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Macedonians march in capital city’s 1st LGBTQ2 Pride parade

Macedonia holds first Pride march as it seeks to join EU
WATCH ABOVE: Macedonia holds first Pride march as it seeks to join EU

The first Gay Pride march through Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, took place Saturday in a festive and incident-free atmosphere despite a countermarch organized by religious and “pro-family” organizations.

READ MORE: Macedonia applies to join NATO by next summit in December

People from across Macedonia took part, along with marchers from neighbouring Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia and other countries. Participants walked and danced through the streets until they reached central City Park where speeches and entertainment took place.

READ MORE: Thousands mark 50 years after Stonewall LGBTQ2 rebellion in New York

Among the performers was local pop star Tamara Todevska with the song, “Proud” — she performed it at last month’s Eurovision Song Contest.

Politicians and diplomats attended, including the U.S. Charge d’Affaires Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm.

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Lady Gaga tells crowd at Stonewall ‘I would take a bullet for you’
Lady Gaga tells crowd at Stonewall ‘I would take a bullet for you’

“This year Skopje joined more than 70 Pride (marches) and the USA are very proud to be part of this,” Schweitzer-Bluhm told reporters. “There is a lot of progress here in North Macedonia but still a lot has to be done.”

Natasa Jovanovska, 40, a professor, said she had been inspired by one of her own professors who had asserted the right of the LGBT people “to be what they are and what they want to be.”

READ MORE: Macedonia wins Greek approval to add ‘North’ to its name

The countermarch was organized by an organization called “Alliance for Life” and supported by priests from the Macedonian Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic nuns, Christian evangelicals as well as members of the Muslim community.

Families with small children paraded, accompanied by folk instruments and dressed in green t-shirts proclaiming, among other slogans, that “Gender is biology, not ideology” and extolling “Marriage, Family, Future.”

READ MORE: What are the Stonewall riots? How a gay bar raid started an uprising and LGBTQ2 Pride

Saso R., 45, who wouldn’t give his last name, claimed that he had “nothing against LGBT people” being who they are, as long as they kept it at home.

“I don’t like them emphasizing they are different. Why do they need that? To get some benefit, profit … what?”

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