Ljubljana related

09 Jul 2022, 09:42 AM

STA, 8 July 2022 - Aleš Primc of the Children are at Stake Coalition believes the Constitutional Court's decision to allow gay marriage and adoption is scandalous, unfair and ideological. He said the decision contravened the Constitution because two of the nine judges were biased.

The Constitutional Court announced on Friday that it had decided in two separate 6:3 votes that legislation under which only heterosexual partners can marry and same-sex couples cannot adopt children was in contravention of the constitutional ban on discrimination.

Primc said in a press release that the decision went against the principle of fairness, natural law and Slovenian culture.

"Constitutional Court justices squandered the decision of 1,085,275 citizens who said in three referendums that Slovenia's legislation must protect the basic human rights of children to having a mother and a father and the natural characteristics of the female and male sex."

He claims the decision to be "criminal" from the aspect of demography and could be considered treason. "For 40 years Slovenia has been failing to reach the birth rate needed for natural regeneration of the population."

He believes the decision violates Article 53 of the Constitution, which says that "the state shall protect the family, motherhood, fatherhood, children, and young people and shall create the necessary conditions for such protection".

Moreover, the decision goes against the Constitution because it included two biased judges: Katja Šugman Stubbs took part in the 2018 referendum campaign on the side of LGBT activists, and so did Aleksander Čeferin, brother of Constitutional Court judge Rok Čeferin, said Primc, referring to a referendum that enacted the provisions overturned today.

He believes the decision will become the foundation for artificial insemination of women without a husband or partner, for children trafficking, and for the exploitation of poor women, who will "receive money to conceive, give birth and sell their children to rich clients".

The Children are at Stake Coalition intends to step up its fight for children's rights and their values.

12 Jun 2022, 09:21 AM

STA, 11 June 2022 - This year's Pride Parade festival culminated in Ljubljana Pride on Saturday in what was a parade celebrating difference and equality. Members of the LGBTIQ+ community called for peace in Ukraine, and several senior officials participated in Pride and addressed them at the end of the parade. 

LGBTIQ+ organisations put up Pride Village in Congress Square prior to Pride. Visitors were able to learn about what they do, get creative in the arts and crafts corner or get their face painted for the parade.

Held under the slogan Time for the Rainbow Voice, Ljubljana Pride or the Pride march was dedicated to calls for visibility, equality and respect for everyone, as well as to calls for an end to the war in Ukraine.

The Rainbow Voice helped the community to turn out in record numbers and have a say in the outcome of the April election, said Katja Štefanec from the Pride Parade Association in her speech. "We demand that your pre-election promises and goodwill are put into practice!" she told the new government.

In Congress Square, where the march ended, the participants were also addressed by Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković and Simon Maljevac, Labour Ministry state secretary who is expected to become the minister in charge of labour, family, social affairs and equal opportunities after the planned government reshuffle in the coming months.

When this happens, he will become Slovenia's first openly gay minister.

Maljevac argued that the rainbow did not mean much if it did not become an active part of politics as a symbol of diversity and respect for human rights for all. "It is time to make our beautiful words that no one should be overlooked reality," he said.

The event was also addressed by Beograd Pride representative Filip Vulović and Lambda Warsaw representative Krzysztof Kliszczynski, and attended by, among others, Labour Minister Luka Mesec, Justice Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan, Culture Minister Asta Vrečko and MEP Milan Brglez, the organisers said.

Several ministries also flew the rainbow flag to mark the Pride day.

The Interior Ministry wrote that "discrimination, ridicule or intimidation have no place in a modern and inclusive society". They added that the Constitution clearly states that Slovenia is a country of all its citizens.

"Diversity does not impoverish society, but enriches it and makes it more meaningful," the ministry said, announcing that the police would ensure the safety of all participants today.

There were no reports of any incidents during Pride, however in the run-up to it a number of LGBTIQ+ posters in the capital had been vandalised.

The Pride Parade festival, which started on 3 June, focused on the integration of local LGBTIQ+ communities and the needs of rural LGBTIQ+ people as well as the impact of local and national elections on their rights. Other focus areas included solidarity towards LGBTIQ+ refugees from Ukraine, housing issues of LGBTIQ+ people and freedom of expression.

The highlights were also Koroška Pride in the northern town of Slovenj Gradec and a spoken word performance by British poet Joelle Taylor, the latest winner of the prestigious T.S. Eliot Prize.

03 Jun 2022, 12:06 PM

STA, 3 June 2022 - The 2022 Pride Parade festival, which starts on Friday, will hold a mirror up to politicians and hold the new coalition and government to their election promises, said Simona Muršec, head of the Pride Parade Association. Bringing many events, the week-long festival will wrap up with Ljubljana Pride next Saturday.

Muršec noted at a recent press conference that the legal rights and status of LGBT+ people were still not regulated in many areas, but the social climate had changed in the last two years.

The Pride Parade Association has been active in trying to mobilise LGBT+ people, young people in particular, and the wider community, including the community's allies and all those fighting for human rights, to strive to make a difference.

The Rainbow Voice initiative was also launched ahead of the April general election to inform voters about how different parties approach issues important to the LGBT+ community. The association expects the new government to deliver on the promises made in the run-up to the election, but above all they want the rhetoric to be such that it creates "a different climate in society".

One of the festival's highlights will be tomorrow's Koroška Pride, the third pride parade to be held in Slovenj Gradec in the northern Koroška region.

The festival's programme also features roundtable debates, workshops, performances, an exhibition of young queer artists and other events aimed at raising awareness about the LGBT+ community. One of the debates will be dedicated to efforts to support LGBT+ refugees from Ukraine.

Another highlight will be next Friday's spoken word performance by British poet Joelle Taylor, the latest recipient of the prestigious T.S. Eliot prize.

More details here

24 May 2022, 10:39 AM

STA, 24 May 2022 - Russian activist group Pussy Riot will perform at the Lesbian Quarter festival in Ljubljana on Thursday, in what the organiser ŠKUC Association dubbed as one of the highlights. The festival will focus on lesbian future, which in a heteronormative and patriarchal society must be understood as "a radically impossible utopia".

The Russian punk band came to global fame following their February 2012 gig at Moscow's main cathedral drawing the public's attention to the Orthodox Church's support for President Vladimir Putin. All three members of the band were later sentenced to prison over the gig.

The 8th Lesbian Quarter is opening on Tuesday with an evening of post-2008 short films at the Slovenian Cinematheque.

The films bring accounts of activists about their efforts, while also representing a guerilla response to lesbophobia, lesbian invisibility, and violence and discrimination in Slovenia.

Several workshops, including about storytelling and digital activism, will be organised alongside a panel discussion to mark 35 years of the Slovenian lesbian movement.

The Lesbian Quarter will close with Saturday's party accompanying a new edition of the Lezbozin bulletin and with Sunday's Astro-brunch.

Tickets for Pussy Riot can be bought here

08 Dec 2021, 14:50 PM

STA, 8 December 2021 - Equal Opportunities Ombudsman Miha Lobnik has noted that the permanent ban on blood donations for all homosexual men is discriminatory, as they are excluded from taking part in this important philanthropic activity despite the fact that the safety of blood donations is also ensured by additional testing for viruses.

Although HIV and other blood-borne viruses are also transmitted during heterosexual sex, blood donation is only prohibited in advance and permanently for homosexual and bisexual men, the office of the Advocate of the Principle of Equality said on Wednesday.

According to Lobnik, the Health Ministry and the Blood Transfusion Centre are responsible for this, and the ombudsman already warned them in 2018 about the potential inadequacy of the current regulation.

Meanwhile, the centre said that Slovenia was due to change regulations in 2022, under which only temporary bans on blood donations will remain, while donors will be selected on the basis of the riskiness of their sexual behaviour, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Lobnik found that the general permanent ban on blood donations for men who have sexual relations with other men in Slovenia was originally meant to ensure that the donated blood was safe, as these men were generally more prone to HIV infection risks, according to statistical data.

But the data by the National Institute of Public Health for the period between 2009 and 2018 show that newly diagnosed HIV infections were not only detected among men who have sexual relations with other men, as around 16% of newly infected persons got the virus through heterosexual sex.

A permanent ban on blood donation only for homosexual and bisexual men is therefore not an appropriate means of ensuring the safety of donated blood, as the risk of contracting HIV or other blood-borne viruses depends primarily on sexual behaviour, Lobnik said.

In addition, all donated blood has been tested for the presence of certain viruses for many years, which further confirms the assessment that the currently established system is not the only possible way to ensure the safety of donated blood, he said.

In his assessment of the proportionality of the blood donation ban, Lobnik also noted that this measure perpetuated and spread prejudice against same-sex relationships as such and reinforced the stigmatisation of homosexuality.

The measure causes more harm to society and individuals than it brings benefits, as it infringes on the rights of individuals and unnecessarily denies their blood while spreading stigma. In Lobnik's view, the regulation is therefore not in line with the principle of proportionality.

Few countries in the EU permanently ban all men who have sexual relations with other men from donating blood. In addition to Slovenia, only Croatia, Greece and Lithuania have such regulations.

In other EU countries, there is no such permanent ban on blood donation, or it is only temporary and depends on whether the potential donor has had risky sex within a certain period of time before donating blood.

Interested in giving blood in Slovenia? Learn more here, in English

27 Jun 2021, 15:01 PM

STA, 27 June 2021 - Maribor held its second Pride Parade on Saturday, a week after a similar event was held in Ljubljana, with the city's local authorities and the university joining in for the first time.

The organizers said they had distributed all the 300 promotional bracelets among the participants, as many more people took part.

Featuring rainbow flags and banners, the parade set off from the city's Freedom Square to proceed around the old town, calling for solidarity under the slogan For You, for Me for Us.

"The slogan is mean to express solidarity with everyone in Slovenia, not just the LGBTQIA+ community, mainly as a response to the current developments," said Doris Špurej, the coordinator of the programme of the Maribor Cultural Centre that organised the parade.

"Pride Parades have been important and are in particular important now, mainly in Maribor, where we are still lagging behind when it comes to visibility, safe spaces and access to information," she added.

Matej Behin, a member of the organising team, referred to Hungary's new anti-LGBTIQ law, stressing that "even the rights that have been gained cannot be taken for granted".

The biggest round of applause went to Urban Bren, the vice-chancellor of the University of Maribor, who described the rainbow flag on the chancellor's office as a sign "that we are an open and welcoming university in an open and welcoming town".

The event was also attended by representatives of the opposition Social Democrats and the Left.

Maribor held its first pride parade in June 2019. The event was not held last year.

24 Jun 2021, 13:46 PM

STA, 24 June 2021 - The centre-left opposition called for Slovenia's top officials to protest against Hungary's controversial new anti-LGBTQ law, voicing disappointment over Slovenia's failure to join the 16 EU countries that expressed their concern over the law in a joint statement.

The Social Democrats (SD) voiced their expectation in a press release that Slovenia's top officials will express a "diplomatic protest" over violation of LGBTQ rights in Hungary as Prime Minister Viktor Orban visits Slovenia for the independence ceremony anniversary on Friday.

The party said the Hungarian parliament's decision to ban debate on homosexuality in the education process marked a fast march toward a society where there would be no freedom, equality or respect for diversity. The party illuminated its headquarters in Ljubljana in rainbow colours yesterday as a sign of solidarity with the LGBTQ community.

The Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) is disappointed because Slovenia failed to sign on to the joint statement of 16 EU countries expressing concern over the contentious law and developments in Hungary "where the Viktor Orban regime sided with violation of basic human rights and tramples principles of equality".

"This is yet another piece of evidence showing our current government and Prime Minister Janez Janša in particular have been coquetting and cooperating with the Orban regime and even copying his conduct - in the field of media, judiciary and human rights as well as all other basic democratic standards".

Calling the actions unacceptable, the party endorsed the position of the 16 EU countries in a press release, adding that in Slovenia most of the people were committed to human rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Slovenian constitution.

Foreign Ministry State Secretary Gašper Dovžan said Slovenia did not join in the statement by the 16 EU countries because as the next country presiding the Council of the EU it would enter the role of a neutral negotiator "whose goal is to seek a balance between various views of EU member countries and look to near their views on common topics under discussion".

As a sign of protest against the Hungarian LGBTQ law, the city council of Munich called for the city's arena to be illuminated in rainbow colours for Wednesday's Euro 2020 match between Germany and Hungary, a move that was blocked by UEFA, Europe's football governing body, which is headed by Slovenia's Aleksander Čeferin.

The opposition Left criticised the UEFA leadership over the decision. In a press release on Wednesday the party called the decision regrettable, although not surprising "considering the football establishment is also invoking 'non-political' context when it imposes fines for Palestinian flags, pro-Catalan slogans [...]".

"Football is a political matter per se and at the same time a space that masses fill not only with their bodies but also with their persuasions," the party said.

20 Jun 2021, 11:10 AM

STA, 20 June 2021 - The LGBTIQ+ community staged the Pride Parade in Ljubljana on Saturday afternoon under the slogan Resist the Oppression as a culmination of a week-long festival, demanding freedom, equality and unconditional respect for human rights of LGBTIQ+ persons. The annual parade was for the first time accompanied by the Balkan Trans Intersex March. 

The rights the LGBTIQ+ community has acquired and perceived as unalienable are today again at stake, the Pride Parade Association, the event's organisers, said in a statement.

"Just like every year, we're fighting for our rights. But since we're witnessing a rise in hate and regression in what we've already achieved, it's now even more important to preserve what we've achieved," activist Katja Štefanec from the association told the STA.

The parade urged resistance against authoritative authorities and against the illiberalism of the incumbent government, which perceives as threat everything that is different, the organisers said.

The focus was also on the consequences the coronavirus epidemic and restrictions had for LGBTIQ+ persons, including rising homelessness and deteriorating mental health.

The Balkan Trans Intersex March meanwhile brought together members of the transgender, intersex and non-normative sexuality communities to march in Ljubljana's streets.

Held under the slogan With Love, the march addressed transphobia, interphobia, violence, lack of legal protection, violations of private rights and shortcomings in healthcare for the transgender, intersex and non-normative sexuality communities.

"Due to their sex change, transgender and intersex persons are faced with even more discrimination," the march's representative Edi Klobučar told the STA.

"There is an additional stigma in our country because of pathologisation, that is medicalisation. So the message of this year's parade is the need for access to healthcare, which has been additionally hindered due to the epidemic over the past year."

The march also called on the media to report on this community without additional stigmatisation.

Mayor Zoran Janković, addressing the parade as it arrived in Congress Square, said Ljubljana is a city that has always been and will remain open.

Simona Muršec, the association's president, said the past year had been hard, frustrating and hopeless for the entire LGBTIQ+ community, stressing that "the political measures to fight the epidemic pushed the bulk of our community into more poverty and more precariousness, back into the closet or even into homelessness."

She believes that after the epidemic, the LGBTIQ+ community will have to once again fight for its physical presence in society.

"In a society which does not have freedom, solidarity and dignity for all, there will soon be no freedom for anyone," stressed Matjaž Gruden, the head of the Council of Europe directorate for democratic participation, via video call.

The head of the European Commission Representation in Slovenia, Jerneja Jug Jerše, said the EU was striving to be a union of equality, pointing to its adoption of a strategy on LGBTIQ+ equality last year.

Since 12 June, the Pride Parade Festival has featured a number of events, such as exhibitions, workshops, discussions, and literary events.

The first Pride Parade in Ljubljana was organised in 2001.

18 Jun 2021, 12:32 PM

Saturday, 18 July, sees the main event of Pride Month take to the streets in Ljubljana – the annual parade and associated events. This year there’s a focus on Balkan Trans Inter solidarity, but as usual it’s open and welcoming to all, a fun day out to celebrate some of the freedoms Slovenians enjoy, in this the 30th year since the country gained independence.

You can start the day with the LGBTIQ+ Bazaar in Kongresni trg / Park Zvezda, which runs from 10:00 to 15:00 and should see various stalls presenting the work and goods of related organisations.

The parade itself gathers in Metelkova at 17:00, and at 18:00 will set out for an hour’s march around the streets of the city, taking in Masarykova, Dunajska cesta, Slovenska cesta and ending up in Kongresni Trg / Park Zvezda, the same as the afternoon bazaar. There you can expect speeches, music and more until 23:00, when attendees will break out into different groups to enjoy various parties and events around town. While the organisers are following the covid rules with regard to being tested, recovered or vaccinated, these are not required for attendees – but do bring a mask, and if have any paperwork, like a vaccination certificate or recent test, it’s probably a good idea to carry that too.

Ljubljana Pride has an English language website and a Facebook group

14 Jun 2021, 15:39 PM

Časoris is an online newspaper aimed at children. Each week we’ll take an article and post it here as a Slovene-English dual text.

Nagovarjati moramo vse vrste raznolikosti

We need to address all kinds of diversity

Written by Sandra Hanžič,  translated by JL Flanner & G Translate

Junija praznujemo mesec ponosa LGBTI+ skupnosti. V soboto se tako začne slovenski teden ponosa, ki se bo zaključil s tradicionalno parado.

In June, we celebrate the LGBTI + Community Pride Month. On Saturday, the Slovenian Pride Week begins, which will end with a traditional parade.

Ta mesec so izbrali, ker so se junija 1969 pripadniki skupnosti množično uprli diskriminaciji. A mnogi se še vedno soočajo z različnimi težavami.

This month was chosen because in June 1969, members of the community resisted discrimination as a group. But many still face various problems.

V Sloveniji so mladi žrtve nasilja doma, v šoli in javnem prostoru. Do njih se neprimerno obnašajo tudi v zdravstvenih in socialnih službah, ugotavlja Anže Jurček s fakultete za socialno delo, ki je sodeloval v evropskem projektu Raznolikost in otroštvo.

In Slovenia, young people are victims of violence at home, at school and in public. They are also treated inappropriately in health and social services, says Anže Jurček from the Faculty of Social Work, who participated in the European project Diversity and Childhood.

Velika večina gejev in lezbijk je še vedno žrtev nasilja. Med podatki iz leta 2003 (53,3 odstotka) in tistimi iz leta 2014 (50,3 odstotka) ni občutnih razlik. Zaskrbljujoče pa je večje nasilje v šolah. To se je podvojilo z 22 na 44 odstotkov.

The vast majority of gays and lesbians are still victims of violence. There are no significant differences between the data from 2003 (53.3 percent) and those from 2014 (50.3 percent). Worrying, however, is the greater violence in schools. This doubled from 22 to 44 percent.

Podobno ugotavljajo druge raziskave, ki so pokazale, da so vse LGBT+ osebe v veliki meri (40 odstotkov) deležne diskriminacije in nasilja v šolah.

Similarly, other surveys have found that among all LGBT + people a large proportion (40 percent) face discrimination and violence in schools.

V evropskem projektu Raznolikost in otroštvo so prepoznavali tudi različne vrste nasilja nad njimi.

The European project Diversity and Childhood also identified different types of violence against them.

Pogosta sta psihično nasilje in nesprejemanje mladih v domačem okolju, kar lahko vodi v mladoletno brezdomstvo.

Psychological violence and rejection of young people in the home environment are common, which can lead to youth homelessness.

Naleteli so tudi na dobre prakse. V eni od srednjih šol, denimo, izvajajo krožek, ki dijakom omogoča pogovor o teh temah.

They also came across good practices. In one of the high schools, for example, they run a group that allows students to talk about these topics.

Tudi sodelujoči v projektu menijo, da se je o teh temah treba čim več pogovarjati.

The participants in the project also believe that these topics should be discussed as much as possible.

Predlagajo še izobraževanje strokovnjakov, da bodo znali prepoznavati tovrstno nasilje in se odzivati nanj.

They also suggest educating professionals to be able to recognize and respond to this type of violence.

Ustanove pa morajo po njihovih priporočilih s programi in plakati sporočati, da v njihovih prostorih spoštujejo raznolikost in da se mladi pri njih lahko počutijo varne.

However, according to their recommendations, institutions must communicate through programs and posters that they respect diversity on their premises and that young people can feel safe with them.

Read more stories and improve your Slovene at Časoris, while all our dual texts can be found here.

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