LGBT history in Yugoslavia

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LGBT history in Yugoslavia

1977 decriminalization of homosexuality in Yugoslavia

Preceded by    Serbia

 State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs

Followed by    Yugoslavia

Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1998).svg Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Flag of the Republic of Macedonia 1992-1995.svg Republic of Macedonia

Homosexuality in Yugoslavia was firstly decriminalized in Socialist Republics of Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Socialist Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in 1977.[1]

Kingdom of Yugoslavia[edit]

In 1937 Belgrade based daily newspaper Politika published news about young man from Central Serbia who arrived in Belgrade with his brothers to change his sex.[2]

World War II[edit]

Independent State of Croatia[edit]

In the case of Nazi Germany puppet state Independent State of Croatia sources are not found that would prove organized persecution neither there were explicit laws directed against homosexuality.[3] However, Croatian author Ilija Jakovljević in his text "Konclogor na Savi" (English:Concentration Camp on Sava) mentioned that in prison on Square N16 in Zagreb (modern day Victims of Fascism Square) he meet "lover of male body".[3]

National Liberation War 1941-1945[edit]

There are sources about homosexual Yugoslav Partisans during World War II in Yugoslavia. Milovan Đilas in his war memoirs tells the story from Sandžak where one Muslim soldier was exposed as homosexual by other soldiers and Regional Secretary.[4] Regional Secretary in doubt ask Đilas if he should "execute this freak", while Đilas remains in doubt admitting that at the time he did not know Communist Party of Yugoslavia practice nor anything was said about such matters by Marx and Lenin.[4] At the end under common sense he concluded that "from such vices suffer proletarians, and not only bourgeois decadent" but that he can not have functions or be party member.[4] Đilas says that he only later learned "that that homosexual, who in appearance was sheer manhood, was very brave and courageously fell in battle".[4]

Socialist Yugoslavia[edit]

Postwar persecution[edit]

In postwar period there were more examples of persecution and inhumane treatment of homosexual individuals. One of cases took place in Dubrovnik where members of communist party in 1952 arrested homosexuals, put them bags on heads and pejorative inscriptions and led them through the city.[5] In 1959 homosexuality was officially criminalized in Yugoslavia.[4]

Liberalization in 70–ties[edit]

In 1973 Croatian Medical Chamber remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders.[4] In 1974 University of Ljubljana law professor Ljubo Bavcon urged decriminalization of homosexuality as one of members of Commission for adoption of criminal law of Socialist Republic of Slovenia.[4] First federal subjects that decriminalized homosexuality were Socialist Republics of Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Socialist Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in 1977.[1] Other parts of Federation will make this move only after collapse of Yugoslavia. Serbia (excluding Vojvodina) in 1994, Macedonia in 1997 and finally Bosnia and Herzegovina (both Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska) in 1998.[4]

LGBT activism[edit]

First six-day long festival of gay culture in Yugoslavia was organized in April 1984 in Ljubljana.[6] In the same year first gay organization "Magnus" was founded in Ljubljana and in 1987 first lesbian organisation "LL (Lezbijska Lilit)".[6] First regular radio broadcast that among other marginalized groups dealt with gay issues were 1985 Zagreb based "Frigidna utičnica" (English:Frigid Socket) whose host Toni Marošević was openly gay.[3] Because of disapproval from Večernji list and Večernje novosti program was quickly after removed from station.[3] In its proclamation from 1986 organization "Magnus" demanded introduction of prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation in Yugoslav Constitution, decriminalization of homosexuality in whole Yugoslavia, introduction of curriculum that will present homosexuality and heterosexuality equally and demanded protest of Government of Yugoslavia against Socialist Republic of Romania, Soviet Union, Cuba, Iran and other countries where homosexuality was still criminalized at that time.[6] In 1990 in Hotel Moskva in Belgrade, which was popular gay gathering place in 70-ties, one gay and lesbian group began to organize meetings and in January 1991 they founded organization Arkadija.[3]

LGBT topics in pop culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b L. Grubić-Radakovi. "Seksualna delinkvencija u suvremenom krivičnom pravu" (in Serbo-Croatian). Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Centar za kvir studije. "Politika: Promena pola 1937. godine" (in Serbian). Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Spahić and Gavrić, Aida and Saša (2012). Čitanka LGBT ljudskih prava, 2. dopunjeno izdanje (in Serbo-Croatian). Sarajevo: Sarajevski otvoreni centar/Heinrich Böll Foundation. ISBN 978-9958-577-02-4. Retrieved April 23, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "LGBT PRAVA U SFRJ" (in Serbo-Croatian). Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  5. ^ Jutarnji list. "Muškarci su se voljeli i u vrijeme Tita" (in Croatian). Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c "TOPLA BRAĆA, HVALA NE! HISTORIJA SLOVENSKOG GEJ I LEZBEJSKOG POKRETA" (in Bosnian). Retrieved 14 April 2014.