Montenegro’s First Out Gay Man Endures Persecution, Skypes Capital’s First Pride March


Zdravko Cimbaljevic came out in 2010 and earned the distinction of being Montenegro's first out gay man. From that moment on, his life got much more difficult. The death threats and assaults began almost immediately, Buzzfeed reports, with his father disowning him, his extended family cutting him off, his neighbor attacking him in the street, and receiving death threats like one posted in public that read:

With his blown-out ass, we announce that on the day of July 24 2013 in 12 a.m., in front of the Walls of The Old Town Budva, his soul will depart in death, our afflicted and never overf–ked brother … ZDRAVKO CIMBALJEVIC. Commemoration of the dearly screwed deceased will be held in former Government building.

Despite Cimbaljevic reporting all incidents to the authorities, and despite Montenegro having LGBT protections written into law to meet the requirements for admission into the European Union, no prosecutions have been taken. Fearing for his safety and believing that the authorities had no desire to halt his persecution, Cimbaljevic sought asylum in Canada this summer after the Pride march in Budva, an action he says he wouldn't have taken if just one person had been convicted.

This past Sunday the country's capital of Podgorica held its first-ever Pride march, which Cimbaljevic attended via Skype. Violence did erupt, but unlike the march in Budva, police in Podgorica locked down the parade route and protected the marchers from harm. The event was attended to and supported by government officials. 

Cimbaljevic's activism and coming out has helped to dramatically shift the climate towards homosexuals in the country in a relatively short amount of time.

“I was frightened in the beginning, but it really was easier for me than it was for Zdravko,” [Stevan] Milivojevic said. Gay and lesbian issues have been part of the national discussion since Cimbaljevic came out — people are at least aware that LGBTs exist within Montenegro now. “My parents and friends and all my surrounding people supported me,” he said.


  1. says

    @Paul, why? Certainly the first publicly out Montenegrin.

    I’ve followed him on FB since the Budva Pride, and he posts all of the threats in a special album there (they’ll no doubt help his asylum case as well). It’s pretty disgusting, and depressing that a lot of the people posting are young: shows what their parents teach them. They shouldn’t be allowed to use technology.

  2. Strepsi says

    @PAUL R — why? I do not think you realize that in many parts of the world no one is “out” in our sense (and no one is allowed to claim not to be religious either).

    Zdravko Cimbaljevic =
    H E R O

    Welcome to Canada!

  3. Joesph Foster says

    From just the little I’ve read, Zdravko Cimbaljevic is a great man who knowingly put himself in a position of imminent and extensive harm for the betterment of the lives of his peers. His selfless action has, indeed, improved the lot of those peers exponentially and in a very short time frame.

    It is persons such as him that we need to remember when we begin to feel that one person cannot make a difference in this world. There are many concrete examples!

    May he have a wonderful life in beautiful Canada.

  4. Derrick from Philly says

    Mr Cimbaljevic is definitely Courageous.

    But be fair to PAUL R. I don’t know if this is what PAUL R meant, but there are always Gay folks who must be OUT. Because of their gender role none-conforming attributes they couldn’t get into a “closet” if they tried with all their hearts and minds.

  5. DB says

    Derrick from Philly, that is an extremely homophobic and inaccurate stereotypical statement. Gay people are not somehow less gender-conforming than heterosexuals. We just happen to be able to fall in love with people of our same sex. We have know at least since the early 1970’s that the idea that gay people have other characteristics aside from sexual orientation that differ from heterosexuals is inaccurate.

  6. Derrick from Philly says

    @ “Gay people are not somehow less gender-conforming than heterosexuals. We just happen to be able to fall in love with people of our same sex.”

    DB, I didn’t say ALL Gay people are gender role non-conforming. I’m saying that for many decades many of us who were “OUT” had that status because we had no choice.

    DB, you sound/read like a very sincere and thoughtful man, and so I’m not going to be my usual b.tchy self in my response. I respect your comment.