IDAHOT Report 2014: Croatia

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As in Serbia, many thousands of people were affected by floods in Croatia, in the lead up to May 17, making some actions non-viable, and shifting activists’ attentions to supporting relief work. Nevertheless, various events did take place around the IDAHOT 2014, with actions planned in the cities of Zagreb and Rijeka, and on the mountain range of Petrova Gora. The Croatian government was also represented at the 2nd Annual IDAHO Forum in Valletta, Malta.

IDAHO Week Rijeka 2014
In Rijeka, communities came together for an IDAHO Week around May 17, 2014. Organisers advised, in the lead up to the event:
“Lesbian Organization Rijeka LORI proudly marks IDAHO in Rijeka for the second time and invites all to IDAHO Week Rijeka 2014. On May 17th at 9 PM at Art-kino we have organized screening of documentary film ‘Once again’, the very first Croatian documentary on lives of lesbians and transgender people. Authors of the film Noah Pintaric and Ana Opalic will announce the screening and talk to the audience afterwards, answer the questions related to the film. This warm movie follows lives of 4 lesbians and one transgender person in a five-year period and gives insight into their relationships, friendships, activism and creative work.”
For more information check out Rijeka LORI’s website or the facebook event page.
Laugh Out Proud
Rijeka LORI, together with other groups also held an event on Saturday, May 17th, with the main goal of raising (positive) awareness of the country’s upcoming Life Partnership Act (civil unions for homosexual couples). In the evening, there was a free showing of Stephen Fry’s documentary “Out There”, as well as stand-up event “Laugh Out Proud” with performances by LGBT comedians from UK and Croatia. Performers included Scott Capurro (UK), Lara King (UK) and Marina Orsag (CRO).
Organisers explained before the Day that the aim of event is to fight homophobia and transphobia with the strongest possible weapon – humor, and the goal of the project is to educate people about the LGBT community through laughter and in good atmosphere.
The entire project ‘LAUGH OUT PROUD’ is funded by Horyou, the Action Oriented Social Network for the Social Good, organized by Studio Smijeha association, Centre for Civil Initiatives Porec, Croatia and association.
Dance Out Proud in Zagreb
On May 17, LGBTI communities in Zagreb, came together from 23:00 for a “Dance Out Proud event at the Hotpot Bar. For more information see the organiser’s facebook page.
LGBT Affirmative Counselling Course
Also around the IDAHOT 2014, the University Psychiatric Hospital Vrapce in Zagreb, offered an LGBT affirmative counselling practice for psychology students, on May 14. This was part of the elective course “Applied developmental psychology” led by professor Goranka Lugomer-Armano, PhD, Department of Psychology at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb.
Action by Coalition of Groups Merges IDAHOT 2014 and Anti-Fascist Commemoration
The organizers of the event (well-known institutions in Croatia such as the Serbian National Council, the Alliance of Anti-Fascist Fighters in Croatia as well as local municipalities), have this year decided to jointly commemorate this great anti-fascist victory and the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. With this act they stand for a clear message that the struggle against homophobia is also the struggle against fascism and that anti-fascism does not only belong to the culture of remembrance, but is also a vital part of current struggles for better future, not only in Croatia, but also all over Europe.
Organisers explained, in the lead up to the event:

In times of current economic and social crisis that sows poverty and at the same time generates attacks not only on LGBTQ people, but also immigrants, national minorites, workers etc., we find it more important than ever to remember our antifascist legacy and use it to unite our seemingly separate struggles in one common goal: defending human rights and demanding equality for all. As an activist choir, we call upon mutual cooperation and solidarity of all groups fighting for the equality of us all.

Le Zbor, a lesbian feminist choir, performed as part of the action:

This year we are giving a performance at the 70th anniversary of a major anti-fascist event in Croatia: the breakthrough of the fascist army lines that took place on the site called Petrova gora and during which 730 partisans and 12 000 civilians, mostly women and children, were finally liberated from atrocities committed by fascist forces in this area during WW2.

Le Zbor choir, who participated in the IDAHOT 2014 in Croatia

Le Zbor is a Lesbian Feminist Choir from Zagreb. You can find out more about them and their work on Facebook or on and their website.
Zagreb Pride organised a series of events to commemorate the IDAHOT 2014, which included a focus on LGBT Refugees, Asylum & Migration, and on the rise of neoconservative movements in Europe.
Action on LGBT Refugees, Asylum and Migration
Organisers addressed the topic of LGBT Refugees, Asylum & Migration, with an evening of events planned around the topic of LGBT Asylum and the current situation of (LGBT) asylum in Croatia. This was organised in collaboration with other civil society organisations that also work with asylum seekers and refugees.
As an introduction to IDAHO, on Tuesday the 13th, activists organised a panel called “Immigration. Equality. Views from the LGBTIQ community”, where they addressed the topic of LGBT migration and asylum seekers.
The main goal was to raise awareness amongst the LGBT community that ‘LGBT asylum is something that happens in Croatia too, not just in the other EU countries.’
Conference on Neoconservative Movements in Europe
Another activity was also a conference about the rise of neoconservative movements throughout Europe – activists from some other EU countries were invited to discuss the issue, and to establish a network/coalition that will collaborate in the future.
Government represented at IDAHO Forum 2014 in Malta
Croatia’s Minister of European and Foreign Affairs, Vesna Pusic, also participated in the 2nd Annual International IDAHO Forum in Valletta, Malta (May 13-14). He signed the IDAHO 2014 Declaration of Intent – urging governments to defend and promote LGBTI rights – signed by Ministers from 19 European states in total.

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