Ikea flies rainbow flag in Belgrade in support of LGBTQ rights
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Ikea is reportedly flying a rainbow flag in front of its store in Belgrade to show support for the LGBTQ community in Serbia, where the furniture giant supports draft legislation that would recognize same-sex partnerships.

Ikea first backed the proposal on March 10, when Ikea South East Europe CEO Sarah Del Fabbro participated in the first formal public conversation on the draft, which was arranged by the ministry of human, minority rights and social dialogue, according to Bloomberg.

The Swedish chain said it is the only company in Serbia to have publicly supported the law, Bloomberg reported.

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“Many people in this country still believe that homosexuality is a disease, and they are still inclined to discriminate the LGBT+ people,” Del Fabbro reportedly said. “I feel very proud that we took a step publicly to support the adoption of the law. I hope we’ll not remain the only brand to do so openly.”

According to advocacy groups cited by Bloomberg, the coronavirus pandemic called attention to a surge in abuse and hate speech targeting the LGBTQ community in Europe.

Trends in Eastern Europe have ranged, Bloomberg reported. Poland and Hungary have restricted gay rights, while Serbia and Montenegro legalized same-sex partnerships last year.

Last month, hundreds of companies signed on to a coalition in support of the Equality Act, a sweeping civil rights bill that would increase protections for LGBTQ people in areas including education, housing and employment.

The companies that backed the measure include Apple, PepsiCo, General Motors, CVS, Facebook, Marriott, Capital One, Starbucks and Home Depot.