In June 2017 Ana Brnabić became the first female and the first gay prime minister of the conservative country of Serbia. She is the world’s fifth-ever openly LGBT head of state.
(Editor's note: October is LGBT History Month, celebrated annually to recognize the notable achievements of LGBT people throughout time. Each day this month, Equality Forum will feature one LGBT icon who has made notable contributions to society and SDGLN will publish the story here in the Causes section. View previous LGBT History Month icons HERE.)
Brnabić was born in Belgrade, the capital and largest city in Serbia. Her early education focused on science and mathematics. She received her bachelor's degree in business administration from the Northwood University of Michigan, and in 2001 earned her MBA in marketing from the University of Hull in the United Kingdom.
Brnabić worked in program management, communications and economic development for Serbian local governments, international organizations and private industry. Among her many jobs, she worked with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Belgrade as senior program coordinator for the Serbia Municipal Economic Growth Activity Sector and as director of information and public outreach for the Serbia Local Government Reform Program.
In 2007 Brnabić became the acting director in Belgrade of Booz Allen Hamilton, a leading American management consulting firm, where she led the Serbia Competitiveness Project for USAID. Brnabić also served as president of the management board of Serbia’s National Alliance for Local Economic Development. In 2011 she became the communications and strategic development director of Continental Wind Serbia, where she helped oversee investments for a wind park.
In 2016 Brnabić was appointed public administration minister of Serbia, her first political position. A year later she was elected prime minister.
As the country’s leader, Brnabić works to move Serbia closer to membership in the European Union (EU), modernize the nation, reform education, eliminate corruption and improve foreign relations, particularly with Russia, China and the United States.
According to The New York Times, roughly half the Serbian population views homosexuality as an illness. The country’s LGBT population has endured a history of discrimination, including violence during the 2010 pride march. Same-sex marriages are not legally recognized. On September 17, 2017, Brnabić marched with several hundred gay activists at the Belgrade pride march. She is the first head of state from any Balkan nation to attend a major LGBT celebration.
Brnabić's longtime partner, Milica Djurdjic, a doctor, gave birth to their son, Igor, in 2019. Brnabić's office issued an official statement about the birth and identified Igor as the first child in history born to the same-sex partner of a head of state.
“We want to send a signal that diversity makes our society stronger.”