On 26 April 2007 the Lesbian Group Kontra and Iskorak publicly presented the beginning of the campaign “We’re not homophobic, but…”, whose aim was to raise the awareness of citizens about the rights of sexual and gender minorities and to promote the rights of same-sex partners.
The centre of attention of the campaign was taken by homophobia in the Croatian Parliament, Catholic Church and Croatian society generally. The goal of the campaign was to put pressure on Members of Parliament inviting them at their responsibility to the protection of the rights of same-sex partners. Jumbo billboards and leaflets contained a test on homophobia by which citizens could question their own opinions according to the opinions which were expressed by Members of Parliament during the debate on the Registered Partnership Bill. In the public advocacy the Lesbian Group Kontra and Iskorak used arguments of relevant European documents, resolutions, directives, etc. and the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as other international regulations and positive examples from countries of the European Union. A press conference which announced the beginning of the campaign was well covered by the media. Activities as part of a campaign were held as follows.
Distribution of leaflets in front of the building of the Croatian Parliament on St Mark’s Square
On 27 April 2007 representatives of the Lesbian Group Kontra and Iskorak distributed leaflets as part of the campaign to members of the Croatian Parliament. After MP Božica Šolić (HDZ) received the leaflet she said: “90% of citizens consider themselves Catholics and a minority may not rape the majority.” MP Andrija Hebrang (HDZ) took the leaflet and simply shook hands with activist Sanja Juras. MP Pejo Trgovčević (HSP) said that he would consider the questions since he was a member of the Parliamentary Committee which dealt with “those things”. After he was asked which things he was talking about, he answered: “human rights”. MP Zlatko Kramarić (HSLS) said that he supported the rights of sexual minorities. The opinion of MP Željka Pavlica (MDC) was also supporting. This activity was well covered by the media.
Distribution of leaflets on Ban Josip Jelačić Square in Zagreb
Activists of the Lesbian Group Kontra and Iskorak distributed leaflets to citizens of Zagreb on the main city square on 3 May 2007. This activity was conducted between 10.00 and 12.00. The reactions of the majority of citizens were neutral. One young man asked activist Kristijan Grđan: “Are you a faggot?” But there were no further incidents.
Distribution of leaflets in Rijeka
On 10 May 2007 activists of the Lesbian Group Kontra and Iskorak distributed leaflets in Rijeka, on the Korzo, waterfront and nearby streets. This activity was organised and conducted in cooperation with the Lesbian Group Rijeka – LORI. The reactions of the majority of citizens were similar to those in Zagreb and no incidents were recorded.
Distribution of leaflets in Split
On 14 May 2007 activists of the Lesbian Group Kontra and Iskorak distributed leaflets in Split, on the waterfront, Marmontova Street and nearby streets. However, the reactions of citizens were very similar to the reactions of citizens in Zagreb and in Rijeka and no incidents were recorded.
Celebrating of the International Day Against Homophobia
As part of the campaign the International Day Against Homophobia was also marked. On 17 May 2007 activists of the Lesbian Group Kontra and Iskorak, in cooperation with activists of the Women’s Network of Croatia gathered in order to attract attention to the Catholic Church as the hotbed of homophobia and hate speech. Other than the leaflets “We’re not homophobic, but…”, leaflets about homophobia in the church were also distributed to citizens, and the whole activity was conducted between 11.00 and 12.00 in front of Zagreb Cathedral on Kaptol.
While the activists were in front of the cathedral and giving statements to journalists, one man came out of the cathedral and started to shout at the activists: “Get out of here!” and “You’re ruining my home!” After the activists refused to leave, the man grabbed activist Kristijan Grđan by the arm and began to push him. Then he grabbed the coordinator of the Women’s Network of Croatia, Mrs Bojana Genov, but he stopped the attack when she asked him: “Are going to hit me here as well? Shame on you!” He also attacked a reporter who was photographing the event. When asked about his identity he did not wish to introduce himself. He just told one reporter that he was a teacher of history and connected with a project in the Catholic Church. After he returned to the cathedral the activists peacefully continued with their action. A few moments later a student from the Catholic Theological Faculty approached the activists and asked them to leave the area in front of the cathedral or else he would be forced to call the dean. The activists refused to leave the space in front of the cathedral and the dean of the Catholic Theological Faculty never appeared.
The activity was continued by distributing leaflets on the main city square and surrounding streets, and it was well covered by the media..
Distribution of leaflets in Osijek
This activity was carried out by activists of the Lesbian Group Kontra and Iskorak in cooperation with the organisation Duga and volunteers from Osijek. The activists were split into two groups and the first one delivered leaflets in the Fortress, while the second group delivered leaflets on the main promenade. The group which was distributing leaflets on the main promenade was comprised of only women and they recorded several incidents, such as passers-by shouting at them “Dikes!”. The second group recorded incidents when passers-by shouted “Faggots, go fuck yourselves!” and one young man threw a leaflet back at one activist. However, during the action we also received three calls to the Lesbian Group Kontra and Iskorak’ telephone line from citizens who wanted to express their support to us.
The national campaign was concluded with this activity.