Sabina: „bisexual or also described as a confused cheater.“
"Ima izać!” which roughly translates as "Open the door, please!" is the defiant slogan of Sarajevo's first LGBT+ Pride March in Bosnia and Herzegovina, scheduled to go ahead this Sunday, September 8th 2019. But the call to bring the LGBT+ community on to the streets has gone out despite a backlash of hostility from political and religious actors. Sarajevo is the last capital in the conservative Balkans to hold a Pride march and its organisers have certainly not been pushing at an open door.
With this photo project, Elodie Grethen follows women* and men* from diverse backgrounds, depicting their struggle for feminist and queer equality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This series is a contemporary portrayal of activists, artists and people who, through their sexual orientation or gender identity, question the traditional patterns of gender distribution in the post-war society. Focussing on Sarajevo, it paints a fantasy portrait of the Bosnian capital and claims an equal and universal right to the city (Henri Lefebvre). The images offer a safe space — an idealized and imaginary refuge, which does not yet find its translation into public space and reality, where dissimulation and gendered territories still reinforce patriarchal and heteronormative patterns.
Participation in such a project by the subjects then becomes an act of resistance: the camera reinstate the bodies, as spaces of struggle, within the city: photography becomes a political tool by making participants doubly visible (through the photograph itself and in the context of the city). This work offers them a platform through which they choose to define themselves with their own words, as a way of self-determination.
„a lover, another old artistic soul trying to thrive, a warrior fighting for gender equality and a safe space for all LGBTQ people.“
„I was verbally attacked and physically assaulted by religious fanatics as a result of the intensified hate speech in media after the announcement of the first LGBT+ Pride March in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Due to lack of education, as well as the ideological pressure coordinated by religious and political institutions, the LGBT+ population is still portrayed in media as deviant, controversial, primitive, promiscuous, incompatible with accepted social values, and is the victim of numerous inaccurate and biased reports, stereotypes and discrimination. I had the pleasure of dealing with homophobic police officers, not once, but twice and received no help whatsoever. Being fully open about your sexual orientation is a pipe dream for most people in Bosnia. You are mostly judged by your looks, the way you dress and how well you fit gender stereotypes.“
„Every citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of their identity, has the fundamental right of freedom of peaceful assembly, enshrined in Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Us, LGBT+ people, and well, all people, must know that it is the obligation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to respect and protect our most fundamental human rights before and during the Sarajevo Pride March. I sincerely hope that the Ministry of Interior is fully prepared to guarantee security, and that enough resources have been put aside for the purpose of protecting the participants and activists who will participate in the upcoming Pride March.“
Matej: „I‘m a son, a boyfriend, a friend, a feminist, a human being, a student, a worker, a queer [...].“
„I‘m an activist and artist, trying through my art to change the perception of minority groups in society and educate about transgender people in Bosnia and Herzegovina.“