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social sciences

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Balkan States  
page: 1  2  


Anti-gay sentiment is also still apparent in Croatia, which is 88 percent Roman Catholic. As in Serbia, while anti-gay legislation was repealed in Croatia during the mid-1990s, a strong right-wing nationalist movement is quick to respond to queer activism with violence. However, Croatian gays and lesbians are organizing, courageously standing up to verbal abuse and beatings to speak out for their rights. Their work is slowly increasing their society's acceptance of gay and lesbian lifestyles.

The first Croatian gay and lesbian organizations appeared in the early 2000s. Iskorak, or "step forward," promotes gay men's rights, while Kontra, or "against" is a lesbian group. Both groups have spoken out for the legalization of gay partnerships and against discrimination. In 2004, they worked to publicize the anti-gay remarks of the national soccer team's coach and demanded an inquiry.

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In 2002, Iskorak and Kontra organized the first gay and lesbian pride demonstration in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. The march attracted two to three hundred queer supporters and a number of skinhead hecklers, who shouted insults and threw bottles and eggs. In 2003, activists including Zvonimir Dobrovic organized Queer Zagreb, an ambitious week-long glbtq cultural festival. Queer Zagreb was so successful that organizers hope to make it an annual event.


The Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina has long been a focal point of ethnic and religious conflict. Almost half Muslim, with the remaining population roughly evenly divided between Roman Catholics and Orthodox Catholics, Bosnian society is fairly conservative. The cosmopolitan capital city, Sarajevo, does have a gay community, but it is largely closeted.

Although lesbianism was not mentioned in Bosnian legislation, sexual contact between men was illegal in Bosnia until 1998.

Bosnian gay men and lesbians are organizing. There is a Queer Bosnia website, which links with other Balkan gay websites, and activists such as Predrag Bosnjakovski work toward increased visibility for Bosnian sexual minorities.

Tina Gianoulis

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social sciences >> Overview:  Gaybashing

Violence perpetrated against people thought by their attackers to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered occurs with disturbing frequency in the United States and other countries.

social sciences >> Overview:  Islam

Despite religious prohibitions against same-sex sexual relationships, Islamic societies generally extend tolerance through a pattern of collective denial.

social sciences >> Overview:  Roman Catholicism

Historically, the Roman Catholic Church may be the institution most responsible for the suffering of individuals involved in same-sex sexual relationships.

social sciences >> Overview:  Serbia

Although there now exists an active glbtq rights movement in Serbia, the atmosphere for glbtq citizens is one of hostility.


"The Balkan Question and the European Answer." U.S. Department of State Dispatch. 10.7 ( August, 1999): 12-18.

Cusack, Michael. "An Ancient Hatred: Balkan History." Scholastic Update 126. 12 (March 25, 1994): 18-21.

"Living Room: At Home With Lepa Mladjenovic." Joan Nestle website.

Serbian gay and lesbian website.

Queeria website.

SiQRD Slovenian Queer Resources Directory website.


    Citation Information
    Author: Gianoulis, Tina  
    Entry Title: Balkan States  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated November 9, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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