The number of LGBTQIA+ organizations and non-profit udruga in Croatia has significantly risen through the years. The first one was founded in 1997, but most were founded during the 2000s in Zagreb, Rijeka and Split.
These LGBTQIA+ organizations provide support to the LGBTQIA+ community and they often work together on various efforts. For those that are looking for support, want to meet others in the community, volunteer or even donate, here is a list of the most well-known LGBTQIA+ organizations in Croatia, including their history, mission and contact information.
1. Zagreb Pride
Foundation Year: 2002
Brief History: Zagreb Pride exists and has been active as an informal group under various LGBTIQ and related organizations since 2002. The organization was officially registered as a non-government organization on September 10, 2008. Zagreb Pride’s main annual event is Zagreb Pride March which occurs every June.
Audience: LGBTIQ individuals and community, non-normative families, and society as a whole.
Mission: Zagreb Pride is a queer-feminist and anti-fascist organization which is committed to the achievement of an active society of solidarity and equality free from gender sexual norms and categories, and any other kind of oppression. Zagreb Pride exists for the achievement of social justice and systematic improvement of LGBTIQ rights through advocacy for the public good.
2. Udruga Domino – Queer Zagreb
Foundation Year: 2003
Brief History: Domino is a non-governmental, non-profit organization registered under the name “Domino” because it couldn’t get permission to register under the name “Queer Zagreb”.
Aside from Zagreb Pride, the organization’s main annual event is the Queer Zagreb Festival. It is the biggest queer festival in Southeast Europe with more than 400 performers from all around the globe. The festival usually takes place in May.
Audience: LGBTIQ population, activists, artists, and general public
Mission: Domino’s mission is to question traditional society patterns and to encourage the transformation of oppressive norms in transitional societies through culture, media, public policies, education and collaboration with local and international organizations.
The vision of Domino is that in the society there is a continuous recognition of norms that disables the freedom of art and, more specifically, queer expression, which in its nature is subversive yet peaceful.
3. Iskorak (Lunge)
Foundation Year: 2002
Brief History: Iskorak was founded with the purpose of gathering heterosexual and LGBT persons together to prevent the violence against the LGBT community. The organization strives to prove that violence against any minority is equal to violence against society as a whole.
Audience: LGBT persons, heterosexual people
Mission: Iskorak is a civil society organization with the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights with an emphasis on LGBT persons. The organization accomplishes its goals through public, media, cultural, and health programs. They promote civil society’s values such as individual freedom, non-violence, equality, fairness, tolerance, diversity acceptance, humanism and love.
Foundation Year: 1997
Brief History: Lesbian Group Kontra was founded by women active in the first feminist groups in Croatia. Kontra opened the first lesbian SOS and info telephone line and counsel in Croatia. The group often collaborates with their sister organizations Iskorak and Domino. Kontra was also a co-organizer of the first Zagreb Pride and Split Pride.
Audience: Lesbians, bi-sexual women, feminists
Mission: Lesbian Group Kontra is a non-governmental organization that advocates for human rights of lesbians and bisexual women. Kontra operates according to feminist and anti-militarist principles and opposes all forms of discrimination.
5. Trans Aid
Foundation Year: 2012
Brief History: Trans Aid has been promoting rights of trans, inter and gender-variant people since 2012. The organization was registered with the goal to strengthen the TIRV community through promoting TIRV topics and community.
Audience: Transgender, intergender, and gender-variant people
Mission: The mission of the non-governmental organization Trans Aid is promoting and protecting the human rights of trans*, inter* and gender variant persons, deconstructing cisnormativity, the gender binary, patriarchy and heteronormativity, as well as achieving the full equality of persons of all genders, gender identities and/or gender expressions, through empowerment, advocacy, direct work and support, education, sensitization, research and other activities.
Foundation Year: 2003
Brief History: qSPORT was founded to articulate queer perspectives and promote the contemporary field of gay and lesbian sport. The organization’s purpose is to promote the LGBTQ community in other sport, cultural, and social contexts as well.
Audience: Gay and lesbian athletes and those interested in sports
Mission: qSPORT is setup to give impetus to local LGBTQ initiatives, groups, and individuals who want to meet for sport and recreational activities, be it local sport practice or to take part in international LGBT sport events and institutional networks. Besides that, qSPORT (re)presents unique perspectives of developing countries within different international LGBTQ and sport institutions/organizations.
1. LORI (Lesbian Organization Rijeka)
Foundation Year: 2000
Brief History: Lesbian Organization Rijeka – LORI was founded because the institutional support for the LGBTIQ population in Croatia wasn’t sufficient enough. Since the LGBTIQ community is often discriminated, hated and offended, LORI was founded to fight for the right of these individuals to create and shape their identities.
For the last three years, the organization’s most famous project has been the Smoqua Festival. Smoqua is a festival of Queer and Feminist Culture which takes place in Rijeka and celebrates the communion, solidarity, activism, and arts.
Smoqua Festival is a combination of art and activism which serves as a networking platform for art/activist projects and for creating and strengthening collaboration among diverse audiences.
Smoqua’s visitors have the opportunity to learn about the history and significance of queer and feminism and to question social, gender and other norms and notions of normality and normativity through different workshops, panel discussions, performances, exhibitions, and sharing experiences. The first Smoqua festival was held in October 2017, the second one in May 2018, and the last one in May 2019.
Audience: LGBTIQ population and community
Mission: The aim of the organization is to promote and protect the human rights, identity and culture of the LGBTIQ population, to inform and sensitize the public to accept the LGBTIQ community, to eradicate prejudice and homo/bi/transphobia in society, to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, and empower and ensure support for LGBTIQ persons.
Foundation Year: 2013
Brief History: Rišpet is an NGO founded by Split Pride volunteers. Since the very beginning, Rišpet has been a main organizer of Split Pride. They also founded the LGBT Center Split and have organized many formal and informal activities for the Split’s LGBT community.
Audience: LGBQ population
Mission: Rišpet is a non-governmental organization who fights for the elimination of discrimination and violence based on gender and sexual orientation. They stand for improving LGBT persons’ rights, healthcare, social services, and quality of life. Rišpet stimulates social changes through education, activism, promoting human and citizen rights and freedom, and volunteering.
2. Queer Sport Split
Foundation year: 2011
Brief History: Queer Sport Split was founded to promote the queer culture through sport and recreation. It is the first organization of that kind founded in Split and the region.
Audience: Gay and lesbian sport athletes and those interested in sports
Mission: The aim of the QSS is to develop recreational and sports activities and to popularize sports in the LGBT community as well as society in general. Furthermore, QSS wants to encourage the integration of LGBT individuals into sport, affirm the LGBT community through sporting and cultural-social activities, and inform both LGBT populations and the overall population of the LGBT Society’s activities on sporting and cultural-social issues.
OTHER LGBTQIA+ NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
1. Dugine obitelji – Rainbow Families Croatia
Foundation year: 2011
Brief History: Rainbow Families started as a psychosocial support group under Zagreb Pride’s activities. After only two cycles of support, attendants continued to meet and hang out as an informal civil initiative. Since, they’ve launched a forum and a website with the purpose of communicating online.
Rainbow Families was officially registered as an udruga in 2017. In 2018, they launched a picture book titled “My Rainbow Family” for pre-schooled children. The book depicts same-sex couple families and is the first Croatian picture book of that kind. If you wish to purchase the book, contact the organization directly.
Audience: Parents, individuals, and families which have children
Mission: Rainbow Families Croatia is a non-governmental organization whose mission is fighting for family and parent rights of the LGBTIQ persons. The NGO supports and helps LGBTIQ parents, their children, and LGBTIQ persons’ parents through information, education, and active participation in the transformation process of society.
In a future post we will provide a list of all support groups, Facebook groups and online communities. Is there an organization we missed or a group you want us to feature? Let us know in the comments.
Expat in Croatia
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