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Serbian prime minister & her partner make history by welcoming newborn son

Ana Brnabić
Ana BrnabićPhoto: Wikipedia

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and her partner, Milica Djurdjic, made history on Wednesday as they welcomed a baby boy.

The openly lesbian leader became the world’s first LGBTQ head of state to become a parent while in office after her wife gave birth. In a statement recognizing the momentous occasion, the prime minister’s office noted their son—reportedly named “Igor”—is “doing fine.”

This is only the most recent time the 43-year-old leader has broken Serbia’s glass ceiling. In 2017, Brnabić became the first LGBTQ person elected prime minister in Serbia.

She’s only the fifth LGBTQ person tapped as any country’s head of state—following Iceland’s Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Belgium’s Elio Di Rupo, Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel, and Ireland’s Leo Varadkar.

Before ascending to the prime ministership, Brnabić served as the minister for public administration and local self-government. She was the first LGBTQ person to hold a cabinet position in Serbia’s national government.

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However, the happy news for Serbia’s first couple masks an unsettling reality for many in a conservative Balkan country that largely has yet to embrace LGBTQ equality. Same-sex unions are still banned by its national constitution, which defines marriage as between one man and one man. Gay couples are also prohibited from adopting.

Serbia has yet to change those policies even with an openly LGBTQ leader in office. And much to the chagrin of local queer and trans leaders, Brnabić has not pressed the issue.

According to the BBC, the nonparty technocrat told attendees of the 2017 Pride Parade in Belgrade that LGBTQ rights “would be addressed only after important problems such as inflation, pensions, and the standard of living had been resolved.”

Activists protested her appearance at Pride the following year, an event which had been frequently banned before Brnabić took office.

But despite the apparent dismissal from the prime minister, marriage equality may be coming to Serbia anyway. Lawmakers in the National Assembly are reportedly drafting a bill that will bring some form of legal recognition for same-sex unions to the nation of seven million people.

Serbia is preparing to join the European Union and the push is intended to bring its policies on LGBTQ couples closer to EU standards.

Such legislation would represent a major about-face for Serbia on LGBTQ rights. A 2017 poll from Pew Research found that 83 percent of Serbians opposed same-sex marriages, while just 12 percent were in favor of allowing all couples to marry.

Serbia placed 28th (out of 49 countries) in ILGA’s most recent Rainbow Europe index, which ranks European nations by their LGBTQ-affirming policies. That finish put the state behind countries like Albania, Bosnia, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo, and Montenegro, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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