AIDS i nezadovoljstvo - Ucutkivanje gay seksualnosti u Srbiji


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AIDS i nezadovoljstvo - Ucutkivanje Gay seksualnosti u Srbiji

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AIDS i nezadovoljstvo - Ucutkivanje gay seksualnosti u Srbiji

  1. 1.   AIDS  and  its  discontents  in  Serbia:   Silencing  gay  sexuality  in  the  age  of   illness         Zoran  Milosavljević               September  2012             Supervisors:     Dr  Mark  Johnson   University  of  Hull,  UK       Dr  Edyta  Just   University  of  Lodz,  Poland                     Dissertation  submitted  in  partial  fulfilment  of  the  requirements  for  the   degree  of  Master  of  Arts  in  Women’s  and  Gender  Studies  GEMMA,  in  the  University   of  Hull      
  2. 2.   AIDS  and  its  discontents  in  Serbia:   Silencing  gay  sexuality  in  the  age  of   illness         Zoran  Milosavljević               September  2012             Supervisors:     Dr  Mark  Johnson   University  of  Hull,  UK   Approved  by:           Dr  Edyta  Just   University  of  Lodz,  Poland               Dissertation  submitted  in  partial  fulfilment  of  the  requirements  for  the   degree  of  Master  of  Arts  in  Women’s  and  Gender  Studies  GEMMA,  in  the  University   of  Hull  
  3. 3. Abstract   This   thesis   analyses   the   perpetuation   of   the   HIV/AIDS   epidemic   in   Serbia   as   directly   resulting   from   the   rejection   and   silencing   of   gay   sexuality.   The   increasing   number   of   HIV/AIDS   cases,   with   30%   of   cases   diagnosed   only   at   the   terminal   stage  of  the  illness,  is  a  testament  to  the  spreading  of  the  epidemic  in  Serbia.  The   HIV   positive   gay   men’s   life-­‐management   in   the   HIV/AIDS   discourse   is   further   complicated  with  the  enormous  discrimination  and  stigmatisation  by  the  majority   in   Serbia.   The   HIV   positive   gay   men   are   discriminated   on   grounds   of   both   their   sexuality   and   the   illness.   Such   double   discrimination   causes   them   to   want   to   maintain   undetectability   of   the   virus   (the   illness)   and   of   the   sexual   identity   for   as   long   as   possible.   The   discrimination   and   stigmatisation   on   grounds   of   gay   sexuality  is  structured  around  the  silence  of  the  majority  toward  it.  The  silencing   enforces   mimicry   in   the   body   politics   of   gay   people.   Such   mimicry   is   visible   in   the   variety  of  their  practices:  from  the  masculinisation  of  their  bodies  to  the  testing   and   the   ‘forced   coming-­‐out’   in   the   medical   and   other   state   institutions.   The   biomedicalistation  of  the  public  health  structures  the  identity  of  the  HIV  positive   gay  men  through  the  ‘forced  coming-­‐out’,  leading  them  to  reveal  their  sexuality  in   highly   discriminatory   surroundings   of   Serbian   society.   Sexuality   is   the   main   attribute   of   the   discrimination,   but   is   silenced   in   Serbian   institutions.   The   current   policy  against  HIV/AIDS  and  other  STDs  in  Serbia  is  futile  and  tumultuous.  This  is   especially   evident   in   the   educational   and   medical   discourses.   The   non-­‐existence   of   sexual   education   further   enhances   the   rejection   of   the   differences   among   the   people  in  Serbia.  The  rejection  of  the  HIV  positive  gay  men  is  present  even  among   the  group  of  the  PLHIV,  which  brings  into  the  focus  of  this  thesis  their  inclusion  in   all   levels   of   society:   the   voices   of   these   men   and   women   are   our   best   weapon   against  the  dominant  silence.     Key   words:   HIV/AIDS,   Serbia,   gay,   sexuality,   discrimination,   body   politics,   mimicry        
  4. 4. Content     Acknowledgements                   5   List  of  abbreviations                   6   Introduction                   7   1.1  Transitional  Serbian  society             18   1.2  AIDS  epidemiology  in  Serbia             26   1.3  Biomedical  discourse               29   1.4  Educational  discourse               34   2.1  Gay  sexual  minority  in  Serbia  &  homophobia         38     Chapter  I   Chapter  II   2.2  Anthropology  of  everyday  life  of  HIV  positive  gay  men  in  Serbia   44   Chapter  III   3.1  Methodology  of  the  research  and  analyses  of  the  interviews     Conclusion   54                     71   Bibliography                     77      
  5. 5. Acknowledgements     My  gratitude  for  the  contribution  to  this  work  goes  to:   my  supervisors,  dr  Mark   Johnson  from  the  University  of  Hull,  UK,  and  dr  Edyta  Just  from  the  University  of   Lodz,   Poland   without   who’s   experience   and   guidance   this   work   would   not   be   possible;   dr   Damir   Arsenijević   for   his   loving   support,   encouragement   and   wittiness,   Tag   McEntegart,   Branko   Marković,   Brankica   Aćimović,   Boris   Gidak,   Nataša  Jović-­‐Cvetković,  Violeta    Andjelković,  Vladimir  Veljković,    Zoran  Railić  M.D.,   Djurica  Stankov,  Dušan  Marjanović,  Dimitar  Matrakoski,  Bojan,  Dimitrije,  Svetlana   Krabel,   Jelena   Petrović,   Alma   Tanović   and   to   my   parents,   Branislava   Anaćijević   and  Siniša  Milosavljević.       5
  6. 6. List  of  abbreviations     AIDS  –  Acquired  Immunodeficiency  Syndrome   ARV  –  Antiretroviral  therapy   EU  –  European  Union   HAART  –  Highly  active  antiretroviral  therapy   HIV–  Human  Immunodeficiency  Virus   LGBT–  Lesbian,  gay,  bisexual  and  transgender     MSM  –  Men  who  have  sex  with  men   MSWM  –  Men  who  have  sex  with  men  and  women   NGO  –  Non-­‐governmental  organisations     PEP  –  Post  expositional  prophylaxis     PLHIV  –  People  who  are  living  with  HIV/AIDS   RAC  –  Republic  National  AIDS  Committee  of  Serbia   STD  –  Sexually  transmitted  diseases   UNAIDS  –  Joint  United  Nations  Programme  on  HIV/AIDS   UNDP  –  United  Nations  Development  Programme     UNICEF  –  United  Nations  Children’s  Fund     USOP  –  Union  of  PLHIV  organisations  in  Serbia         6
  7. 7. Introduction   Numerous  questions  arise  when  information  comes  to  light,  during  the  course  of  World   AIDS  Day,  on  the  1st  December  2011,  that  the  promoter  of  safer  sex  in  Serbia  is  a  famous   gay   porn   actor   from   barebacking   online   sites   –   not   to   mention   that   he   has   been   HIV   positive  for  seven  years.  You  could  ask  yourself  if  this  is  a  mistake  of  the  organiser,  the   Ministry  of  Health  of  the  Republic  of  Serbia,  or  a  bad  joke  perpetrated  between  activists   to   discredit   each   other   in   the   battle   to   secure   funds   from   the   Global   Fund1   for   the   fight   against  HIV/AIDS.  Or  you  could  ask  yourself  whether  the  famous  gay  porn  actor  has  an   equal  right  to  be  represented  in  the  media  and  to  share  his  experience  about  HIV/AIDS?   What   about   achievements   in   the   education   of   youth   concerning   HIV/AIDS,   and   the   population  in  general  in  Serbia?  You  would  probably  ask  yourself  (if  or  when  you  find  out   about   it!)   why   it   is   that,   in   Serbia,   in   2011,   33%   of   the   people   infected   with   HIV   are   diagnosed   in   the   last   stages   of   AIDS?   Why   did   they   do   that   to   themselves?   What   is   the   cause   of   such   irresponsible   behaviour?   Is   it   a   lack   of   knowledge   about   HIV/AIDS   or   maybe  it’s  fear?  But  then,  fear  of  what?     This  ‘schizoid’  episode  is  a  microcosm  of  the  state  of  the  AIDS  epidemic  in  Serbia   today.   This   thesis   seeks   to   investigate   if,   and,   if   so,   how   the   negative   social   response   to   gay   sexuality   is   intensifying   the   HIV/AIDS   epidemic   in   Serbia.   The   rising   number   of   the   infected   gay   men   and   the   33%   of   PLHIV   diagnosed   in   the   last   stages   of   AIDS   should   be   signalling  a  state  of  ‘high  alert’.  Something  is  seriously  malfunctioning  in  the  response  to   HIV/AIDS  in  Serbia.  Paradoxically,  in  this  time  of  easy  access  to  information,  the  present   state   of   the   AIDS   epidemic   in   Serbia,   and   the   discourses   around   AIDS,   are   showing   confusion;   a   lack   of   clear   ideas   as   to   how   to   proceed   to   tackle   it;   as   result   of   economic   instability,  slow  progress;  rejection  of  the  ‘other’(s)  sexualities;  and  institutional  neglect.   As  the  result  of  the  present  situation,  the  identity  politics  of  HIV  positive  gay  men  further   evolve   into   the   body   politics   of   mimicry   and   defence   against   stigmatisation.   Taken   together,  all  those  are  the  excellent  conditions  for  the  vicious  spiral  that  is  HIV/AIDS  in   Serbia.     The  silencing  is  an  unbearable  process  for  the  one  who  is  doing  it.  In  that  way  you   are  pushing  the  problem  deeper  without  the  resolution.  Silencing  is  also  an  aspect  of  the   human   condition.   It   is   not   problematic   if   you   are   dealing   with   a   small   problem.   Maybe   you  will  forget  about  it.  However,  if  you  try  to  ignore  a  big  problem  for  long  enough,  the                                                                                                                           1  Global  Fund  To  Fight  AIDS,  Tuberculosis  and  Malaria,  see   7
  8. 8. problem   could   become   greater.   This   is   most   certainly   the   case   when   you   have   deadly   disease   spreading   among     people   already   scared   that   they   are   going   to   be   stigmatized   because   of   their   sexuality   and   then,   on   top   of   that,   because   of   the   disease.   This   is   the   situation  facing  the  overwhelming  majority  of  gay  people  in  Serbia  infected  with  HIV,  or   living  with  AIDS  related  illnesses.       In  this  thesis  I  will  examine  the  connections  between  the  double  stigmatisation  of   HIV  positive  gay  men,  and  the  persistence  and  growth  of  the  AIDS  epidemic  in  Serbia.  I   will   examine   the   social   response   that   ‘silences’   gay   sexuality,   as   well   as   the   politics   of   resistance   of   HIV   positive   gay   men   to   the   predominant   social   stigmatisation.     Stigmatisation   on   the   ground   of   sexuality   and   stigmatisation   on   the   ground   of   illness   (HIV/AIDS)   are   the   two   predominant   components   of   the   double   stigmatisation   of   HIV   positive  gay  men  in  Serbia.     The   stigmatisation   on   the   ground   of   illness   is   shaped   by   the   discourses   that   are   structuring   HIV   positive   gay   men’s   subjectivity,   mostly   through   the   biomedical   and   educational  discourse.  The  discourse  of  biomedicine,  and,  as  its  integral  part  of  that,  the   pharmaceuticalization2  of  public  health,  is  emerging  from  the  development  of  the  medical   knowledge  and  the  advantages  that  affords  those  fighting  the  disease.  For  so  many    HIV   positive  gay  men,  the  moment  of  truth  embodied  in    an  HIV  positive  result,    also  becomes   the   moment   of   ‘forced   coming   out’,   within   their   own   social   circle   of   their   sexual   identity   .   In   Serbia,   where   the   gay   sexual   minority   is   still   stigmatized,   and   its   rights   are   ignored,   that   moment   is   very   stressful   for   the   gay   individual   and,   if   at   all   possible,   should   be   mitigated.     Stigmatisation   on   the   grounds   of   their   sexuality   of   HIV   positive   gay   men   is   the   most   visible   manifestation   of   the   social   ‘silencing’   of   it,   and,   in   the   politics   of   mimicry   adopted   by   the   gay   sexual   minority,   its   result   is   apparent.   Social   policy   in   the   field   of   HIV/AIDS  is  also  an  important  factor  for  the  life  management  of  HIV  positive  gay  men  in   the   AIDS   discourse.   Unfortunately,   such   policy   is   under   the   constant   influence   of   the   predominant   social   model   of   the   rejection   of   gay   sexuality   and   is   very   visible   through   the   process  of  its  silencing.     The  undetectability  of  the  virus  (upheld  by  avoiding  the  biomedical  procedures)   and  the  undetectability  of  the  gay  sexuality  (upheld  through  the  politics  of  mimicry  and   social   silencing)   are   the   two   major   components   of   the   body   politics   of   HIV   positive   gay                                                                                                                           2  Under  the  notion  of  ‘pharmaceuticalization  of  public  health’  Biehl  assumes  the  involvement  of   pharmaceutical  companies,  producers  of  ARV  therapy,  in  the  different  processes  of  providing  and  subsidising   ARV  therapy  in  the  policy  of  the  state  ‘therapy  for  all’.  See  Biehl,  2009,  p.97-­‐101     8
  9. 9. men   in   Serbia.   These   two   components   are   the   main   cause   of   the   devastation   being   wrought  by  the  HIV/AIDS  epidemic  in  Serbia.   This   thesis   argues   for   a   separation   to   be   made   between   gay   sexuality   and   the   dominant   perception   of   gay   sexuality   as   the   illness.   The   aim   of   this   thesis   is   to   emphasise   the  importance  of  the  necessary  recognition,  by  Serbian  society,  of  gay  sexuality  and  its   impact   on   HIV/AIDS   epidemic.   The   connection   between   these   two   should   be   taken   into   account   for   any   successful   strategy   against   AIDS.   To   provide   a   basis   for   the   correction   and   the   redefinition   of   the   educational   procedures   that   claim   to   educate   about   the   illness   and   the   sexual   differences   in   Serbia   is   one   of   the   main   purposes   of   this   thesis.   It   is   hoped   that  such  an  outcome  will  be  attributable      to  this  thesis.  The  voices  of  HIV  positive  gay   men  and  the  people  around  them,  seeing  the  light  of  day  for  the  first  time  in  this  thesis   speak  firmly  in  favour  of  this  aim.  Their  life  experiences  are  of  immensurable  help  in  the   endeavour   to   understand   the   problems   they   face   everyday   in   their   fight   against   HIV/AIDS.     Finally,   this   thesis   is   about   the   social   construction   of   sexuality   and   the   social   construction   of   lies   (about   difference,   sexuality,   and   illness).   It   provides   an   insight   into   how   deliberate   neglect   of   sexual   differences   in   Serbia   has   provided   and   continues   to   provide  fertile  conditions  for  the  spread  of  the  disease  and  for  the  dangerous  spiral  of  the   HIV/AIDS  epidemic.     Theoretical  framework   The  complex  power  web  around  HIV  positive  gay  men’s  subjectivity  and  the  structuring   of   gay   sexual   identity   are   inevitably   embedded   in   the   context   of   the   Serbian   society.   To   understand  such  a  complex  web  of  discourses  I  decided  to  use  a  map  structure  as  the  tool   that   would   most   usefully   unlock   deeper   and   wider   insight   into   the   perpetuating   HIV/AIDS   epidemic.3   The   map   will   complement   the   theoretical   framework   and   to   illustrate  the  improved  understanding  of  the  process  of  silencing  of  gay  sexuality  and,  as   the  result  of  that,  the  perpetuation  of  HIV/AIDS  epidemic.     In   the   first   chapter,   I   take   a   closer   look   into   recent   Serbian   history.   When   combined   this   history,   the   epidemiological   situation   with   regard   to   HIV/AIDS   and   the   biomedical   and   educational   discourse   of   HIV/AIDS   will   provide   the   context   of   Serbian   society.                                                                                                                           3  See  the  table   9
  10. 10.       10
  11. 11. The   second   chapter   will   closely   examine   the   gay   sexual   minority   in   Serbia   and   an   anthropology  of  the  everyday  life  of  HIV  positive  gay  men.    The  second  chapter  focuses   on  the  interconnections  between  social  rejection  and  the  body  politics  of  mimicry  of  HIV   positive  gay  men  toward  health  and  sexuality’s  mimicry.    When  considering  the  politics   of  mimicry,  the  study  investigates  the  variety  of  practices  of  HIV  positive  gay  men:  from   avoiding  ‘forced  coming  out’  in  medical  institutions;  through  the  masculinisation  of  their   bodies  and  the  abuse  of  steroids  in  AIDS  related  illnesses;  to  the  disclosure  of  gay  sexual   identity   in   their   social   surroundings.   This   politics   is   the   protective   shield   against   the   discriminatory  politics  towards  gay  people  in  Serbia.     The   third   chapter   analyses   interviews   of   HIV   positive   gay   men   and   people   who   are  coming  from  the  different  professions  connected  to  with  HIV  positive  gay  men:    using   feminist   and   gay   studies’   methodology,   this   provides   evidence   of   their   everyday   life   practices   and   analyses   their   attitudes   and   notions   of   gay   identity   in   the   HIV/AIDS   discourse  in  Serbia.             At   the   beginning   of   the   thesis,   describing   the   context   of   the   Serbian   society   introduces  the  origin  of  the  social  construction  of  sexuality  and  the  rejection  of  it.  In  his   work   ‘The   Construction   of   Homosexuality’,   Jeffrey   Weeks   defines   the   importance   of   the   social  context  of  gay  sexuality  and  of  gay  representation  thus:  “  is  no  longer  possible  to   talk   of   the   possibility   of   a   universalistic   history   of   homosexuality;   it   is   only   possible   to   understand   the   social   significance   of   homosexual   behaviour,   both   in   terms   of   social   response   and   in   terms   of   individual   identity,   in   its   exact   historical   context.   To   put   it   another   way,   the   various   possibilities   of   same   sex   behaviour   are   variously   constructed   in   different   cultures   as   an   aspect   of   wider   gender   and   sexual   regulation.”4   Weeks   is   also   trying  to  analyse  the  construction  of  sexuality  and  sexual  identity  positions  grounded  in   ‘the   discourse   of   choice’   as   the   result   of   collective   or   individual   autonomy.5   Unfortunately,  the  discourse  of  choice  and  sexual  differences  were  deliberately  narrowed   in   Serbia   at   the   beginning   of   the   90s,   when   the   nationalistic   tendencies   in   Yugoslavia   culminated  in  the  outbreak  of  war.  Thus  far,  through  the  Serbian  tendency  to  ‘purify’  the   nation  from  the  ‘others’  of  any  kind,  the  choice  of  sexual  difference  has  been  narrowed.   The   recent   history   and   the   fall   of   Yugoslavia,   as   well   as   the   rise   of   an   independent   Serbia   through   xenophobic   leaderships   and   interethnic   conflicts   have   been   in   the   spotlight   of   numerous   international   and   domestic   researchers.6   The   rise   of   nationalistic   and   right   wing   policies   has   followed   not   only   that   internal   political   shift,   but   the   global   political                                                                                                                           4  See  Jeffrey  Weeks’  ‘The  Construction  of  Homosexuality’  in  Seidman,  1996,  p.42   5  See  Plummer,  1993,  pp.  121  -­‐130   6  See  Marković,  2001;  Bowman,  2005;  Jensen,  2005;  Milosavljević,  2006   11
  12. 12. change   brought   about   by   the   economic   crisis,   the   collapse   of   welfare   states   and   the   generic  shift  of  policy  to  the  right.  Ann  Marie  Smith  showed  how  populism  operates  when   she   described   the   impact   of   local   political   aspiration   towards   a   universal   mode   of   state   reform   through   the   processes   of   neoliberal   capitalism   and   globalisation.7   The   nationalistic   tendencies   in   the   Serbian   context   and   the   rise   of   populism   and   right-­‐wing   policies,   and   the   opposite   social,   anti-­‐nationalistic   movement   in   Serbia   during   the   90s,   have   marked   major   social   and   political   changes   in   the   traditional   Balkan   societies.8   Taking  the  global  perspective  on  the  processes  of  dismantling  welfare  states  in  the  period   of   post   communism   and   the   uncertainty   of   a   neo-­‐liberal   society   shaken   by   economic   crisis  and  social  tensions,  has  been  the  central  point  of  examination  in  the  work  of  Boris   Buden.9   Buden   refers   to   some   of   the   characteristics   of   post-­‐communist   societies   as   a   result   of   the   ‘re-­‐traditionalization’   of   the   past   and   the   role   of   ‘liberated’   religion   as   its   integral   part   of   these   characteristics.10   In   the   transition   of   its   society   from   socialism   to   neo-­‐liberal   capitalism,   Serbia   adopted   fully   these   processes   of   re-­‐traditionalization,   emerging  as  a  crucial  case  study  in  this  regard.  Nevertheless,  as  Dimitrije,  the  one  of  the   HIV  positive  gay  men  interviewed  noticed:   Dimitrije  –   Today,  it  seems  that  we  are  going  backwards,  thinking  that  we  are  going   forward  and  every  time  when  we  talk  about    transition  in  society...   transition  is  not  something,  at  the  end  of  the  day,  that  we  can  be  certain  of.     You  might  end  in  deep  in  a  hole  or  you  might  be  on  the  top  of  a  hill  with  a   beautiful  view  and  clean  air.  In  that  search  for  identity  in  society,  if  a  person   is  not  empowered  and  does  not  have  supportive  surroundings...then  such  a   person  will  not  take  care  of  himself.   In   the   case   of   Serbia,   the   reimposition   of   tradition   and   religion   and   the   role   of   religious  communities,  influence  widely  and  deeply  the  institutional  response  to  specific   social   problems.   The   connections   between   HIV/AIDS,   the   gay   sexual   minority   and   religious   fundamentalism   of   any   kind   (Orthodox   Christianity   as   well   as   Islam   and   Catholicism)   at   root   follow   the   logic   of   ‘non-­‐acceptance’   and   ‘non-­‐tolerance’   of   sexuality   per  se  as  fundamental  human  attribute.                                                                                                                           7  Smith,  1997,  p.115   8  Jensen,  2005   9  See  Buden,  2009   10  ibid,  p.89   12
  13. 13. The   context   of   Serbian   society   presented   in   the   first   chapter   could   not   be   addressed   fully   without   study   of   the   epidemiological   situation   of   HIV/AIDS   in   Serbia   today.  Those  data  are  showing  the  dynamics  of  the  epidemic  and  the  inadequate  result  of   the  institutional  response  towards  the  spread  of  HIV/AIDS.  The  construction  of  the  main   social   policy   document   about   HIV/AIDS   in   Serbia   from   2005   until   2015,   the   ‘National   Strategy  against  HIV/AIDS’    demonstrates  the  same  level  of  inconsistency  toward  the  gay   sexual  minority,  particularly  in  its    estimate  of  the    number  of  gay  people  in  Serbia  and   the  level  of  testing  for  HIV  that  has  been  carried  out  among  them.11  The  epidemiological   data  show  the  increasing  number  of  those  newly  infected,  particularly  among  the  group   of  men  who  have  sex  with  men  –  MSM.12  The  epidemiological  data  are  very  easily  reached   on   the   NGO’s   websites   and   are   thoroughly   updated.13   The   two   major   tendencies   in   the   HIV/AIDS  epidemic  in  Serbia  are  the  following;  firstly,  the  acceleration  in  the  number  of   the  newly  infected,  mostly  among  MSM,  and  secondly,  a  third  of  the  AIDS  cases  (33%)  are   first   diagnosed   in   the   disease’s   terminal   phase.14   The   acceleration   in   the   HIV/AIDS   epidemic   has   doubled,   firstly,   as   the   total   population   of   Serbia   has   decreased   by   some   5%15  since  2002.  Secondly,  the  number  of  cases  of  HIV/AIDS  has  increased,  especially  in   young  adult  males.16     Together   with   the   history   and   the   epidemiological   data   the   first   chapter   also   tackles   an   examination   of   the   educational   discourse   in   Serbia   about   HIV/AIDS.   The   silencing  of  gay  sexuality  is  at  the  core  of  the  aims  of  this  educational  process.  The  official   material   of   the   2nd   Serbian   PLHIV   Conference   provides   an   excellent   example   of   the   claim,17   offering   excellent   proof   as   to   how,   when   religion   comes   to   determine   social   practices,  religion  itself  then  takes  over  the  role  of  society.18  How  is  it  possible  to  provide   the  functions  of  the  state  and  biogovernmentality  in  such  circumstances?  What  about  the   de  facto  life-­‐management  of  minority  groups  that  arises  from  the  hypocrisy  of  the  state   and   society’s   discriminatory   politics?   Such   symbiosis   could   impede   the   ability   to   address   specific   social   questions   such   as   those   to   which   HIV/AIDS   give   rise.   Later   in   the   thesis,   the   case   of   Serbia,   and   the   present   state   of   HIV/AIDS   epidemic   and   gay   minority   in   the   country,  will  show  how  the  unity  of  re-­‐traditionalized  society  and  religion  is  undermining   efforts   to   deal   with   the   problem.   That   pattern   is   also   traced   in   the   processes   of                                                                                                                           11  See   12  See  Rakić  et  al.,  2010;  Ministry  of  Health  of  the  Republic  of  Serbia,  2010;,  2012;,  2012     13  See,  2012;,  2012   14  ibid   15  See   16  Rakić,  2010   17  Vukašinović  et  al.,  2012   18  Buden,  2009,  p.  166   13
  14. 14. representation   of   the   gay   sexual   minority   in   Serbia,   as   well   as   the   connection   between   representation   and   sexuality.   Tim   Stüttgen   expresses   this   connection   between   representations   and   sexuality   in   a   letter   to   the   Spanish   feminist   Beatriz   Preciado,   thus:       “Representation,  you  wrote  once,  ’belongs  together  with  medical  and  legal  discourses,  to   the  biopolitical  processes  of  normalization  and  control  of  bodies  and  sexuality’.”19     The   context   of   the   Serbian   society,   presented   in   the   first   chapter,   would   not   be   complete   without   the   biomedical   discourse.   The   introduction   of   biomedicine   and   biomedical   structuring   of   subjectivities   around   HIV/AIDS   provide   the   pattern   of   the   implementation  of  biogovernmentality  in  society,  introduced  and  examined  by  Foucault   in  ‘The  Birth  of  Biopolitics’,  and  further  developed,  at  the  molecular  levels  of  governing,   in    recent  times.20  The  work  of  Marsha  Rosengarthen  brings  the  biomedical  structuring  of   gay  identity  in  a  society  ruled  by  information  and  HIV/AIDS  control.21  The  body  politics   of   HIV   positive   gay   men   is   controlled   by   ARV   (antiretroviral)   therapy,   as   well   as   their   life   management.22   That   is   why   a   good   structuring   and   framing   of   social   policy   toward   HIV/AIDS   are   very   important   for   the   halting   of   the   epidemic.   The   recent   work   of   some   researchers   is   developing   our   understanding   of   new   social   organisation   around   shared   body   politics   in   the   gay   community.23   The   strategies   of   resistance   and   mimicry   are   guiding  the  gay  sexual  minority  in  Serbia.  Their  body  politics  are  structured  around  the   undetectability   of   the   virus,   and   the   undetectability   of   gay   identity   positions   in   widely   homophobic  and  discriminatory  surroundings.     The   work   of   Joao   Biehl   draws   on   the   biopolitical   and   pharmaceutical   processes   that   shape   identities   in   his   native   Brasil.24   Nevertheless,   the   biomedical   approach   to   HIV/AIDS   in   Brasilian   society   provides   an   insight   as   to   how   identity   politics   has   been   productively   structured   through   relations   against   ‘the   other’,   the   virus   and   the   representation   of   ‘the   other’.25   Such   identity   politics   is   important   for   similar   situations   worldwide.   For   Rosengarthen,   the   biomedical   construction   of   the   identity   of   HIV   infected   and  the  AIDS  patients  in  the  UK  is  an  inseparable  part  of  the  contemporary  subjectivity  of   the   PLHIV.   The   processes   of   the   pharmaceuticalization   of   AIDS   discourse,   and   the                                                                                                                           19  Stüttgen,  2009,  p.  44   20  Using  the  concept    of  the  molecular  level  of  biogoverning  (or  biogovernmentality),  we  have  to  consider  the   level  of  the  ‘tube’  and  the  ‘tube  testing’  where  the  identity  is  structured  by    positive  or  the  negative   biomedical  test  results  of  any  kind,  eg.  Elisa  testing  on  HIV  antibodies,  PCR  testing  on  HIV,  the  screening   testing  for  CD4  lymphocytes  as  the  marker  of  ARV  efficiency,  etc.,  See  Rose,  2007;  Rosengarthen,  2009;  Biehl,   2009;  Whitacre,  2011     21  ibid   22  Rosengarthen,  2009   23  Biehl,  2009;  Whitacre,  2011   24  Biehl,  2009   25  Rosengarthen,  2009   14
  15. 15. introduction   of   ARV   therapy,   are   shaping   new   identity   positions   for   PLHIV.   Nevertheless,   class  and  race  remain  the  defining  factors  of  the  life-­‐management  of  HIV  positive  gay  men   in   Brazil,   UK   and   Serbia   as   well.   The   political   position   espousing   ‘therapy   for   all’   is   still   at   the   heart   of   official   social   policy   in   low   income   countries   such   as   Serbia.   Unfortunately   the  present  economic  situation  is  not  conducive  to  such  policy.   The  organisation  of  life  and  the  body  politics  of  HIV  positive  gay  men  have  been   transformed  in  recent  years  by  the  regulatory  mechanism  of  seropositivity  and  the  viral   load.26   The   viral   load   defines   the   body   politics   of   the   carrier   of   the   HIV   and   brings   completely  new  insight  into  gay  social  organisation  in  the  AIDS  discourses.  ARV  therapy   has   brought   new   perspectives   for   HIV   positive   gay   men   and   provides   a   space   for   new   strategies   of   resistance   against   stigmatization   based   on   sexuality   or   illness   or   both.   Through   matching   sexuality   and   sexual   preferences,   HIV   positive   gay   men   are   trying   to   identify  similar  identity  positions  and  thus,  in  some  aspects,  are  aligning  their  everyday   life   practices   and   their   body   politics.   New   insights   into   the   organisation   and   the   life-­‐ management   of   HIV   positive   gay   men   in   specific   social   and   geographical   areas,   such   as   the   San   Francisco   Bay   Area,   has   brought   to   light   the   phenomenon   of   everyday-­‐life   practices   in   a   community   where   gay   sexuality   is   not   a   taboo   anymore.27     Such   insights   could  provide  a  basic  understanding  as  to  how  the  similar    patterns  of  behaviour  operate   in   communities   with   a   high   level   of   discrimination   and   stigmatisation   toward   HIV   positive   gay   men,   such   as   in   Serbian   society.   While   the   silencing   of   gay   sexuality   is   the   Serbian  response  to  gay  issues  (including  HIV/AIDS  among  gay  people  and  other  PLHIV),   visibility   and   recognition   are   the   progressive   factors   being   used,   in   Western   countries,   with  more  or  less  success,  to  address  the  same  issues.     The   second   chapter   addresses   directly   the   gay   sexual   minority   in   Serbia   and   its   recognition   by   and   in   Serbian   society.   The   philosophy   of   recognition,   as   developed   by   Alexander   Garcia-­‐Düttmann,   will   be   used   in   this   chapter.28   Reflecting   on   recognition   as   the   ‘question   of   the   voice   of   non-­‐identical’,   Garcia-­‐Düttmann   is   providing   a   starting   point   to   understand   the   processes   of   non-­‐acceptance   (non-­‐recognition)   of   minority   identity.                                                                                                                           26  See  Whitacre,  2011,  p.  V:  “Viral  load  is  a  measurement  of  the  amount  of  virus  in  an  organism  and  typically,   in  the  bloodstream.  In  the  case  of  HIV  this  measurement  is  obtained  through  a  viral  load  test,  formally   referred  to  as  the  Human  Immunodeficiency  Virus  RNA  Quantitative  and  is  expressed  in  virus  particles  or   copies  per  milliliter  (copies/mL)  of  blood  plasma.  As  an  important  distinction,  the  HIV  antibody  test,  not  the   HIV  viral  load  test,  is  the  recommended  method  for  the  diagnosis  of  HIV.  The  HIV  viral  load  test  is  used  for   monitoring  the  level  of  virus  after  the  initial  diagnosis  of  HIV.  Knowing  the  viral  load  is  crucial  in  matters  of   prognosis,  prevention  and  the  management  of  HIV  therapy,  but  the  perceptibility  of  the  viral  load   complicates  such  efforts  and  has  the  potential  to  create  scenarios  of  misrepresentation  and  subsequent   misunderstanding.”   27    ibid,  pp.  12-­‐14   28  Garcia-­‐Düttmann,  1996;  Garcia-­‐Düttmann,  2000   15
  16. 16. Garcia-­‐Düttmann   states:   “   order   to   gain   knowledge   of   what   the   pain   of   the   other   is,   then   the   failing   recognition   or   the   absence   of   a   response   may   suggest   an   absence   of   knowledge   –   an   absence   which   does   not   determine   the   failure   of   recognition...”.29   The   importance   of   recognition   of   the   gay   sexual   minority,   (and   in   its   core   gay   sexuality)   in   Serbia,   is   the   cornerstone   of   any   successful   state   policy   and   politics,   including   policy   about  HIV/AIDS  and  PLHIV.  In  talking  about  the  extent  of  the  influence  of  the  politics  of   recognition,  Garcia-­‐Düttmann  confirms:  “Politics  is  a  politics  of  recognition  to  the  extent   that   self-­‐consciousness,   identity,   difference,   culture,   society,   the   state   and   the   legal   system   cannot   be   formed   and   thought   without   recognition,   whatever   one’s   concept   of   recognition  may  be.”30  The  recognition  of  the  gay  sexual  minority  should  include  the  core   identity  factor  of  recognition;  that  is  –  the  recognition  of  gay  sexuality.  This  is  the  main   problem   for   Serbian   society   and   the   state,   otherwise   the   tumult   over   gay   sexual   minority   rights  in  Serbia  would  not  be  at  the  pitch  that  it  has  been  for  over  two  decades   –  and  that   is   before   even   taking   into   consideration   the   ever-­‐expanding   HIV/AIDS   epidemic.   The   discourse   of   AIDS,   also   prominent   in   the   work   of   Garcia-­‐Düttmann,   problematises   the   body  politics  of  the  gay  sexual  minority  and  wider  social  concepts  organized  around  the   same  discourse.  In  discussing  who,  how,  and  what  is  relevant  in  the  problematisation  of   AIDS,  Garcia-­‐Düttmann  points  out:  “Thinking  and  talking  about  AIDS  cannot  be  detached   from  the  context  of  practical  politics;  they  are  inscribed  in  it  and  create  it  with  the  first   word   and   first   thought”.31   In   this   way,   the   politics   around   HIV   positive   gay   men   in   Serbia   is   inadequate   to   deal   with   two   recognitions:   the   recognition   of   the   virus   (HIV,   and   consequently  AIDS)  at  the  organisational  level,  and  the  recognition  of  gay  sexuality.   The   aim   of   prevention   and   the   numerical   targets   to   achieve   this   that   have   been   missed   are   just   one   element   of   the   failing   politics   of   recognition.   In   1996,   Lewis-­‐Allen   pointed  out  the  relation  between  prevention  and  recognition:  “Prevention   –   even  today   the   most   important   weapon   against   AIDS   by   far   –   continues   to   be   misunderstood,   underfunded,   and   ineffectual;   prejudices   remain.”32   In   fighting   these   patterns   of   prejudices,   discrimination,   and   stigmatisation,   new   approaches   should   introduce   a   different   social   response   than   has   so   far   been   seen.   One   of   the   biggest   challenges   for   Serbian  society  and  the  global  perspective  of  HIV/AIDS  today  is  the  societal  inclusion  of   every   individual   HIV   positive   gay   man   and   the   transformation   of   all   of   the   social   structures  affecting  and  affected  by  HIV/AIDS.                                                                                                                             29  Garcia-­‐Düttmann,  2000,  p.9   30  ibid,  p.190   31  Garcia-­‐Düttmann,  1996,  p.49   32  Lewis-­‐Allen,  2000,  p.  127   16
  17. 17. Finally,   in   the   third   chapter,   the   interviews   conducted   as   part   of   this   study   are   analysed   and   this   analysis   is   integrated   into   the   theoretical   conceptualization   of   the   previous  two  chapters.       17
  18. 18. Chapter  I   1.1   Transitional  Serbian  society     To   examine   the   context   of   the   AIDS   epidemic   in   Serbia   is   unimaginable   without   an   introduction   to   recent   Serbian   history   and   politics.     Serbian   society   has   been   through   very   turbulent   times   in   the   last   two   decades.   As   one   of   the   six   republics   of   the   former   Socialist   Federal   Republic   of   Yugoslavia,   Serbia   gained   its   independence   through   the   bloody  Yugoslav  wars  of  the  1990s.  Initially,  many  historians  saw  the  start  of  the  fall  of   the  Yugoslav  Federation  immediately  after  the  death  of  President  Tito  in  1980.  The  rise   of   nationalism,   as   Bowman   explained,   occurred   as   the   response   to   the   socialist   legacy:   “The   discursive   shift   to   nationalist   discourse   occurred   through   the   intervention   of   republican   politicians   who   created   ‘national’   platforms   from   where   they   could   launch   bids   to   increase   their   holds   on   power   in   a   Yugoslav   state   characterised,   after   the   death   of   Tito,   by   a   vacuum   at   the   political   centre”.33   In   trying   to   describe   the   crisis   of   the   Yugoslav   socialist   model   Vladimir   Marković   refers   to   the   1990s   as:   “...years   marked   with   “war   transitions”,   bloody   destruction   of   the   federal   state   and   societal   disintegration.   The   notion  of  the  political  was  commonly  perceived  as  national,  which  was  very  convenient   for  awakening  of  ethnocentric  ressentiment,  the  rediscovery  of  traditional  values  and  the   rise  of  reactionary  right-­‐wing  ideologies”.34  The  rise  to  power  of  Slobodan  Milošević,  who   became   the   Yugoslav   Communist   Party   leader   in   Serbia   in   1987,   and   the   production   of   the  notorious  nationalist  document  –  called  ‘Memorandum’  –  by  the  Serbian  Academy  of   Science  and  Arts  in  Belgrade  in  1986,  by  the  end  of  the  1980s  and  throughout  the  1990s   had   become   the   cornerstones   of   nationalistic   Serbian   politics.35   The   political   elites   in   other   republics   of   Former   Yugoslavia,   especially   Slovenia   and   Croatia,   similarly   and   consequently   on   the   Serbian   nationalist   propaganda   and   the   political   establishment,   created   the   similar   nationalist   approaches   and   rhetoric.36   These   events   were   the   precursors   to   the   bloody   war   between   the   nations   and   the   republics   from   1991–1995,   culminating   with   the   end   of   Bosnian   war,   brokered   through   the   Dayton   Peace   Agreement.37  Even  though  war  clashes  were  avoided  directly  on  Serbian  soil,  Serbia  was   very   much   responsible   for   the   war   activities   played   out   by   the   ethno-­‐nationalist   elites,                                                                                                                           33  Bowman,  2005,  p.134   34  Marković,  2001,  p.27   35  See­‐Milosavljevi-­‐Jugoslavija-­‐kao-­‐zabluda   36  Bowman,  2005,  pp.135-­‐141   37  See   18
  19. 19. especially   in   Bosnia   and   Herzegovina.38   Catalysed   by   the   result   of   the   conflict   between   Serbs   and   Albanians   in   Kosovo,   on   March   24th   1999,   NATO   commenced   its   bombardment   of  Serbia,  which  continued  until  June  10th  1999.39  Alongside  these  developments,  during   the  1990s,  a  strong  anti–nationalistic  movement  had  grown  in  Serbian  society.   40  Jansen   points  out  that  both  Serbian  and  Croatian  nationalisms  were  based  in  the  repression  of   ‘the  other’.41   Traditional   Serbian   patriarchal  society  has  found  its  immaculate  imperative   in   the   nationalistic   ideology   of   ‘the   purity   of   the   nation’,   and   consequently,   there   is   no   place   for   any   form   of   ‘otherness’   that   might   undermine   it.   However,   after   the   defeat   of   Slobodan   Milošević   in   the   election,   and   post-­‐election   revolution   of   the   masses   on   the   streets   of   Belgrade   in   5th   October   2000,   and   as   a   result   of   the   exposure   of   Milošević’s   election  fraud,  Serbia  became  what  can  be  described  as  a  fully  transitional  society.42  The   end   of   socialist   Yugoslavia   and   the   post-­‐revolution   changes   in   various   different   countries   of   Eastern   Europe   at   the   end   of   the   1980s   and   the   beginning   of   1990s,   signalled   the   establishment  of  a  regional  period  of  transition  from  socialism  to  neo-­‐liberal  capitalism.   The  fallen  welfare  states  and  the  economic  insecurity,  encountering  the  same  problems   as   Northern   Europe   and   Northern   America,   are   facing   the   majority   of   people   with   problems   which   they   are   ill-­‐equipped   to   deal   or   cope   with.   In   this   situation,   Serbian   society   is   no   exception.   As   a   World   Bank   study   in   2005   exposed:   “Poverty   rose   sharply   in   the  1990s  and  remains  widespread.  Using  a  poverty  threshold  level  of  2.40€  a  day  finds   that   11   percent   of   the   Serbian   population   falls   below   the   poverty   line.”43   Economic   insecurity  has  followed  a  deeply  unstable  political  situation.  After  the  fall  of  the  regime  of   Slobodan  Milošević  in  October  2000,  the  government  of  the  Prime  Minister  Zoran  Djindjić   (2001–2003)  was  pursuing,  transparently,  a  path  to  a  democratic  Serbian  society  where   human   rights,   including   minority   rights,   would   have   been   high   in   the   list   of   the   priorities   of   social   reorganisation.   Recovering   from   the   wars   and   the   unstable   economic   and   political  situation  and  even  in  just  two  years,  Serbian  society  had  made  some  significant   progress   towards   the   path   of   a   democratic   society   with   respect   to   basic   human   rights.   However,  in  March  2003,  the  assassination  of  Prime  Minister  Djinjić  in  Belgrade,  slowed   and,  in  some  aspects,  reversed  these  attempts  at  democratic  progress,  driving  a  reversion   towards  revisionist  nationalistic  rhetoric  and  politics,  and  the  return  of  uncertainty  to  the   political  and  social  system  in  Serbia.44                                                                                                                           38  See­‐institutions_government/icj_bosnia_serbia_4392.jsp   39  See   40  Jansen,  2005   41  ibid,  2005,  p.85   42  See   43  Godinho  et  al.,  2005,  p.122   44  See   19
  20. 20. In   the   21st   century,   following   not   only   the   local,   but   the   global   reality   of   failing   welfare   states   and   the   rise   of   economic   and   ethnic   tensions,   Serbia   has   experienced   ‘democratic’  governments  which  have  shown  enormous  shifts  to  the  right  of  ideology  and   policy.   Following   the   intensification   of   the   global   economic   crisis   since   2007,   populism   has   been   on   the   rise.   As   a   political   strategy   and   tactic,   ever-­‐increasing   populism   has   been   a   key   tool   to   gain   power   in   nations   where   citizens   are   weakened   by   years   of   wars,   uncertainty   and   poor   economic   development.   The   transformation   of   Serbian   society   seems   to   be   uniting   nationalist   and   traditional   tendencies   with   the   European   Union   policy.   On   the   1st   March   2012   Serbia   gained   the   status   of   the   candidacy   for   the   EU   membership.45  When  there  is  no  external  enemy,  there  is  always  somebody  to  remind  the   people  of  the  purity  of  the  family,  the  nation  and  the  ‘motherland’.  As  different  analyses   demonstrate,   this   instability   is   still   present   in   Serbia:   “Although   the   acute   phase   of   war   may   have   ended,   tensions   continue   over   many   matters;   for   example:   Kosovo’s   recent   declaration   of   independence   from   Serbia;   tribunals;   the   status   of   refugees   and   returnees;   poverty;   instability   of   legal   institutions;   lack   of   health   and   social   services;   lack   of   opportunities   for   new   ways   of   knowing,   potential   for   involvement   in   societal   reorganization,   and   for   critical   thinking”.46   Since,   at   the   level   of   rhetoric   and   its   publication,   all   the   conflicts   between   former   Yugoslav   nations   and   states   are   no   longer   ‘politically  correct’  and  since  all  of  these  states  are  influenced  by  the  qualitative  lurch  in   the   economic   crisis   that   became   most   strongly   visible   in   2007,   the   easiest   way   to   base   populist  policy  on  the  creation  of  new  threats  to  the  national  interest  in  the  form  of  ‘the   other’.  Sexual  minorities  and  other  ethnic  minorities,  such  as,  for  example,  Roma  people   are  among  the  first  to  be  labelled  as  ‘different’  in  Serbian  society  and  therefore  to  come   under   threat   of   fascist   actions.   As   Anna   Marie   Smith   defined:   “A   hegemonic   authoritarian   project   must   provide   the   necessary   structures   for   these   contradictory   identifications.   A   total  exclusion  of  the  demonized  figure  may  weaken  the  authoritarian  project’s  claim  to   universality.  It  must  pretend  to  accommodate  virtually  every  legitimate  social  element;  it   must   appear   to   be   utterly   unaffected   by   the   multiplication   of   new   social   differences.   At   the   same   time,   it   must   pursue   populist   strategies.   It   must   mobilize   and   reproduce   the   reactionary   forces   that   provide   its   political   momentum.   It   must   also   drag   the   political   centre  so  far  to  the  right  that  the  conservative  elements  within  the  centrist  and  centre-­‐ left   parties   become   more   prominent   and   move   their   parties   to   the   right.   This   in   turn   contributes  to  the  increasing  alienation  among  the  voters  who  traditionally  support  the   centre-­‐left   and   leftist   parties,   such   as   progressive   lesbians   and   gays,   workers,   blacks,   and   feminists.   Ultimately,   the   authoritarian   populism   of   the   new   right   and   the                                                                                                                           45  See­‐europe-­‐17225415   46  Daiute,  2010,  p.  23   20
  21. 21. neoconservatives   is   itself   contradictory   since   it   depends   simultaneously   on   the   permanent   mobilization   of   a   small   cadre   of   right-­‐wing   voters   and   the   virtual   disenfranchisement   of   the   majority   of   the   electorate.”47   In   addressing   the   topic   of   contemporary   fascism   and   its   political   continuing   manifestation,   Marković   posits   its   resurgence  on  the  ‘ideological  crisis  of  the  West’  and  admits  that  the  survival  of  fascism   globally  is  occurring  through  very  subtle  and  disguised  adaptations.48  In  Serbia,  as  well  as   in  the  other  republics  of  ex-­‐Yugoslavia,  the  ideology  of  neoliberal  capitalism  has  gained   the  substantial  power  it  has  in  combination  with  a  ‘transitional’  hybrid  social  system.   49   This   socio-­‐political   ground   has   been   and   continues   to   be   very   productive   for   the   ‘disguised’   fascism   and   national-­‐socialist   tendencies   targeting   ‘others’   among   the   population,  especially  sexual  minorities.  Yet  the  process  of  becoming  a  full  member  of  EU   has  put  Serbia  constantly  in  the  spotlight  vis  a  vis  having  to  negotiate  national  interests   under  scrutiny.  One  of  the  crucial  moments  in  the  recent  political  developments  in  Serbia   was   Parliament’s   vote   for   the   Anti-­‐discriminatory   law   in   2009.   The   deputies   voted   on   26th   March   2009,   with   the   majority   of   127   votes   in   250   seats   Parliament   for   the   Anti-­‐ discriminatory   law   in   which   are   addressed   issues   of   equality   and   which   makes   illegal   discrimination   of   any   kind.50   Nevertheless,   in   the   same   debate,   an   amendment   to   the   penal   code   which   would   have   explicitly   outlawed   discrimination   of   PLHIV   and   their   families  was  rejected.51  In  2009,  a  parliamentary  group  of  9  members  of  the  Parliament   came   together   to   lobby   the   Serbian   Parliament   and   parliamentarians   on   HIV/AIDS   and   the   reproductive   health   issues.   There   has   been   no   achievement   around   this   issue   but   mere  paying  of  the  lip  service  and  showing  off  of  political  correctness.  It  is  expected  that   the  Parliamentary  group  will  continue  its  work  in  the  newly  formed  National  Assembly   which  commenced  its  term  of  office  in  July  2012.  It  would  be  productive  if  the  Parliament   focused  its  attention  on  regulations  concerning  sexual  and  reproductive  health  education   in  schools.  Nonetheless,  today  in  Serbia,  the  question  of  the  implementation  of  existing   law   and   how   the   legislature   deals   with   this,   is   the   crux   of   the   matter   for   vulnerable   social   groups.52     The  Ministry  of  Health  of  the  Republic  of  Serbia  has  a  track  record  of  5  years  of   strategic   responses   in   dealing   with   HIV/AIDS   issues   and   is   providing   the   guidance   through  its  cornerstone  document  –  called  ‘National  strategy  for  the  responses  to  HIV                                                                                                                           47  Smith,  1997,  p.115   48  Marković,  2002,  p.23   49  Buden,  2011,  pp.72-­‐82   50   51  See  www.q-­‐club/   52  Dimitrijević  et  al.,  2010,  pp.  9-­‐31   21
  22. 22. infection  and  AIDS’  which  was  put  in  place  from  2005  onward.53  The  regulatory  body  of   the   politics   around   the   AIDS   epidemic   and   HIV   infection   in   Serbia   is   the   Republic   National   AIDS   Committee   (RAC)   formed   in   2001.54   The   chairing   of   the   RAC   is   the   responsibility  of  the  Ministry  of  Health  of  the  Republic  of  Serbia,  with  the  participation  of   some  other  Ministries  (  Education,  Work  &  Social  Policy,  Internal  Affairs,  Defence,  Youth   &   Sport)   and   from   the   civil   sector,   NGO’s   dealing   with   PLHIV,   health   institutions,   the   media,   and   some   international   agencies   such   as   UNAIDS,   UNICEF,   UNDP,   etc.55   Through   the  medical  and  the  educational  systems,  collectively,  those  institutions  are  supposed  to   be   the   enactors   of   the   processes   of   the   biogovernmentality     and   pharmaceuticalization   of   public   health   where   HIV/AIDS   are   concerned.   There   have   been   cursory   references   to   address   the   challenges   of   the   gay   sexual   minority   and   of   HIV/AIDS56   that   show   little   serious   intent,   beyond   using   the   ‘politically   correct’   rhetoric.   Even   those   initiatives   funded   by   international   organisations,   such   as   UNICEF,   are   well-­‐intentioned   but   feeble   and   inadequate.   Among   recent   publications,   there   is   only   one   addressing   the   behaviour   of   MSM   –   a   piece   of   work   that   was   carried   out   by   the   Ministry   of   Health   in   September   2010.57   These   studies   were   starting   point   for   the   creation   of   the   ‘National   Strategy   against  HIV/AIDS’  document,  laying  out,  as  it  was  supposed  to  do,  the  basis  upon  which   Parliament   intended   to   carry   out   its   mandate;   to   lead   the   response   of   the   state   to   the   prevalence   and   growth   of   HIV/AIDS   up   until   2015.58   However,   in   July   2012,   Serbia   elected   a   new,   right-­‐wing   President   and   a   strongly   right-­‐wing   coalition   government   to   lead  the  country.59   Even   whilst   legal   frameworks   in   Europe   and   North   America   are   opening   their   systems   up   to   anti-­‐discriminatory   policy60,   in   Serbia,   even   at   this   point   –   when   the   Serbian  legislature  is  expected  to  follow  EU  regulations  in  practice  –  in  the  everyday  life   of   its   citizens,   such   policies   as   exist   are   not   being   implemented.61   Discriminatory   practices   and   stigmatisation   are   widespread   in   Serbia,   especially   against   some   social   groups  like  Roma  people  and  the  gay  sexual  minority.62  The  materials  of  the  right-­‐wing   organisations   show   the   present   state   of   non-­‐acceptance   and   non-­‐tolerance   of   sexual   differences  and,  in  their  particular  use  of  quasi-­‐scientific  and  semi-­‐religious  language,  are                                                                                                                           53  See   54  Godinho  et  al.  2006,  p.  132   55  ibid,  p.15   56  Cucić,  2002,  p.15   57  Rakić  et  al.,  2010   58  See   59See­‐lawyers-­‐aides-­‐karadzic-­‐mladic   60  See  Beger,  1996;  Rayside,  1998;  Herman,  2000;  Watney,  2000;  Dorais,  2010   61  See  Gajin  et  al.,  2007;  Dimitrijević  et  al.,  2010   62  See  Cucić,  2002;  Gajin  et  al.,  2007;  Rakić,  2010;  Ministry  of  Health  of  the  Republic  of  Serbia,  2010;­‐izvestaj-­‐2011/     22
  23. 23. trying   to   portray   homosexuality   as   a   disease,   or   a   fashion   trend,   which   is   a   threat   to   both   society’s  fragile  youth  and  the  unity  of  the  nation.63    In  his  famous  article  ‘The  Ideology  of   Homosexuality’,  first  published  in  the  ‘New  Serbian  Political  Thought’  on-­‐line  magazine,   and  before  being  printed  in  the  magazine  Pečat,  Glišić  has  referred  to  homosexuality  in   general   as   a   concept   whose   ‘totalitarian   intolerance’64   should   not   be   tolerated   within   society  because  it  is  extremely  ‘anti-­‐social,  aggressive,  a  betrayal  and  on  top  of  everything   else   promotes   the   consumer   society’.65   The   only   possible   defender   against   such   ‘intolerant   totality’   is   a   ‘healthy   society’   where   there   is   no   place   for   such   an   unhealthy   practice   as   homosexuality.66   Particularly   when   considering   the   stigmatisation   of   HIV   positive   gay   men   vis   a   vis   illness,   it   is   very   significant   to   see   how   this   ‘scientific’   approach   attempts   to   define   the   notion   of   ‘healthy/non-­‐healthy’.67   Homosexuality,   here,   is   perceived   as   undermining   a   healthy   society’s   safety   through   the   ‘unhealthy’   practice   of   the   individual.   Consequently   it   should   not   be   tolerated   by   society.   In   this   time   of   crisis   within  the  post-­‐communist  East  and  the  neo-­‐liberal  West,  when  the  preservation  of  the   family,   nation,   religion   and   welfare   states   is   seen   to   be   under   threat,   any   attempt   even   to   acknowledge   the   existence   of   ‘otherness’   is   beyond   contemplation.68   In   his   article,   ‘Soft   Occupation’,  Antonić  expresses  opinion  that  the  West  is  responsible  for  the  simplification   of   the   anti-­‐globalist   scene   in   Serbia.   According   to   him,   such   simplification   arises   as   the   result   of   the   state   persecution   of   several   fascistic   organisations.69   This   is,   of   course,   the   way   such   right-­‐wing   thinkers   promote   and   give   rationale   for   the   existence   of   fascist   organisations.   LGBT   activists   and   their   organisations   are   the   ‘usual   suspects’   in   such   circumstances.   Marko   Živković   explains   a   similar   pattern   of   behaviour   in   Serbia   in   his   work   on   ‘the   other’   in   the   unified   social   matrix   of   the   wartime   Serbian   society   of   the   1990s.70  In  his  text  ‘Ex-­‐Yugoslav  Masculinities  under  the  Female  Gaze,  or  Why  Men  Skin   Cats,   Beat   up   Gays   and   Go   to   War’,   he   attempts   to   address   the   issues   of   the   gay   community  and  gay  sexuality  in  the  media,  but  deals  mostly  with  the  normativisation  of   gay   subjectivity.71   One   fundamental   mistake   made   by   rightists,   as   well   as   some   LGBT   organisations   in   Serbia,   is   in   the   use   of   the   term   ‘gay   sexual   minority’   as   a   unifying   concept  for  gay  people.  This  was  only  recently  addressed  by  some  gay  activists  through                                                                                                                           63  See  Antonić,  2009;  Glišić,  2009;,  2011   64  Glišić,  2009,  p.17   65  ibid,  p.16   66  ibid,  2009,  pp.15-­‐17   67  The  persistence  of  the  attitude  /  belief  that  homosexuality  is  a  psychiatric  illness  (a  deviance),  and  the   notion  that  HIV/AIDS  is  a  form  of  punishment  for  deviant  sexual  behaviour,  is  at  the  root  of  the  rightists’   discourse  around  HIV/AIDS  and  homosexuality  in  Serbia.         68  Buden,  2009   69  Antonić,  2009,  pp.  8-­‐10;  Antonić,  2010   70  Živković,  2006   71  Skrozza,  2009,  pp.  15-­‐17   23
  24. 24. their   efforts   to   explain   the   failure   of   the   organisation   of   the   LGBT   Parade   in   2011.72   Unfortunately,   rare   gay   publications,   such   as   ‘Optimist’,   are   still   failing   to   accept   that   gay   sexual  minority  is  a  heterogeneous  group.  As  for  the  editors  and  authors  included  in  this   publication,   patronising   messages   to   its   readers   about   body   image,   the   political   implications  of  gay  issues,  gay  life-­‐style  and  behaviour,  simply  reflect  the  poverty  of  their   ideas  and  their  lack  of  perception  of  the  diversity  of  gay  people  in  Serbia.  This  is  just  the   other  side  of  the  coin  which  is  to  be  found  in  the  response  (and  absence  of  it)  from  state   institutions   to   the   challenges   of   HIV/AIDS   among   gay   people.   This   is   most   obviously   apparent   in   the   silencing   and   the   rejection   of   gay   sexuality.   This   rejection   also   persists  in   the  gay  sexual  minority  itself,  especially  if  a  person  is  HIV  positive.  That  is  why  the  body   politics   of   ‘health’   mimicry   is   influencing   the   increase   of   HIV   infections   and   the   spread   of   the   AIDS   epidemic.   What   these   attempts   have   in   common   with   the   state   policies   towards   the   gay   sexual   minority   in   Serbia,   is   the   woefully   inadequate   sexual   education   that   still   prevails.   Indeed,   this   was   identified   by   those   interviewed   for   this   thesis   as   the   biggest   problem  in  Serbian  society.   Vladimir  -­‐   V:  I  would  like  to  change  a  lot.  It  is  outrageous  that  some  academic  books   still  in  use  continue  to  identify  homosexuality  as  a  disease;  e.g.  as  number  of   psychiatric  text  books  do.  Campaigns  that  are  supposed  to  focus  on   protection  against  STDs  are  always  very  general,  and  take  as  their  starting   point  the  presupposition  that  the  whole  of  the  population  is  heterosexual.   Z:  With  the  nuclear  heterosexual  family  at  its  centre?   V:  Yes.  The  immediate  target  population  is  heterosexual  and  that  is  taken  for   granted.  There  is  a  lack  of  specific  information  relating  to  specific  social   groups;  gay  people  for  example,  with  all  references  to  vaginal  sexual   intercourse  without  any  mention  of  anal  sexual  intercourse.  I  would  say  that   anal  intercourse  is  not  only  a  sexual  practice  of  gay  people,  but  of   heterosexuals  as  well.  The  same  goes  for  risky  behaviour.  We  should  also  be   provided  with  positive  attitudes  in  this  information.  Distinction  should  also   be  made  between  prevention  from  becoming  infected  with  HIV  and,  having   been  infected,  living  with  HIV.  Education  should  not  be  scary  because  you   have  to  motivate  someone  to  act.  You  should  start  some  process  that  will   encourage  understanding  rather  than  rejection,  and  if  you  discover  a                                                                                                                           72  Milićević,  2011,  pp.181-­‐184   24
  25. 25. positive  attitude  in  somebody  you  should  not  shatter  it.  You  should  present   the  perspective  that,  with  ARVs,  life  can  go  on  with  HIV.  The  other  thing  is   the  need  for  education  among  the  gay  population.  The  majority  of  the   Serbian  population  usually  associate  gay  people  with  HIV.  People  think  that,   if  you  have  HIV/AIDS,  your  sexual  life  should  end.  I  often  ask  if  they  would   have  sex  with  someone  who  is  HIV  positive  and  am  also  asked  the  same   question  in  turn?  My  answer  is  ‘yes’,  and  their  reaction  to  that  is  always   shocking.  I  then  go  further  and  ask  them  why  it  is  that  they  use  the  condom   during  the  intercourse,  and  say  that  this  is  because  every  sexual  partner  they   have  could  be  an  HIV  carrier.  I  tell  them  they  are  somehow  even  safer  if  they   know  that  the  person  they  are  sleeping  with  is  HIV  positive,  which  in  turn   should  make  them  use  full  protection  and  take  every  precaution.   Natasa  and  Violeta  -­‐   N:  We  should  instigate  a  completely  new  educational  process,  starting  with   the  dismantling  of  the  existing  one!  There  has  to  be  a  systematic  approach  to   education  which  means  that  you  accept  that  you  cannot  transform  someone   by  simply  making  them  undergo  a  simple  training  and  assuming  the  job  is   done.  Education  is  a  process  and  it  should  be  tackled  as  such.  When  people   seem  to  change  their  attitudes  after  one  training,  we  are  very  proud  of  such   an  achievement.  But  actually  it’s  much  harder  for  people  to  make  a  true   change  in  their  attitudes  rather  than  to  learn  superficially  some  new   information  or  to  become  familiar  with  it.  We  tried  to  educate  some  health   workers;  they  appeared  to  learn  something  and  returned  to  their  duties,  but   nothing  changed  in  practice.  That’s  the  problem,  it’s  pointless.  It’s  an   investment  of  time,  effort  and  money  but  they  don’t  use  it.  State  institutions   are  very  immune  to  change.  When  health  staff  return  to  their  duties,  it’s   ‘business  as  usual’.     V:  When  we  are  talking  about  education  ...  if  that  education  is  not  supported   outside  of  the  learning  context,  then  we  haven’t  achieved  any  results.    If  we   want  to  change  various  attitudes,  then  there  are  some  necessary  conditions   for  that  to  happen,  like  at  policy  level  and  in  the  community.  Education  has   to  go  hand  in  hand  with  the  implementation  of  the  new  knowledge  acquired.   At  the  moment,  education  is  organised  for  people  and  that’s  it.  We  don’t  care   25