In light of the ongoing debate surrounding the controversial Gender Equality Law, which has sparked significant interest and concern among various professional circles in Serbia, Montenegro, and the Republic of Srpska, His Holiness Serbian Patriarch kyr Porfirije held discussions today at the See of the Patriarchate in Belgrade with a group of eminent Serbian linguists. Responding to the invitation of the Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church for consultation on one of the most serious issues facing the Serbian people, the following individuals participated: Prof. Dr. Sreto Tanasić, President of the Committee for the Standardization of the Serbian Language and Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of the Republic of Srpska; Prof. Dr. Aleksandar Milanović, President of the Council for the Serbian Language and Professor at the Department of Serbian Language and South Slavic Languages at the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade; Dr. Jovanka Radić, Scholarly Advisor at the Institute for the Serbian Language of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and a member of the Main Scholarly Committee for Language and Literature; Prof. Dr. Isidora Bjelaković, Head of the Department of Serbian Language and Linguistics at the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad, and Secretary of the Department for Literature and Language of the Matica Srpska; Prof. Dr. Viktor Savić from the Department of Serbian Language and South Slavic Languages at the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade and Senior Scholarly Associate at the Institute for the Serbian Language of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts; Dr. Marina Spasojević, Senior Scholarly Associate at the Institute for the Serbian Language of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and member of the Council for the Serbian Language; and Assistant Prof. Dr. Katarina Begović from the Department of Serbian Language and South Slavic Languages at the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade, along with Protopresbyter-Stavrophoros Dr. Velibor Džomić, Professor of Canon Law at the Faculty of Law in Kragujevac.
All participants in the discussion agreed that the implementation of this, according to legal experts, unconstitutional law would have lasting and harmful consequences for the expression, communication, and mutual relations, which further means the opinions and lives of the Serbian people. It was noted that only a small part of the issue pertains to linguistic matters, while the law itself imposes a process, as emphasized in recent days, of “transforming” individual and societal consciousness through language.
The fact was reiterated that the case of the Gender Equality Law represents the forced implementation of the so-called gender ideology and policy, while that practice is not mandatory in any European Union member state.
Patriarch Porfirije emphasized that language defines the identity of a nation, and any violent and ill-considered alteration can have significant consequences for the self-awareness of a people, such as the Serbian people, as the Church continually witnesses and emphasizes.
It was pointed out that the competent authorities not only fail to prevent but also demonstrate excessive tolerance towards a group of non-governmental organizations that persistently and systematically promote gender ideology, policy, and practice through their direct presence in preschool institutions and schools, and that they propagate the idea that even the youngest children can choose their gender and sex (up to the possibility of medical sex change).
Serbian linguists informed His Holiness the Patriarch that there is great interest in the broader scholarly circles, particularly among linguists, jurists, political scientists, sociologists, educators, and others, in overcoming this significant challenge that has been placed before Serbian science, education, culture, and society as a whole – the majority population and other communities living in Serbia. In the end, they expressed satisfaction and gratitude for the initiative, participation, and support provided by the Serbian Orthodox Church in essential matters concerning the preservation of the spiritual identity of the Serbian people and the personal dignity of every human being. They jointly acknowledged that necessary attention will be dedicated to this issue that disturbs the public in the forthcoming period.