Tag Archives: Zagreb

Photos of Zagreb Pride 2010 — NOW ONLINE!

New Gallery uploaded on the main “Walk with Pride” website featuring images from Zagreb Pride 2010!

Zagreb Pride 2010

Http://wwpbehindthephotos.wordpress.com
(Zagreb Pride 2010) 

AND keep following as this week the WWP project documents Sofia Pride in Bulgaria.


Zagreb Pride 2010 – June 19, 2010

Zagreb Pride was energetic and colorful, with over 500 participants in attendance.  While outrageous costumes are not the norm for this pride, there were lots of rainbows and balloons to give the event a festive feel.  The march route started at a large square in town – the “square of the victims of fascism”, and went along city street to Zagreb’s main square (where the anti-Pride march was taking place), before it headed South to end up in a big park – Park Ponosa.

With the sound of beating drums, whistles, and Pride cheers, the march proudly proceeded by watching bystanders toward Zagreb’s main square.  Police in riot gear walked next to participants, forming a moving blockade around the group.  The city had granted permission for members of the youth faction of a right-wing group to protest in the main square.  Made up of around 60 teenagers and young adults, these anger filled youths yelled oaths and obscenities at the marchers.  The police had wanted the march to go on the far South side of the square, behind the kiosks, and far away from the anti-gay protesters.  However, the pride leaders refused and won the right to march proudly in the streets of Zagreb’s main square, instead of the far sidewalk.  While the protesters were kept back by a metal barricade and a human barricade made up of police, there was still a defining moment during the pride when the two sides faced off.

When the Pride first reach the main square it halted, as the parade spread out so participants could look upon the haters.  The marchers chanted and blew whistles, with several raising two fingers to display the peace sign.  Those against the march, and the people in it, raised their fingers in a different gesture, shouted obscenities, and I saw one guy showing his dissatisfaction by unbuttoning his pants to flash marchers.  This whole scene lasted only a few minutes, before the Pride started up again and continued down another block.

At this point some of the protestors tried to follow the Pride by making a dash through the inside of mall, but were stopped by police, with some being arrested.  Caught on tape, there is a footage of one of these homophobic kids telling the police that if he is arrested his mother would kill him at home (a rough translation), at which point he was brutally kicked in the head.  Note: The officials of Zagreb Pride have come out to condemn this action, labeling it as disgusting behavior.

At the fenced off park, the Pride ended with speeches and music.  There was a release in tension as the march had successfully ended.  Unfortunately, it also gave a false sense of security, as the whole thing isn’t really over, especially as the right-wing youths filled with aggression aren’t ready to give up and go home for the night.

At the park I had talked with a Bosnian girl who had grown up in San Francisco, she had left the park to go get some food with two Norwegian guys – tourists that hadn’t know about the Pride before, but had decided to join in.  Later that night when we returned to the artist collective for the after party we saw her again, they had been attacked.  Eleven young guys had jumped them from behind, punching and kicking all three.  That same evening two other local participants of Zagreb Pride were attacked by young thugs who recognized them from the Pride.  It such a shame that such a positive event is marred by violence, and the huge cowardice of these attacks.

However, I’d like to think not of the haters, but the several people I spoke with who were attending this as their first Pride after coming out, and how much participating in this event had really meant to them, and to all those there in support of pride.

Here are some more videos:

Anti – Pride

Pictures coming soon to our main website,
http://walkwithpridenow.com

And, if you like our work, don’t forget to join us on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/WWPproject

Making Posters for Zagreb Pride

For the last week Pride participants have been invited to visit the headquarters of Zagreb Pride to get their signs and posters ready for Saturday’s march.  It’s a big open room, but with the distinct smell of spray paint.

Zagreb Pride Signmaking

This year’s theme is freedom of sexual expression.Zagreb Pride Signmaking

Organizing Zagreb Pride

Located in a former squat, which has been transformed into an artist collective, Chad and I find the headquarters of Zagreb Pride.  It’s a colorful room with posters plastered on the wall highlighting past (and the current) Prides.  Ten of the organizers of Zagreb Pride are meeting to discuss the newest developments concerning Saturday’s march.

While the Pride march in Zagreb has been going on since 2002, it has not been an easy journey.  Many of the past parades have been marred by violence, and organizers continually have to battle with government officials and the police concerning details of how the march is held.

Sitting around on sofas the Zagreb Pride organizing committee discusses the latest issue affecting the pride.  While the police have agreed to protect the marchers, they are standing firm that participants should not walk down the street.  Instead, the police feel that the marchers should walk along the sidewalks – sandwiched between street kiosks and buildings.  Another problem, the government has also approved a counter-demonstration by the youth branch of the HČSP (Croatian Pure Party of Rights), a right wing nationalist party in Croatia, to be held at the same time as the Pride march – and in the main square.  Many feel this is inviting trouble, as the Pride march will be passing this same main square, making it so those participating in the Pride march will be coming in direct contact with those against the pride.  However, as international monitors, including those from the EU and Amnesty International, will be in attendance there is the strong belief that those against the Pride will be kept under control by law enforcement.

After an hour or so of discussions, the meeting breaks and everyone disburses.  While the issues the organizers are facing are frustrating, they are not uncommon, especially in places where homophobia makes it a struggle to publicly show pride.

Zagreb Pride

Zagreb Pride 2010 – “Croatia can swallow it”

Zagre Pride Poster

A message from Zagreb Pride

Freedom of sexual expression and the variety of sexual practices

The freedom of sexual expression, the variety of physical and sexual manifestations and practices, the multiplicity of personal and collective identities made through self-definition should become and will become a part of the Croatian reality. To fight for gender freedom – the right of every person to express their gender and their body in a way they themselves have chosen, through femininity, androginy, masculinity, hybridity, non-expressiveness and gender contradictory – means to fight for freedom as a supreme value that belongs to every individual. Zagreb Pride is standing daily and actively against every kind of limitation and inhibition considering our bodies and the multitude of our genders.

In Croatia the only place where people can be free and freed genderwise is the LGBTIQ Pride March. We, in Zagreb Pride, consider every individual to have the right to define one’s own personal identity, to publicly express it and expect society to respect and accept it.

Human beings frequently have a relationship with their own bodies beyond what is allowed by society’s repressive norms of physical appearance and expression of self through the body. This means some people among us are not exclusively focused on a choice of partner based only on two genders. They can comprehend and live a more vast reality of their bodies and sexuality, far from the opressive and habitual concepts of homosexuality or heterosexuality, sex being the category which the human experience of body and sexuality are reduced to  when choosing a lover or a partner.

Sexual and gender steretypes are powerful tools for controlling our freedom and for pushing us into cramped categories like man/woman, gay/straight, single/coupled, single/married, normal/abnormal, ordinary/weird. We LGBTIQ (lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexual and queer) individuals strive to break through and smash opressive gender and sex boundaries with our practices and activist interventions, by building a society free of prejudiced categories.

When two people express themselves and their sexuality in terms of kissing in a bar or club, if they conform to the habitual patterns of the allowed heterosexual behaviour, they are accepted, supported or stay unnoticed. When we, LGBTIQ individuals, behave in the same manner, but have a non sterotypical appearance or bodies, we are rejected, violently interrupted, reproached, and oftenly enough – beaten. Zagreb Pride wants every wanted kiss, hug and touch to be an expression of freedom and love always and everywhere.

A hug or kiss between two men is allowed on the football ground or stands, while celebrating victory. When two gay men express affection for each other, they put their lives at risk. When a group of young men and women sunbathe, play ball, put sun screen on each other’s backs, no-one sees anything peculiar, only youngsters displaying affection and seduction. But when a group of women on a beach openly express that they are lesbians, they are subjected to sexist and chauvinist attacks and risks of sexual assault, or even rape. When a transgendered or transsexual individual is required to show ID by governement regulations, the only document allowed has the gender identity referred to at birth. The most common reaction is ridicule, contempt and often enough – disgust. These individuals are being forcebly pushed to the brinks of society.

Zagreb Pride protects and will always protect every kiss.

The freedom of expressing gender diversity and the multitude of sexual practices are not a threat to anyone, just by existing we are exposed to discrimination and violence. We have the exclusive right to make our own decisions regarding our bodies and no ideological, political, law, medicine or religion norm should disregard the integrity of our bodies against our will and prevent us from doing what we want with our own bodies.

Zagreb Pride will make the 9th Pride March a day of celebration and affirmation of freedom in all its forms.

Let us celebrate the freedom of gender and sexual expression on the 19th of June. Let us celebrate the countless genders, the multitude and richness of all the body’s expressions. Let us celebrate the freedom of sexual practices of all people.

(from Zagreb-Pride.net)

(Here’s a YouTube video promoting the march, but it might only make sense if you know Croatian ;) )

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Croatia

Croatia LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes , since 1977

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? Yes and No

◊ No registered partnerships or marriage allowed, but unregistered cohabitation recognized since 2003 (so partners living together for 3 or more years receive the same rights concerning inheritance and financial support as unmarried cohabiting couples).

◊ In 2005 legislation was proposed to allow civil unions, but was rejected by parliament.

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? As individuals

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes

Anti-discrimination Laws? Yes

Legislature Concerning Gender Identity? Some

Right to change gender allowed, and anti-discrimination legislation since 2009

Cultural Points of Interest:

Since 2006 Croatia has had legislation concerning hate crimes, and this legislation was first used to prosecute a man that attempted to attack Zagreb Pride in 2007 with Molotov cocktails.

Websites:

Zagreb-pride.netOfficial website for Zagreb Pride, it provides a complete program and information on the events that make up Zagreb pride. http://www.zagreb-pride.net

Gay.hr – News and information for the Croatia LGBT community. http://kuga.gay.hr

Lesbian Group Kontra – A Croatian non profit based in Zagreb that promotes lesbian rights.  The group provides various resources to the local lesbian community. http://www.kontra.hr

Gay Friendly Croatia – A great site providing information for gay friendly travel in Croatia.  In 2009 they published the first Zagreb City Gay Guide, which was supported by the local Zagreb tourism board.  http://www.friendlycroatia.com

Balkan LGBT Solidarity

“We are everywhere,” is the theme of this year’s Athens Pride, explained Stefanos, an organizer of Athens Pride.  The main Pride poster features a nationwide symbol, the bottom half of a traditionally dressed Greece soldier, along with the Pride’s tagline.  We’ve actually had quite a few complaints, he tells us – it’s quite a controversial cover.  Stefanos goes on to explain that while many people in Greece might be comfortable thinking of homosexuals as hairdressers, or a very small minority of the population, the Athens Pride group is finding that people are getting a little threatened by the idea that they are ‘everywhere’, and this year the group has unfortunately received more negative comments and hate mail than ever before.

Athens Pride 2010 Poster

In the large meeting hall in the Athens Cultural Center, Stefanos sits down and talk with us before the start of the ‘SE European-Balkan Pride Conference’, a prelude to tomorrow’s Athens Pride march.  This is the first year the conference is being held.  The idea behind the conference is to encourage solidarity between the Balkan pride groups, so representatives from Zagreb Pride, Sofia Pride, Bucharest GayFest, Serbia Pride, Athens Pride, and a founder from the newly formed Cyprus LGBT group, gathered to participate.  Also in attendance was a Greek member of the EU parliament and Debroha Lambillotte from ILGA.

Athens Pride SE European-Balkan Pride Conference
The issue of the financial crisis couldn’t be avoided.  It’s a complicated issue, maybe best illustrated when the Greek Politician spoke.  Her initial statements were to the point that LGBT issues were a priority even during economic downturns, and that human rights in general were important at any moment in time.  However, during the Q+A session after her speech, several of those in attendance began grilling her on the lack of progress made by Greece concerning HR equality for sexual minorities, in particular the lack of educational programs to teach about LGBT.  Answering these questions, she couldn’t help making a plea concerning the difficulty of producing change at this time due in part by the economic crisis, and conservative members of government that did not feel this was a priority.

It was quite interesting listening to each festival organizer share videos and stories about the challenges of hosting their Prides in the Balkans.  They all had tales of skinheads, religious protestor groups, and police officials that either wanted the Prides held in isolated locations and/or conducted at high speeds.  However, there was also an underlying message of the progress being made to change attitudes.   While it’s clear that it isn’t easy holding Prides in these countries, especially during the early years of each, there is also the consideration of what progress can be made if these types of events aren’t held … and the communities remain invisible and marginalized?!

Athens Pride Balkan Pride Conference

Again, many thanks to the Athens Pride organizers for hosting the
First SE European-Balkan Pride Conference.