Away from the Capitals: Decentralising Lesbian Activist Engagement

  • Bojan Bilić


Towards the end of her pioneering account of the Croatian “lesbian scene” published in 2001, Sanja Sagasta (2001, p. 370) laments that “the [women’s human rights] groups that keep their doors open for lesbian activists are those situated in Zagreb, while feminist principles of supporting all women regardless of their age, nationality, sexual orientation, etc. remain a myth for many NGO activists in the provinces”. This statement would have stayed Sagasta’s conclusion had she not, immediately prior to sending her essay to print, received a piece of news that made her add a new section to it: namely, in October 2000 a group of lesbian women gathered in Rijeka, around 200 km away from the capital, to establish LORI, the first legally registered lesbian (and, more generally, GBT) activist organisation in Croatia. LORI’s unexpected appearance marked lesbian activism’s departure from the centre of Croatian political and social life. This act constituted a counterpoint to the metro-normative “gay imaginary” (Weston 1995), which has “traditionally” portrayed provincial and rural places as intolerant and suffocating, celebrating at the same time urban milieus—namely capital cities—as accepting and progressive.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bojan Bilić
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Ciências SociaisUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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