GLXY Travel Guide - Exploring the LGBT Scene in Ljubljana, Slovenia

25 Aug, 2017
In this article you can find out why and when to visit Slovenia and Ljubljana, how friendly is this city for LGBT persons, where to go for gay-friendly dinner options, bars, clubs and other venues, what are the most important LGBT events of the year not to be missed; how to meet locals; and other interesting and important practical details.

About Slovenia and Ljubljana

In Slovenia there are 3000 seedlings and flowers and 50,000 different animal species. There are numerous and varied plant and animal endems. Slovenia is located in Central Europe in the vicinity of the Alps, the Dinaric Mountains, the Pannonian Plains and the Mediterranean. Climate makes a mixture of alpine, Mediterranean and continental climes. In the north-western part of the country, the Alps with the highest peak of Triglav (2864 m) prevail. In the direction of the sea stretches the province of Kras. Its underground world hides the most subterranean underground galleries in Europe, which are the Postojna Pit and the Skocjanske pits that rocked underground waters. The latter are on Unesco's list of cultural and natural heritage. More than half of the area covers forests - 1,163,812 ha (Europe has a higher percentage of forests than Finland and Sweden). In Slovenia, about 8% of the ozone is protected by law.

Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia; 279 756 st. (2016). It lies on the Ljubljanica River, in the vicinity of Ljubljana Field and Ljubljanska Barja, at 298 m above sea level. It is the political, cultural, scientific and economic center of the country.
The Old Town Ljubljana was preserved only partly due to the earthquake of 1895. From Roman times (Emona) remains of the city wall at Mirje, and on the hill Grajski grič (376 m) - Gothic castle (Ljubljana city, XII century, restored XV-XVI century).

LGBT situation

The beginnings of the Slovenian LGBT movement go back to the seventies of the last century. Homosexuality was decriminalized there in 1977, while in Bosnia and Herzegovina it happened twenty years later (in the Federation of BiH in 1998 and in the Republika Srpska in 1996). However, Slovenian LGBT activism was full of impetus in the 1980s, with the MAGNUS 1984 festival, supported by the feminist and ecological movement. During the nineties, discussions were held on the registered partnership of same-sex partners, when the media's approach to this issue was liberalized. The public debate on registered partnership, conducted between 2002 and 2005, has also made it possible to sensitize the Slovene public. In 2005 Slovenia became the first country in Europe in which the right-wing government (Janez Jansa) endorsed the Registered Partnership Act, albeit still discriminatory and symbolic at a lower level than the institution of marriage. Although the later left-wing government considered the identification of social rights guaranteed by a registered partnership with rights guaranteed by marriage, the efforts of the Catholic Church failed to do so.

In the area of ​​the former Yugoslavia the most controversial LGBT right, the right to peaceful assembly or the Parade of Pride, has been in Ljubljana for years without any incidents. The First Parade of Pride was held in 2001, and the first incident took place in 2009, when a group of neo-Nazis overcame a prominent LGBT rights activist and journalist, Mitju Blažić. The message sent by the authorities, as well as the Slovenian public, was clear: violence will not pass. Three of the attackers were sentenced to a month-long jail sentence, and even the part of the population who disagreed with LGBT population demands rose against violence.

For the last three years, the current issue of the Slovenian LGBT movement was the issue of a new family law that gave the right to adopt children in same-sex communities if one partner was a biological parent. After the end of 2016, Slovenia has equalized same-sex marriage and opposite-sex marriage. Congrats to the lads and ladies, and to Slovenia! From the 23rd of July 2006. registered partnership for same-sex couples are legal.

Ljubljana will never be accused of being a huge city and also the gay and lesbian scene here are not massive, thats becouse of popuplation which is less than 300.000. In any case it doesn't stop it from being vibrant and alive anyways.

There are many gay-friendly, bars and clubs in Ljubljana. The number increases every year and it started with only few. At klub K4 in Ljubljana there are gay and lesbian parties (K4 ROZA) one Saturday a month. The Jing Jang group is organizing gay and lesbian parties at clubs Factory and Bolivar. Parties are happening usualy once a month. Other gay-friendly bars and clubs in Ljubljana are Lan, Tiffany and Galerija.

Pink week is hosted by Ljubljana every year. There are six days of activities which are introducing country and its capital in a gay-friendly environment. This event is organized by Luxury Slovenia (an LGBT owned travel agency) and also supported by the city and national tourism offices. Ljubljana is not without gay nightlife even if there is no gayborhood. While some clubs may be gay-friendly or host gay nights, Klub Tiffany is really Ljubljana’s only gay club. A club by night, by day it’s also a queer cultural center.

Annual events worth of mentioning which are happening in this gay-friendly country are the Red Dawns art festival at the Metelkova mesto (March), the Pride Parade through the streets of Ljubljana which proves that this city is gay-friendly (June), LGBT Film Festival which is Europe's oldest film festival of this kind (November) and the City of Women arts festival (September).

The Ljubljana Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (LGBT Film Festival) is non-competitive film festival which is focused and specialised on international gay and lesbian cinema. Firstly its name was Magnus Festival and it was launched in 1984 and it is the oldest gay and lesbian film festival in Europe and also historical for this country becouse its first international film festival in Slovenia. Film screenings take place at 1st December traditionally on Worlds ADIS Day and it takes place at the Slovenian Cinematheque. The Roza Club Ljubljana which is part of the ŠKUC association financialy supported by Municipality of Ljubljana, the Slovene Office of Youth Affairs, ŠKUC-magnus and the British Council Slovenia is organising this festival.