Even though Croatia has come a long way in LGBTQAI+ rights ever since decriminalizing homosexual activities way back in 1977, when it was part of Yugoslavia, the young country still has a long way to go towards fully embracing gay culture. The bulk of the problem consists in Croatia’s tradition being deeply rooted in Catholicism, with over 84% of the population claiming to be Roman Catholic. Even though Croatia is secular on paper, in reality the Church is a massive influence on the state, and an even bigger influence on the majority of the population which still holds on to traditional, Christian values. In such a population, LGBTQAI+ persons and partnerships are generally frowned upon.
On the 29th of June, 2002, the first-ever gay pride march was organised in Croatia. LGBTQAI+ people went to the streets for the first time, and let Zagreb’s citizens know that they’re there, and they experience real issues like the rest of them. This proved problematic for the Catholic majority, and expected acts of verbal and physical violence ensured, with the parade even being tear-gassed. Despite the rocky start, this is seen as a turning point for the rights of the Croatian LGBTQAI+ community. The parade is held regularly every year since then, peaking in 2013, with over 10 000 attendants protesting for the right to same-sex-marriage. The first gay pride march in Split, held on the 11th of June, 2011, had a similar faith, with verbal and physical violence, and, of course, tear-gas. Still, the pride-march is still held annually, with less and less excesses happening every year.
Still, the future is looking much gayer (pun intended) for Croatia. In 2011, the island of Rab, home to the first gay-club in Yugoslavia in the 80’s, became the first gay-friendly destination to advertise itself as such (The Happy Island, or in other words, The Gay Island). In 2014, following a four-year legal battle with public authorities, an 18-year-old boy was allowed to change his personal documents without undergoing sterilizing gender reassignment surgery. Even though marriage was defined as a union between a man and a woman in 2013 via public consensus held by the conservative party In The Name Of Family, the state issued the Life Partnership act the next year, effectively evading the gay-marriage ban.The first gay-wedding in Zagreb followed within a month, with the number increasing each year. In 2018, the organisation Rainbow Families released a free picture-book for children on their website titled My Rainbow Family about same-sex families with children. Whereas in 1983 miss-Yugoslavia Ana Sasso advertised the popular Dalmatian soft-drink Pipi, this year an advertisement featuring a gay-couple sunbathing on the beach while holding hands was released, the caption reading The weather changed, as did the times. Recently this year, the gay-couple Ivo Šegota and Mladen Kožić finally got the right to adopt two children after a 3-year long legal battle, being the first same-sex parents in Croatia.
Despite things getting better each year, scandals are still common. In 2018, copies of the My Rainbow Family picture-books were set on fire in Kaštela. In the same year, an apartment-owner in Zadar refused to take in a gay-couple from Brazil, stating that they leave a mess behind. The most recent scandal happened in Imotski, a city in the Dalmatian hinterland, where puppets in the shape of a same-sex-couple with an adopted child were set on fire on the 2020 carnival parade, shocking the general public. As is evident, the LGBTQAI+ community still has it hard in Croatia. This is why we compiled a list of LGBTQAI+ organisations in Croatia, as well as internet support groups. Feel free to contact them if the need arises.
LGBTQAI+ organisations in Croatia:
Zagreb: Zagreb PrideZagreb Pride Web: https://www.zagreb-pride.net/en/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org FB: https://www.facebook.com/zagrebpride/Ig: https://www.instagram.com/zagrebpride/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/zagrebpride FB: https://www.facebook.com/zagrebpride/ Ig: https://www.instagram.com/zagrebpride/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/zagrebpride Phone: +385 1 5806 560
Queer Zagreb Udruga Web: https://thisisadominoproject.org/queer-zagreb-arhiva/ Email: email@example.com FB: https://www.facebook.com/thisisadominoproject/ Ig:https://www.instagram.com/explore/locations/847852888608531/croatia/zagreb-croatia/queer-zagreb-udruga/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/queerzagreb?lang=en Phone: +385 1 3820 019
Trans Aid Web: http://transaid.hr/ Email: http://www.transaid.hr/ FB: https://www.facebook.com/TransAidCroatia/ Ig: https://www.instagram.com/trans_aid/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/TransAidHR Phone: +385 1 5514 207
LGBTIQ inicijativa Filozofskog fakulteta 'AUT' Web:https://autportal.tumblr.com/?fbclid=IwAR1q1fa_-_9UxpB8XVzcW7irZ5ooDNmMsBDjLTTi3MiOdW09sX3KSWbP1bE Email: firstname.lastname@example.org FB: https://www.facebook.com/LGBTIQFFZGAUT/ Ig: https://www.instagram.com/lgbtiq_inicijativa_aut/
Ženska soba - centar za seksualna prava Although predominantly focused on women’s issues, and domestic violence prevention, Women’s Room also offers help to LGBTQAI+ people.
Web: http://zenskasoba.hr/en/womens-room/ Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org FB: https://www.facebook.com/zenska.soba/ Ig: https://www.instagram.com/zenska.soba/ Phone: + 385 1 61 19 174
Udruga Lori Web: http://www.lori.hr/en/ Email: email@example.com FB: https://www.facebook.com/udrugalori/ Ig: https://www.instagram.com/loririjeka/ Phone: +385 51 212 186, +385 91 493 4133, +385 91 593 4133
LGBT Centar Split Web: http://www.lgbtcentarflomaster.hr/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org FB: https://www.facebook.com/LGBTCentarSplit/ Ig: https://www.instagram.com/lgbt_centar_split/ Phone: +385 95 502 7512
Proces A podcast of Radio Rojc about LGBTQAI+ culture and themes.
Centar za građanske inicijative Poreč Although not specifically aimed at LGBTQAI+ people, this group actively fights for the basic rights of all humans, which includes LGBTQAI+ people as well!
LGBT vijesti Hrvatska A news portal aimed specifically at news concerning the LGBTQAI+ community.
U ime svake obitelji Whereas the organisation In The Name of Family, lead by Željka Markić, promotes intolerance and conservative values, U Ime Svake Obitelji, meaning In The Name of Every Family promotes tolerance, and actively fights agains discrimination. The name itself is a spoof of Markić’s party.
Trans Mreža Balkan An online community that seeks to bring together trans-people from all over former Yugoslavia. It promotes tolerance and education about trans-identities, something people in this part of the world are not very acquainted with.
Web: http://www.transbalkan.org/ Email: email@example.com FB: https://www.facebook.com/transbalkan/ Ig: https://www.instagram.com/transmrezabalkan/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/transmbalkan?lang=en
Dugine obitelji An organisation with the aim of fighting for the rights of LGBTQAI+ people to foster children, as well as educating the general populace about so-called rainbow families. Because in a rainbow, every colour has its own place!
Web: https://www.dugineobitelji.com/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org FB: https://www.facebook.com/dugineobitelji Ig: https://www.instagram.com/dugineobitelji/?hl=en Twitter: https://twitter.com/dugineobitelji?lang=en
The picture-books My Rainbow Family are available for free in English on the web-site of the organisation, and we highly encourage you to check them out, they’re adorable! My Rainbow Family: https://www.dugineobitelji.com/gallery-my-rainbow-family/ My Rainbow Family: Fun Day Out: https://www.dugineobitelji.com/gallery-my-rainbows-family-fun-day-out/
CroL Another news portal dealing with LGBTQAI+ themes.
Životno Partnerstvo A web-page dedicated to all things concerning the Life Partnership Act, and legal issues and rights concerning it.
Web: https://www.zivotnopartnerstvo.com/en/ Email: email@example.com FB: https://www.facebook.com/zivotnopartnerstvo Twitter: https://twitter.com/ziv_partnerstvo Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrXkTLMfxQlLOY2Z1PclJyg Phone: +385 1 580 65 60
Gay Travel Croatia A Rijeka-based organisation dealing specifically with gay tourists comming to Croatia, and everything concerning it, including organising trips, renting apartments etc. Web: https://gaytravelcroatia.net/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org FB: https://www.facebook.com/gaytravelcroatia Ig: https://www.instagram.com/gaytravelcroatia/