Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

“He has been remanded into custody to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court tomorrow, Thursday 29 June 2017.”

It continued: “Cumbria Counter Terrorism officers are continuing to work with colleagues from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit.”

Section 58 of the terrorism act reads: “A person commits an offence if:

a) he collects or makes a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or

b) he possesses a document or record containing information of that kind.”

The New Empire welcomed the charges with a post on its Facebook page quoting the police statement and simply adding: “Well done.”

It previously pledged to push on with plans to hold another Pride event within a month of the incident.

The statement read: “Thanks also to the police for making sure everyone was safe! We had a fantastic night and appreciate all the messages of support.

“We will be holding another LGBT Pride night in four weeks time and hope people join us for that (open to all).”

After the initial arrest, Cumbria Police had referred the matter to the North West Counter Terrorism Unit (NWCTU).

Superintendent Mark Pannone said at the time: “I can reassure the community that we have robust procedures in place to respond to reports of suspicious activity and we will continue to work closely with our local communities to help keep Cumbria safe.

“Over the last few weeks we have increased patrols in our neighbourhoods and at local events to prioritise the safety of the public and would ask for people to continue to be alert and report any suspicious activity to police.

“There is no place for hate crime in Cumbria, and it will not be tolerated.”

At that time the alleged threats had not been declared a terrorist incident, but it was decided that the NWCTU be best-placed to lead the investigation.