GLXY Travel Guide - Exploring the LGBT Scene in Zagreb, Croatia

05 Aug, 2017
Zagreb is the capital of the Republic of Croatia, and the largest city in Croatia by population. Historically, the city of Zagreb grew out of two settlements on the neighboring hills, Gradec and Kaptol, which make up the core of today's Zagreb, its historic center. Today Zagreb is the economic, cultural and administrative center of Croatia. It is positioned more to southeastern Europe but it belongs to the cities of Central Europe. The City of Zagreb is a special territorial, administrative and self-governing unit with a county status.

Zagreb is located in continental Central Croatia, on the southern slopes of Medvednica and on the banks of the Sava River. It is located at an altitude of 122 meters (Zrinjevac). Affordable geographical accommodation in the southwestern corner of the Pannonian lowlands, between the Alpine, Dinaric, Adriatic and Pannonian regions, is due to the fact that Zagreb is located on the traffic junction of the roads between Central and South-Eastern Europe and the Adriatic Sea.

Due to its history and significance, Zagreb is rich in monuments and architecture. The center of Zagreb is considered to be the historic district of Upper Town and Kaptol, and Lower Town, where the exceptional variety of architecture from Baroque to the present day. The center is surrounded by northern residential areas with a higher level of housing, and from the south to former neighborhood workers experiencing strong re-urbanization. By looking and decorating, Zagreb is a typical Central European city.

LGBT situation

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Croatia have expanded in recent years but LGBT persons may still face some legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents.
The feminist movement in Croatia, along with the Slovenian lesbian and gay groups - ŠKUC LL and SKK Magnus - who were born at the University of Ljubljana and Marošević's "Frigidnu uti;nicu", significantly contributed and encouraged the creation of the first lesbian group in Croatia - the Lila Initiative. Lezbijke-feminist from Croatia who also worked in the activities of SKC LL and the Tresnjevka Women's Group initiated meetings in Zagreb so that the participants, among other things, discussed lesbian issues. The initiative has in fact never achieved a number of planned goals, such as launching an open discussion on lesbian rights and culture, fighting homophobia, increasing lesbian visibility, and creating international contacts. The Lila Initiative, founded in mid 1989, ceased to exist in May 1990, just after the first multiparty elections. Namely, like many other organizations, Lila lost space, a social apartment on Trešnjevci from which she worked.
The year 2012 is most likely the political end of one stage of Croatian LGBT history and the beginning of a different, significantly more seriously positioned LGBT activism towards the public and the community. In April 2012, the NGO Queer Zagreb announces that it will for the last time organize the Queer Zagreb Festival, ending its original mission - the LGBT and queer culture mutilation in Zagreb. This goal is likely to be realized because when Zagreb's cultural offer and the 2012 scene itself are compared with the time and circumstances when the first Queer Zagreb Festival was held ten years earlier, it can be said that queer and LGBT are nowadays integral to almost all the most significant Zagreb Film Festivals: Zagreb Film Festival, Zagreb Dox, Animafest, In Music Festival Subversive Festival and of course, Eurokaz. According to Queer Zagreb Festival organizers, the Queer Zagreb Festival itself became so-meaning.

Since the introduction of the Life Partnership Act in 2014, In Croatia same-sex couples can't adopt children but in other parts they effectively enjoy rights equal to heterosexual married couples. However, separate legislation does provide same-sex couples with a mechanism similar to step-child adoption called "partner-guardianship".All discrimination about sexual orientation are banned in Croatia, also about gender identity and gender expression.
The proponents of LGBT right is Croatia are Center-left, center, and green political parties generally while the right-wing and centre-right political parties are closer to the Roman Catholic Church and they are against extension of rights.

LGBT organizations that can help you anytime:

1. Queer Zagreb- It is an organization founded in 2003 in order to organize, today well known, festival of queer art. This is an organization that shows how enthusiasm is important for the activistic ideals, and also how art can appropriate and talk about what would not, otherwise, be allowed to spoken about. And that is our sexual orientation or gender identity. Queer Zagreb is a must-see in a lifetime, so put it in your scheldule!
2. Zagreb Pride- Feminist and anti-fascist organization that is imagining and working for the creating society based on solidarity, and also imagines all the free ways in which one would not be bound to be limited by societal norms. In 2017, Zagreb Pride celebrated 15 years of existing and walking proudly, and people from all around the world came to celebrate. There was approximately 10 000 people this year.
3. Centar za LGBTI ravnopravnost- Activistic councel doing advocacy, legal advices, psychological help and support, and monitoring of violence against LGBT people. It is a coalition made out of 3 organizations: LORI, Queer Zagreb and Zagreb Pride. LORI is a lesbian organization located in another city of Croatia, Rijeka.

There are LGBT and LGBT friendly bars/restaurants/places to check out in Zagreb:

1. Denis- Address is Mrazovićeva 9
2. Rush club- Address is Milana Amrusa 10
3. Mobilus- Cruising bar located in an adapted apartment in the city centre. Has a "normal" bar area as well as cruising area with video-cabins. Address is Ignjata Đorđića 10
4. KickKlub Internet Cafe- Perfect friendly place to come with a laptop, answer emails while on the road.- Address is Preradovoceva 5
5. G bar- Address is Mesnicka 36