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