Non-profit LGBTQIA+ organizations and pride parades in Croatia

pride parde
Pride flags in Zagreb, Croatia

UPDATED: 13.5.2024.

LGBTQIA+ organizations support the LGBTQIA+ community and often collaborate on various efforts. The first one in Croatia was founded in 1997, but most were founded during the 2000s in Zagreb, Rijeka, and Split.

Pride parades in Croatia are held in June or July every year. The number of participants rises every year, indicating progress within the LGBTQIA+ community. Support the LGBTQIA+ community by joining a pride parade or volunteering for a recognized organization.

In this article, we cover:

The facts are these…

Non-profit LGBTQIA+ organizations in Zagreb, Croatia

1. Zagreb Pride

Zagreb Pride is a queer-feminist and anti-fascist organization committed to achieving an active society of solidarity and equality free from gender sexual norms and categories and any other kind of oppression. It exists to achieve social justice and systematically improve LGBTIQ rights through advocacy for the public good.

Zagreb Pride has been active as an informal group under various LGBTIQ and related organizations since 2002. The organization was officially registered as non-government on September 10, 2008. Its leading annual event is the Zagreb Pride March, which occurs every June.

[Read: All the pride parades in Croatia, including Zagreb Pride March]

Audience: LGBTIQ individuals and communities, non-normative families, and society as a whole
Founded: 2002

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

2. Udruga Domino – Queer Zagreb

Domino is a non-governmental, non-profit organization registered under the name Domino because it couldn’t get permission to register under Queer Zagreb. Its mission is to question traditional social 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 is a continuous recognition of norms in a society that disables the freedom of art and, more specifically, queer expression, which in its nature is subversive yet peaceful. Aside from Zagreb Pride, their main annual event is the Queer Zagreb Festival, the most prominent queer festival in Southeast Europe, with more than 400 performers from all around the globe. It usually takes place in May.

[Read: How to open and close a non-profit organization (udruga) in Croatia]

Audience: LGBTIQ population, activists, artists, and the general public
Founded: 2003

Website | Facebook

3. Iskorak

Iskorak (Lunge) was founded to gather heterosexual and LGBT persons to prevent violence against the LGBT community. The organization strives to prove that violence against any minority equals violence against society.

Iskorak aims to promote and protect human rights, emphasizing LGBT people, and accomplishes its goals through public, media, cultural, and health programs. It promotes civil society’s values such as individual freedom, nonviolence, equality, fairness, tolerance, diversity acceptance, humanism, and love.

Audience: LGBT persons, heterosexual people
Founded: 2002

Website | Facebook

4. Kontra

Lesbian Group Kontra is a non-governmental organization that advocates for the human rights of lesbians and bisexual women. It operates according to feminist and anti-militarist principles and opposes all forms of discrimination.

Kontra was founded by women active in the first feminist groups in Croatia. It opened the first lesbian SOS and info telephone line and counsel in Croatia. The group often collaborates with its sister organizations, Iskorak and Domino, and was a co-organizer of the first Zagreb Pride and Split Pride.

Audience: Lesbians, bisexual women, feminists
Founded: 1997

Facebook

5. kolekTIRV

kolekTIRV has been promoting the rights of trans, inter, and gender-variant people since 2012. The organization was registered to strengthen the TIRV community by promoting TIRV topics and community.

kolekTIRV’s mission is to promote and protect the human rights of trans*, inter*, and gender-variant people, deconstructing cisnormativity, the gender binary, patriarchy, and heteronormativity, and achieving the full equality of people of all genders, gender identities and/or gender expressions, through empowerment, advocacy, direct work and support, education, sensitization, research, and other activities.

Audience: Transgender, intergender, and gender-variant people
Founded: 2012

Website | Facebook | Instagram

6. qSPORT

qSPORT was founded to articulate queer perspectives and promote the contemporary field of gay and lesbian sports. The organization aims to promote the LGBTQ community in other sports, cultural, and social contexts.

qSPORT is set up to give impetus to local LGBTQ initiatives, groups, and individuals who want to meet for sports and recreational activities and participate in international LGBT sports events and institutional networks. It (re)presents unique perspectives of developing countries within different international LGBTQ and sports institutions/organizations.

Audience: Gay and lesbian athletes and those interested in sports
Founded: 2003

Website | Facebook

Non-profit LGBTQIA+ organizations in Rijeka, Croatia

1. LORI

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 against, hated, and offended, LORI was founded to fight for the right of these individuals to create and shape their identities.

The organization aims to promote and protect the human rights, identity, and culture of the LGBTIQ population, inform and sensitize the public to accept the LGBTIQ community, eradicate prejudice and homo/bi/transphobia in society, eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, and empower and ensure support for LGBTIQ people.

LORI’s most famous project in recent years has been the Smoqua Festival. Smoqua is a festival of Queer and Feminist Culture that takes place in Rijeka and celebrates communion, solidarity, activism, and arts. Smoqua 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.

Audience: LGBTIQ population and community
Founded: 2000

Website | Facebook

Non-profit LGBTQIA+ organizations in Split, Croatia

1. Rišpet

Rišpet is an NGO founded by Split Pride volunteers. Since the very beginning, Rišpet has been the main organizer of Split Pride. It founded the LGBT Center Split and has organized many formal and informal activities for Split’s LGBT community.

Rišpet fights to eliminate discrimination and violence based on gender and sexual orientation and stands for improving LGBT rights, healthcare, social services, and quality of life. It stimulates social changes through education, activism, promoting human and citizen rights and freedom, and volunteering.

Audience: LGBQ population
Founded: 2013

Facebook

2. Queer Sport Split

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.

The QSS aims to develop recreational and sports activities and popularize sports in the LGBT community and society in general. It wants to encourage the integration of LGBT individuals into sports, 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.

Audience: Gay and lesbian sports athletes and those interested in sports
Founded: 2011

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Other LGBTQIA+ non-profit organizations in Croatia

1. Dugine obitelji

Dugine obitelji (Rainbow Families) is a non-governmental organization whose mission is to fight for the family and parent rights of LGBTIQ people. It supports and helps LGBTIQ parents and children through information, education, and active participation in society’s transformation process.

Dugine obitelji 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. They launched a forum and a website to communicate online. The udruga was officially registered in 2017.

In 2018, they launched a picture book titled Moja dugina obitelj (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.

[Read: Most significant children’s books by Croatian authors]

Audience: Parents, individuals, and families which have children
Founded: 2011

Website | Facebook

All the pride parades in Croatia

 1. Zagreb Pride Parade

Zagreb Pride was the first LGBTQIA+ pride march in Croatia and Southeast Europe. It was inspired by the Stonewall riots in New York City in 1969. The LGBTQIA+ community considers Stonewall the most crucial event that led to the modern gay liberation movement and the Gay Liberation Front. The Pride takes place every June in Zagreb and is an entirely volunteer-based event organized by Zagreb Pride.

The first Pride was held in June 2002, and it was pretty risky. It was the first gay event in Croatia, and society as a whole wasn’t informed about the LGBTQIA+ community at the time. Around 200 people participated, and they were insulted by homophobic opponents. They were shouting homophobic catchwords, and some also threw teargas at the participants.

In recent years, Croatian society has become more liberal and open-minded, and usually, more than 10.000 people participate in the march. People from all parts of the country come to Zagreb to celebrate and support LGBTQIA+ rights, including a number of public figures – Zagreb’s mayor Tomislav Tomašević, television presenter Daniela Trbović, actress Nina Violić, musician Mile Kekin, writer Edo Popović, and many more.

The parade ends at Ribnjak (view map), a beautiful park in the center of Zagreb, where everybody celebrates accompanied by Croatian bands playing live music. View current events at Zagreb Pride’s official pages available in this section.

2. Zagreb Pride Ride

The first Pride Ride was organized in Zagreb in June 2020 as a reaction to the COVID-19 epidemic and its consequences. Pride Ride aims to prevent the restriction of rights and reduction of representation of LGBTQIA+ members in public and media spaces.

The next rides gathered more than 500 participants who were riding their bikes through the main streets of Zagreb. Many public figures joined the ride, including a deputy mayor of Zagreb, Danijela Dolenec, and a prominent member of the Croatian Parliament, Sandra Benčić.

The Pride Ride is organized by an initiative called Ponosni Zagreb (Proud Zagreb). It is an informal group of LGBTQIA+ activists who are engaged in protecting human rights.

Facebook

[Read: How to prepare for and handle an earthquake in Croatia]

3. Split Pride Parade

A Split pride parade is an event equal to the Zagreb pride parade, promoting LGBTQIA+ rights. The first Pride in Split was organized in June 2011. Split was the second city after Zagreb to have a pride parade.

The first Split Pride was a big step for the LGBTQIA+ community, but a lot of bad things happened. Around 300 activists marched through the city. Opponents drastically outnumbered them. Anti-gay protestors marched and threw rocks, teargas, and bottles at the pride activists. Unfortunately, the police didn’t protect them effectively.

The second Split Pride was more successful, gathering around 700 participants, including some from the neighboring countries. Many public figures also marched, including theater director Predrag Lucić, writer Ante Tomić, politician Vesna Pusić, musician Damir Urban, journalist Boris Dežulović, and many more. Around 900 police officers were engaged to protect the participants.

Split Pride has grown significantly over the years. It has become more accepted and even embraced by parts of the local community. It is important to note that there is still a heavy police presence yearly to ensure participant protection. Since 2011, the parade has walked through the city center every June, ending on Narodni Trg (view map). Tourists and locals alike often join in.

[Read: LGBTQIA+ friendly bars and communities in Croatia]

4. Osijek Pride Parade

In September 2014, Osijek was the third city in Croatia to host an LGBTQIA+ pride parade. Many people from Serbia and Greece came to support the Osijek Pride. After Osijek Pride, Croatia became the first country in the region to hold three or more pride parades.

Unfortunately, the idea of the Osijek Pride didn’t survive past the first year, and 2014 was the only year it was successfully organized. In 2015, Pride was canceled because the organization team didn’t have enough members.

5. Rijeka March

In June 2012, Rijeka supported Split Pride by organizing a similar march, which took place three hours before the start of Split Pride. Three hundred people marched through the city center to show their love and support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Rijeka Pride was planned for the next year but was never realized due to a lack of volunteers.

View our other LGBTQIA+ posts


Sources:
Zagreb Pride
Domino
Iskorak
KolekTIRV
qSPORT
Kontra
LORI
Rišpet
Ponosni Zagreb
Queer Sport Split
Dugine obitelji

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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