Dear lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans*, intersex, gender variant people, dear queer people; dear families, dear moms and dads, moms and moms, dads and dads, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, grandmas and grandpas, grandsons and granddaughters; dear friends, supporters; dear life partners, dear spouses (future, current, and former)… It’s really great to see so many of you! They say there were over ten thousand of us in the parade! Many thanks for showing up in such large numbers! Today we fight for a better society, for a better Croatia, a diverse Croatia; for all those who aren’t here today. For all those in closets, for all those oppressed, for all those unable to raise their voices today. We are free, we are proud; we all fight against the dark, small-mindedness, violence, chauvinism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and all forms of exclusiveness. Let’s raise our heads proudly and say: a free life begins with pride! They burned our flags, tried to choke us with tear gas, but we will not fall back! We defiantly state: we shall not turn the other cheek! We are trans*, we are queer, we are intersex, we are bisexuals, we are lesbians, we are gays; we are all kinds of identities. We’re here and we’re not going away. We are here to oppose the idea of male and female bodies, of men’s and women’s roles. We say: there are only human bodies, and we’ll define our own roles in the society. We are here to show that our experiences and identities are real and valuable. We are here to oppose the idea that sexuality must serve a role of procreation. Our bodies are not here to serve! We will fight to make sexuality a matter of freedom and pleasure. We will not be disciplined! We will not be put in place! We will not bow to a repressive regime being forced upon us! We demand corporal autonomy, sexual freedom, and social and legal recognition of gender identity. Because, a free life begins with safe existence, freedom of violence, free decisions about our own bodies, free gender expressions, and with living in union with others; with solidarity and courage. In order to live our lives freely, we need appropriate and stable material conditions. We need to be settled, to have access to education, healthcare, and secure and dignified jobs. As LGBTIQ people, we are at increased homelessness, unemployment, and poverty in old age. We want change! We demand that social rights are based on every individual’s needs, rather than on the form of family and community in which one lives. We demand that our lives don’t depend on our position in the labor market or on our family’s support. Young LGBTIQ people grow up in hostile and violent surroundings. They get no support from their schools, they depend on families that often shun them, and they have no safe places to turn to. Therefore, we demand a free and safe life for all youth – a life free from abuse in families and schools. A free life means freedom from violence. We will not tolerate relativization of violence we are daily exposed to by government and institutions! We will not tolerate burning our flags, tear gas attacks, bullying in schools, abuse at workplaces. We demand that hate crimes against LGBTIQ people are effectively processed and punished; that we are no longer persecuted, threatened and humiliated. We state decidedly we will not turn the other cheek! We demand a society of solidarity in which everyone will react to poverty, violence, and discrimination against anyone: retired people, Roma people, unemployed people, sexual workers who had no other choice, people with disabilities, housewives, migrants, people seeking safe and free abortion. We are here to say that we who fight for freedom and equality are far more numerous than those fighting for inequality and all kinds of hierarchies. That handful of potentates and conservatives are powerless against us! They will not break apart our unions, our friendships, our families, our comradeship. A free life begins with pride! Viva Pride! Croatia has not yet fallen while we love;
it will crumble if we hate. After a long silence, it wants courage;
lowly now, it shall be proud. Hooray! Words of love shall be heard!
Hooray! Words of courage will be spoken! Croatia has not yet fallen while we choose;
no prohibitions, fear or shame – that’s what we fight for. Our bodies are still ours – we defend them;
we say FUCK OFF to preachers from the altars. Hooray! Hypocrites of worst kinds –
Hooray! – hear the defiance of “witches”! Croatia has not yet fallen while we strike;
underpaid, oppressed, demanding paychecks. We’re not slaves of the capital, we value work;
we won’t let you sell away our factories! Hooray! Hear the words of your workers;
Hooray! Her the words of solidarity! Croatia does not yet love us, we see;
we shall speak as long as we draw breath: Silence is still paid with gold while we suffer;
all people are not brothers while we have no rights. Hooray! Hear our uncensored words!
Hooray! Our words spread through Croatia! Hooray! Hear our words of solidarity!
Hooray! Our words spread through Croatia! “Even if I had vowed to be silent for personal safety, it wouldn’t have saved me from suffering and dying.” So said the feminist Audrey Lord regarding the need to turn silence into words and actions; the need to realize that silence cannot protect us from anything, even though we are taught so. With every new Pride, we once again refuse to be silent, to be erased, to be convinced in our helplessness and our inability to change our realities. We can change things. For years, the Pride unites thousands of people who decide to loudly and proudly fight for their rights. Recently, it started a new tradition. Three months ago, on the International Women’s Day, we did something thought impossible in Croatia. We held a mass feminist protest for women’s rights. At the Nocturnal March on 8th March, around six thousand people gathered to send a message to pro-lifers: back off from our bodies and our lives! We marched for the right to freely make decisions about our bodies; for a safe, available, legal and free abortion, which is being threatened by Catholic Church and political elite. In May, an entire array of feminist and human rights unions and initiatives stood to defend the right for abortion. We decidedly opposed the morbid so-called “Walk for life”, sending the clear message that the “Walk for life” oppresses women… …and that it’s a clear manifestation of the Church’s and state’s war against women. This war, we know, isn’t just against women. All those different in some way are fiercely and fascistically attacked. Croatia’s LGBTIQ community knows it best. First, a homophobic referendum attacked the rights of LGBTIQ people for a dignified life, and only then came the attack on reproductive rights and health. Let us speak today about reproductive justice, which is more than just the right for abortion. It includes abortion as a public health issue as well as pointing at other injustices in the field of reproductive health, especially the socio-economic barriers in availability of adequate healthcare. In order to make the decision whether or not to have children truly ours, the material aspect should be taken into account, as well as the public system of child care, such as kindergartens and schools, and the issue of privatization of healthcare, and leaving care for children and the elderly solely to women. Flexibilization of labor market must also be addressed, as well as unpaid house work. Domestic chores are still mostly done by women in heterosexual relationships, but only recently have they been put on te feminist and left-wing agenda. However, reproductive justice isn’t reserved only for women. It always includes a metter of corporal autonomy, rights, and health of trans* and intersex people. Basic human rights of intersex children are still broken in many countries through unnecessary surgeries attempting to fit them into a norm of male or female bodies. Trans* people have difficulties in receiving adequate healthcare, especially in the reproductive field. We recently heard that pro-lifers want to remove transsexual people from the anti-discrimination agenda, with the explanation that the term is “unclear to them”. We won’t allow ourselves to be erased, humiliated, and silenced! “Your silence will not protect you. A lot of silence must be ended.”, also said Audrey Lord. Feminism is loud, feminism is a fight; feminism addresses the core of this society’s problem. Feminism isn’t, and shouldn’t be, polite. Feminism turns our defiance and anger into an articulated resistance. Let us be feministically loud and proud together. Viva feminism! Viva Pride! I am Dijana, a third-grade student of School of graphics, design, and media production. I am here… I am here as one of the organizers of this year’s Pride, to point at the life conditions of young LGBTIQ Croatians. We young ones are brave and proud too! We too march because we’re mature enough to understand our situation and want to change it! We have nowhere to go, but want so much! We want safe areas where we can be with our crushes, our girlfriends and boyfriends, where we can kiss without disapproval, express ourselves freely, wear what we want, and explore ourselves! We want a place where we can empower each other, and we have a right for it! We have a right to grow up freely, without being monitored for so-called errors! Not many of us have supportive parents. Those of us who do (such as my awesome mother), wish they wouldn’t have to fear for our lives every time we leave the house. Those of us with unsupportive parents wish we wouldn’t constantly expect the future, the distant day when we become financially independent with our own jobs and houses. For many of us, that day is very far away. We don’t want to wait for our life to begin any more, spending our days in fear and isolation. We don’t want to move away nor live in fear of becoming homeless! We want to live now, at this moment, in our cities and villages! We want a safe and available support system for those of us unsupported by parents or exposed to violence. We want the schools to be safe for us. Our teachers, who should be supportive and protective, often aren’t. Often, they don’t even understand our situation. When we are insulted, teachers and principals often turn their backs. We are considered too young to know our identities, or that it’s a result of a trend or a modern society’s fabrication! We are told our experiences are a result of someone’s ideology! We are told our opinions insult conservatives and our parents, and that someone’s right for conservativism and religious beliefs is more important than our freedom and life free of violence! But we will not give in! We who have supportive friends and communities, we who walk proudly at the Pride, will fight for ou friends who still live in fear! We want that schools, dorms, and other educational institutions include a system of prevention and punishment of transphobic and homophobic behavior! We want our teachers to be our allies, not our oppressors! We want to learn about brave LGBTIQ people who made history, as well as everyday life of those facing problems like ours! We want to learn about sexuality without being told something is wrong with us! We want more education about responsible sexual behavior! Twelve years of education is too much for only a few lectures about sexuality and responsible sexual and emotional behavior. We want informative and empowering textbooks and classes! We want knowledge and support, not trauma and fear! We want to live freely and proudly! To all the young LGBTIQ people here, and to those who couldn’t come, I say: Be brave and be proud! Change is coming!