When initiated, the Zagreb Pride March was conceived as a protest march against homophobia, transphobia and patriarchy, while at the same time it has been a tool for supporting the LGBTI community. Since the first March in 2002, Zagreb Pride has advocated for progressive social policies, principles and values upon which our society can function. We are engaged in activism as a way to make ourselves stronger, more protected and to develop solidarity and transform social inequalities.
Through education, research, advocacy, empowerment and direct action, Zagreb Pride fights for LGBTI persons and communities, non-normative families and society as a whole and works on the elimination of all forms of discrimination, based on the full promotion, respect and protection of human rights. Our focus includes countering homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and violence, strengthening community and wider societal reform such as eliminating patriarchal, homophobic and transphobic societal norms.
LGBTI Community Work and Mobilizing
Zagreb Pride March protests have been organized annually since 2002. Besides the Pride March, Zagreb Pride has also organized numerous public actions, protests and social campaigns. In 2013, we organized the first protest rally in front of the main Catholic Cathedral against homophobic and transphobic hate-speech that was heavily spread by the Catholic clergy in their campaign against sex education in public schools. Also that year, Zagreb Pride was a founder of the “Vote Against” coalition of organizations, activists and community groups who opposed a constitutional amendment proposed by right-wing groups to define marriage as a union of a man and a woman. Unfortunately, the proposal to change the constitution was accepted by 66% of voters.
Other Main Accomplishments
Our strongest means of action and principal mission is organizing the Pride March, however, over time we have developed the direct action and media skills to take on new roles. They include our Advocacy for LGBTI Equality Program and Research and Education and Publishing Program.
The most important achievements for the rights and freedoms of LGBTI community in Croatia which Zagreb Pride has made possible are:
Legal recognition of same-sex unions and LGBTI parenting. In 2014 Croatian Parliament passed the Life-Partnership Act with the support of the significant majority of MPs. It was the greatest political victory for the LGBTI community in Croatia so far and Zagreb Pride made it possible by working in two tracks at the same time. First we participated in the Government’s Working Group for creating the Life-Partnership Act and made sure that the LGBTI voice was heard. At the same time we mobilized the LGBTI community which was demoralized after losing the referendum on the constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. After the law was adopted we continued with monitoring of its implementation and are planning to advocate for joint adoption rights and opening this new family union for different-sex couples as well.
Combating hate-crimes through evidence based advocacy by conducting field-research for a report titled “The Brutal Reality: Research on Violence, Discrimination and Hate Crimes against LGBT People in Croatia“. The research results from a sample of 690 LGBTI people were alarming and showed that since 2006 as many as 73.6% of the participants experienced some form of violence. A particularly worrying fact was that only eight percent of participants reported violence to the police. With this project Zagreb Pride achieved a significant breakthrough in the field of collecting and analyzing statistical data that indicate the problems and needs of LGBTI persons in Croatia. We are planning to continue researching and providing education in the field of human rights of LGBTI persons.
Increasing the visibility and diversity of LGBTI people attending the Pride March. Since the first Pride March we have faced many difficulties. Unfavorable public opinion and hostility targeted at the thousands of brave Marchers who have yelled “Love is love” and “Out of the closets, into the streets!”. Our persistence and defiance have made the Pride March one of the largest progressive political gatherings in Croatia.