Preliminary results of Zagreb Pride’s field survey: Coming out in Croatia still marked by the fear of violence and discrimination

Six in ten LGBTIQ persons in Croatia have experienced violence in public space such as streets and squares, schools and workplaces as well as at home, according to preliminary results of a research study investigating anti-LGBTIQ violence, discrimination and hate crime in Croatia. The second-largest Croatian field study using a sample of LGBTIQ participants was conducted during the spring and summer of 2019 by Zagreb Pride. The data was obtained from 767 participants from Croatia and abroad. Its main goals were to explore experiences of violence, discrimination and hate crime on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and/or sex characteristics. 

Results show that since 2013 as much as 64 percent of participants have experienced some form of violence on grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and/or sex characteristics. Slightly over 60 percent of us have experienced some form of discrimination in school, at the workplace or in contact with institutions such as the police, judiciary, and health service. For fear of discrimination or violence, 36 percent of respondents said they adjust their behavior at home, 37 percent do so in school, nearly 40 percent at the workplace and 43 percent in cafes. As many as 61 percent of us adjust our behavior in public space such as streets or squares.

Unfortunately, the results confirm that our daily life continues to be pervaded by fear and uncertainty in all aspects, both in private and public life. This year’s survey is the second of its kind – in 2013 Zagreb Pride conducted a similar research survey called “Brutal Reality“. Results of the survey will be used in planning future work on improving the status of LGBTIQ persons in Croatia and reducing violence and discrimination by ensuring the satisfactory application of the existing laws and building trust in the police and judiciary to encourage reporting of violence and discrimination.

Coming out is a political act of resistance towards violence and discrimination we experience every day.  For the occasion of the International Coming Out Day, we would like to congratulate everyone who had the courage to reveal their real identities to their families, friends, and surroundings, as well as our allies that support us. Also, we would like to give a special shoutout to all of our LGBTIQ individuals who are still unable to reveal their identities – you are not alone and only together we can change this society for the better. We are a part of this society, these are our streets, squares and institutions, and therefore – we celebrate Pride every day!

Finally, we want to thank all participants in this study for trusting us, and for sharing your experiences with us. Without the willingness to expose ourselves and to stand up for our rights, we cannot ensure the creation of a better society for all. This research study is thus only a small step in fighting for our rights, and in creating safer spaces in our society. Combating hate crimes and every other form of anti-LGBTIQ violence is Zagreb Pride’s main mission and the reason why we decided to conduct this research study again and tell the story to those who are in position to stop the violence. 

This project was funded, in part, through a Grant from the U.S. Embassy Zagreb. The opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Department of State.