|Links to other documents from the "Homophobia" dossier|
|Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Slovenia - a report by ŠKUC-LL|
|Eleven years of independence,|
eleven years of homophobia
The explicit prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation is excluded from the Constitution. Angelca Žerovnik from the Social Democrat Party of Slovenia believes that the prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation would allow for orientation towards "children, animals, and statues".
June: the Ljubljana City Council cancels the financial aid to Revolver stating that it is a "pornographic magazine" and at the same time prohibits the (co-) funding of GLBT projects.
|In December, Roza Klub issued a leaflet "Sexuality and AIDS". The following year begins with a scandal: dr. Veljko Troha of the Expert Council for Education and Upbringing makes assesses the leaflet as inappropriate for the youth because it "does not adhere to our Slovenian family mentality". It was even said to be an undercover action of trafficking young people into homosexuality. Dr. Anton Dolenc, a professor at the Medical Faculty and president of the Slovenian Medical Society adds that same-sex oriented people are "a perversion of society since there is no way for them to procreate with their sexual practices, therefore they are doomed to extinction in the first generation and as such, they are a dead branch on the living tree of life". The Slovenian Chamber of Health detaches itself from this statement, however only following a public appeal. The World Health Organization later rates the leaflet as unobjectionable.|
There is much excitement caused by the initiative to the Constitutional Court filed by Aleksander Perdih and Silvo Zupanc. In its reply to the Constitutional Court, the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Affairs refers to the existing Law on the matrimonial relationship and family relations.
"But this type of sexual orientation is often linked to some other neurotic or emotional disturbances. Homosexuality is often linked to drug abuse and it manifests itself in special forms of conduct. The psychologists' meeting studied this problem and our unanimous opinion was that our army doesn't advocate it, but we also don't prevent it. Probably development also brings deviant phenomena: drugs, homosexuality. But this is here still in the early stages."
Letters of the readers in Delo (the largest national daily newspaper): in reference to the events in Zagreb where an HIV-positive man had knowingly infected several of his partners, Vera Hauptman residing in Litija demands a compulsory testing of all Slovenians for HIV and supports her argument with the positive effects of photofluorography.
The GLBT movement intends to organize the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the organized movement. The celebration was to take place on May 27 on the Ljubljana Castle. The leaseholder Dejan Novak cancels the event minutes before its beginning stating that "he had only heard a couple of hours prior to the event that this is an event organized by homosexuals" and he was concerned that "he would get a bad reputation. If he allowed this, he would probably lose his clientele".
On February 23, Angelca Žerovnik, the inventor of the expression "lesbism", tells us in a statement for "TV Tednik", a weekly news show, that homosexuality can simply "go away with time" for some people.
On March 16, dr. Karel Zupančič gives a lecture at the Law Faculty entitled "Law and the lifelong unions of same-sex persons (sic!)". Among other things, he said the following: ">From the legal point of view, a marital union is significant as the frame that is the most beneficial for the child. It is about the founding of a family in a natural manner. Same-sex persons cannot have natural children, however." He believes that a different sexual orientation presupposes a different treatment under the law.
On April 14, Delo Stik carries out a survey among 609 telephone subscribers. The majority of the people asked (35.6%) are bothered by the sexual orientation of other people. Almost 60% do not support same-sex marriages. Only one-fifth of the people surveyed believe that the state should take decisive action against the phenomena and movements that profess racism, chauvinism and intolerance towards foreigners in general.
"I have no prejudice against same-sex love, but only if affection comes from both sides equally - I don't like if boys are being harassed and forced into another form of life, which they don't want." (Miša Molk, interview for Slovenske novice, August 22)
On August 25, Vice-president of the National Assembly Lev Kreft opens the "International discussion on homosexuality" and becomes the victim of negative criticism in "Slovenec", a then-daily newspaper.
In September, Delo publishes a comment entitled "New Form of Rape", where the author "R.K." writes, among other things: "Many are asking themselves, for example, if the promotion of homosexuality is truly one of the unavoidable ways in which citizens must prove their level of tolerance towards different people. So we had a world congress, some other panel discussions and meetings, and some days ago, an international congress of those who are sexually different. Ever more loudly, the rights of these people are discussed and also the equality of the different, about the possibility of adoption, some evil tongues hint at requests for a special shortened pension qualifying period and various other benefits... The constantly repeated slogans demanding the right to be different and complaining about the intolerance which surrounds them, in view of the actual circumstances, however, are not applicable at all, they are provoking and propagandist, if anything." The comment goes on to describe an instance of rape, where the rapist and the victim were both male. The commentator ascribes homosexuality to the rapist and heterosexuality to the victim and describes the event as an "unusual, a completely new form of rape for our city". The description of the rape is followed by another homophobic outburst: "[...] the silence with which the group, which publicly displays its difference, has surrounded itself, leads us to believe that the event does not exactly speak in favor of the fight for "privileges" and the various congregations of homosexuals in Ljubljana. It seems that even amongst the different, there are villains."
On January 7, the chief of security in the only gay and lesbian club in the country beats the club's promoter. The club's management refused to condemn and gave evasive statements how "the promoter was never popular among security guards." More serious actions were taken only after activists took over the premises of the club and disabled the cashier and the DJ to do their work.
On February 18, a survey, taken by the weekly newspaper NeDelo, shows that 6.4% of Slovene populations finds jokes based on people's differences (blondes, homosexuals) the funniest. In March 1996, 19th issue of Revolver is published and provides attitudes toward homosexuality of Slovenian political parties. Representatives of all but one party shared their views. Slovenska ljudska stranka (Slovene People's Party) refused to take part. Some interviews contain statements that could be labeled homophobic. For example, SKD (Slovene Christian Democrats) representative Nada Skuk stated that a family is "a father, a mother and a child."; "We know what is the purpose of a family and the purpose of pursuing a family. The purpose is continuation of a generation, continuation of humans, and that is possible only in the case when two people of different sexes unite- when to mate, so to speak." She also says that her party would never support establishment of a governmental office for issues regarding homosexuality: "No, I do not think it is necessary." She also answered the question whether their party has any gay members: "I believe there are none. Judging by our program, orientation and our evidences, there is not a sign that there are." Similar response was given by Aleksandra Forte of SDSS (Social Democratic Party of Slovenia: "As far as family is concerned, our party follows such definitions of family where we think that its primary task is bringing up and nurturing children. The existence of family is, therefore, limited with children. That is why we believe that expertise provides good arguments that environment of same-sex partners does not provide sufficient conditions for a child's up-bringing. [...] Psychology and psychoanalysis does not label such communities as pathological, however, judging by psychodynamics and suitable environment for up-bringing, a child needs both male and female figures involved. [...]"
The same magazine runs an interview with pop singer Marta Zore entitled "I support clear democracy"; "[...] for example, adoption of children by same-sex partners... I would not allow that for a simple reason. A child is entitled to both, mother and father, therefore both. I also believe that a woman who would like to adopt (or bear) a child, should also consider the father before pursuing her wish. [...] As far as joint households and issues of same-sex partnerships are concerned, I support some 'fair' arrangement. Perhaps two people can sign an interpersonal contract, if not something else. [...]"
On August 8, three foreigners were refused entrance into Slovenia at the Hungarian border by Slovenian police, despite written invitation of organisers of 10th regional IGLA conference for East, Southeast and Central Europe, taking place in Ljubljana. They even carried organisers' guarantee that both accommodation and nourishment are taken care of. Formal explanation was that they lacked means for survival. Police stated that they carried 300USD altogether, while the affected claimed they head 300USD each. They also complained about rude and incorrect behaviour from the police.
On August 17, the national newspaper Delo publishes a survey in which 34% labelled homosexuality as unacceptable. 70% of which labelled it as immoral, 57% shared negative attitude toward it for medical reasons (AIDS), 52% believed homosexuality was a disease and 51% believed that homosexuality poses a threat to a society's value system.
21st issue of Revolver is released in September 1996. The issue presents various political institutions' attitudes toward homosexuality. It is clear that the Ombudsman, Ivan Bizjak, does not treat gay and lesbian rights as a part of human rights. He claims that "partnerships as these" are opposites of "family" and homosexuality is "each individual's private matter." On intolerant groups and individuals: "I have not sensed any huge intolerance in this field. [...] I do not have the impression nor have I been acquainted with a case of obvious excess of intolerance in this area." A worse response came from the president of the republic's office. Ms. Furlan, Milan Kučan's PR, said to the press that "this topic is too marginal, too specific and too narrow for a president to consider."
In December 1996, International Gay And Lesbian Film Festival takes place in Ljubljana. Ministry of Culture, its minister Janez Dular respectively is informed that the motion pictures were aired without subtitles, which were obligatory in the new law, unless the minister allows differently. The organisers of the festival make a request to the Ministry to allow airing of these films without subtitles, as these movies will never again be aired in Slovenia and because of the non-commercial nature of the festival, supplying subtitles would mean an additional cost to the organisers. The request was denied.
In the beginning of the year 1997, a work group within Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affair was established to prepare the proposition of the law concerning same-sex partnerships. A representative in the field of psychiatry was involved. The basic draft of the law was outlined by the Law Faculty of Maribor and also included the following: "[...] Same-sex partnership is not a community of a man and a woman and therefore cannot establish any legal consequences, typical of marital affair. [...] The basis of legal regulation of marital affairs is in formation of family. [...] It is impossible to claim that a community of same-sexed (sic!) persons is capable of a congruent up-bringing of a child, as is a community of a mother and a father. [...] Therefore possibilities of adoption or extra-marital and artificial insemination are not to be allowed. [...] It is not expected for a community of same-sex partners to become similar to matrimony."
February: During a parliamentary hearing, Dr. Majda Ana Kregelj Zbačnik, president of the parliamentary committee of health, otherwise a member of SDS (Social Democratic Party), accuses Tone Rop, candidate for the minister of labour, family and social affair, of insufficient interest in family values and preoccupation with gays, lesbians and actions such as "Condoms to every village."
May: a journalist of POP TV labels badminton as a 'faggot sport' during sport program "Športna scena" (Sport scene).
May 7th: During an interview for Mag (weekly magazine), dr. Ivan Štuhec states: "homosexual affairs cannot be treated as morally justifiable." The interview was made after an outbreak of an affair when a man blackmailed priests with whom he had sexual intercourse.
November 21st: during a meeting with presidential candidates in Club K4, candidates Janez Podobnik and Jože Bernik express their disapproval of same-sex marriages.
Dr. Tone Mlinar, a professor at Faculty of Theology, states: "I believe, that sex stops being a language of love in homosexual relations."
|An expert committee for programs of publishing and literature within Ministry of Culture with members Milan Dekleva, Dušan Jovanovič, dr. Mladen Dolar, Andreja Mlinar, Ženja Leiler Kos, Tilka Jamnik, Božidar Premrl in Tone Pavček approves subventions to 62 magazines and denies to 16. Among the 16 were the only GLBT publications Revolver and Lesbo.|
On June 15, telephone hotline for youth in need that exists within Union of Friends of the Youth of Slovenia, reports that number of calls related to issues of homosexuality has grown in the current year.
In November, ŠOU v Ljubljani (Student Organisation of University of Ljubljana) cancels Roza disko (Pink Disco). After protests of several non-governmental organisations that join the protest of Škuc-LL, ŠOU changes its mind.
On March 26, NeDelo publishes a survey on limits of political satire. 40.6% believe that political satire should not be racist, homophobic, xenophobic or sexist, while only 30.7% think that it should not be offensive to gay and lesbian population.
In May, Škuc-LL receives a reply from Ombudsman's office in regard to their initiative to abolish discrimination of same-sex partnerships. It is clear that the Office did not want to deal with this problem, as the initiator was denied the right to refer to the constitutional article that deals with issues of equality. He claims that he was not able to obtain documents of Council of Europe and European Parliament on cancellation of discrimination etc. The reply was cynically concluded with opinion that "Ombudsman's work should not be equated with activity of non-governmental organisations."
On June 21, parliamentary Committee of Work, Health, Family and Social Affairs convenes. They discuss the proposition of the law on healing infertility and means of insemination with biomedical support. The biggest outrage was caused by amendment to Article 5 by which single women are also entitled to artificial insemination. Jože Trontelj, president of the National committee for medical ethics adds that it is completely unacceptable to help a single woman bear a child, since an "imperfect family" is thus formed. Karlo Zupančič "warned" that this could give homosexual partners an opportunity to have children, which would make Slovenia one of a kind in Europe. Jože Možgan's opinion was that such way of insemination enabled disabled women to become pregnant, who were otherwise "unattractive for matrimonial community, though they still wished a child." At the end of the discussion, Health Minister dr. Dušan Keber appealed to LDS (Liberal Democracy of Slovenia) to withdraw their suggestions of amendments.
On July 16, NeDelo publishes another survey in which 10% would deny single women the right to artificial insemenation, 60% vote against the possibility of a child living in a community of same-sex partners.
On July 27, Office for Women in Politics reacts. They state that the Law on Healing Infertility and Means of Insemination with Biomedical Support presents an "alarming case of diminishing women's rights" and stresses brutal disqualification of some groups of women (mainly single and same-sex oriented) by the National Assembly.
On December 5, distinguished lawyers also shared views on adoption by same-sex couples at a public discussion. Barbara Brezigar, Tone Jerovšek and France Bučar were all against it, as "the child's rights are the most important factor when adoptions are discussed." Matevž Krivic, on the other hand, stressed the fact that also several heterosexual partnerships exist in the society that are equally ill-equipped to bring up a child. He supported the idea of an expert overview of the subject.
On March 15, the government adopted the proposal of the amendments to the amending act on the treatment of infertility and the procedures of artificial insemination through biomedical assistance (IBMA). According to this proposal, single women are entitled to IBMA, provided that these women have to get a special commission's authorization.
On March 22, the Faculty of Moral Theology speaks out and opposes the changing of the law. 22. Anton Mlinar, the faculty's foreman, believes that it is "unacceptable that the legislation opens the way to the irresponsible and planned parenthood of single or even same-sex oriented persons, under the cover of treating infertility".
On April 18, the National Assembly discusses the proposal of the legislative amendment. According to the Slovenian National Party Member Sašo Peče, the purpose of the Law is to "destroy the healthy family in the Slovenian society". Apart from this he believes the law to be "the first step to the acknowledgment of the possibility of adoption by homosexual partners". SMS believes that the law will "support the spread of single parenting". The proposal of the legislative amendment is also seen as morally and/or ethically objectionable by MPs from the Social Democrat Party (SDS), New Slovenian Party (NSi) and Slovenian People's Party and Slovenian Christian Democrats (SLS+SKD).
On May 4, the youth party of the SLS+SKD, Nova Generacija, speak out. They claim that 80% of the medical profession object to the article allowing access to the IBMA to single mothers. NG announce the action "It's better in pairs" and state that the law opens the "issue of same-sex partners". They also express concern that Slovenia could become the European "Mecca" for the artificial insemination of single women.
On May 15, the media publish "A letter against homophobia" by the Non-Aggressive Communication Society, which carried out workshops in highschools about violence, discrimination, communication and conflict resolution. One of the workshops dealt with homosexuality. One of the highschools conditioned the permission for the execution of workshops by excluding the same-sex workshop. The impetus for this demand had been the parents' complaints that the school is "cheering for homosexuality".
On June 5, the Association For The Democratization Of Public Publications and the Civil Society for Democratization and the Lawful State. Hubert Požarnik points out in their name that the legislative amendment of the Law for IBMA "opens the possibility of insemination to lesbian women as well" and that "all studies show that children of lesbians -we know that some lesbians have children or they are bisexual - have significantly more trouble with their sexual identity. Because they grow up in such an environment, girls more often turn out as lesbian, bisexual and sexually unrestrained. In contrast to this, boys have significantly more trouble with impotence."
On June 8, the security guard at the "Galerija" café in Ljubljana's City Gallery, which is owned by the City Municipality of Ljubljana, forbade entry to the gay poets Brane Mozetič and Jean Paul Daoust. He explains his decision by telling them that "they should get used to the fact that this café is no longer for "people like them"". This is followed by a protest drinking of mineral water in the café and waiting for the state authorities to react to the obvious discrimination: the prosecution with the indictment, and higher representatives by condemning the act. There is no conviction and so, preparations begin for the "Detour around Homophobia - the Anti-Homophobia Walk".
In the meantime, the leaseholder of the said establishment explains his act with lies that the poets were misconducting themselves and that they had been kissing in the street etc., which the media fall for.
On July 3, we finally get a condemnation from the ombudsman. "Article 14 of the Constitution forbids the discrimination on the basis of any personal circumstances, which must also be respected by public establishments which obtained a lease from the state to perform their economic activity. The belief which has of late become apparent, namely that the state, due to the lack of the appropriate laws, does not ensure equality regarding sexual orientation, is therefore erroneous. In the instance of discrimination, state authorities are obligated to take appropriate measures and do not need a specific legal authorization for these measures." Despite the ombudsman's opinion, the state authorities do nothing, also there is no follow-up condemnation of the action taken by the leaseholder from the part of the other state representatives.
On July 6, the demonstrations take place entitled "Detour around Homophobia - the Anti-Homophobia Walk". Still, there is no movement on the part of the representatives of the state. The National TV (RTV Slovenia, the same one involved in the Eurovision song scandal) manages to overlook the event that set the beat of the old city center for two hours - they report on it several days later, following the protests of activists.
On July 12, Delo publishes the comment by Boris Jež. In his comment, Jež states that xenofobia in Slovenia is no different from other parts of the world, that the on-call concerned activists compete in exposing intolerance. "Because various civil-society groups are making such a ruckus as if the whole country should be put before the Hague court because of the persecution of Jews, homosexuals and blacks," says Jež.
On July 15, Nedelo (the Sunday edition of Delo) publishes the survey results on tolerance. 34.9% of the surveyed believe that Slovenians are tolerant enough towards the others and the different. 28.1% of the surveyed would not want to have a homosexual for a neighbor.
On July 24, Večer (a regional daily newspaper) publishes a comment in which Petra Zemljič states that society is homophobic. "One can't help but remember the eighties, when the homosexual and lesbian scene was forming in Slovenia and got the firmest legitimacy. [...] Today, the story is different, as the social environment towards the issue is more ignorant, if not more severe."
On July 25, the Mayor of Ljubljana Viktorija Potočnik finally holds a reception for the advocates of the rights of the same-sex oriented people. The reason for this reception is mainly because Brane Mozetič publicly exposed her as a liar in his interview for Mladina (a weekly political magazine), and the secondary reason was the political pressure to condemn discriminatory practices (the case of "Café Galerija") applied by the GLBT organizations since June 8. Among other things, the mayor managed to say that in the City Municipality of Ljubljana, "they will carefully consider whether or not they will extend the lease to the owner of the establishment where they have the discriminatory policy".
On the same day, in the weekly 7D, the comment by Darko Špelc is published, where he states: "it was not long ago that this new word was launched into the media - homophobia! The word has been in use for the past three decades and has the same "scientific" credibility as the premise that homosexuality is hereditary."
"There is no point in condemning two homosexuals living together, although it's unnatural, unless negative influence on public morality is the case. Sanctioning homosexual partnerships by state marriage is on the other hand a total nonsense, because it's unnatural. Child adoptions by homosexual couples should be unconditionally prevented, because such orientation is harmful to the society. Even the fact that we're discussing it tells us we're on the verge of social insanity.
On November 9, the Peace Institute presented the book "Report by the Group for the Monitoring of Intolerance". The General Manager of the Institute, Vlasta Jalušič said for the occasion, that "racism and xenophobia are present in the Slovenian society even though some believe otherwise." The media also quoted the report: "I have no feelings against same-sex oriented persons, but I believe that the legalization of same-sex marriages would be mockery of the heterosexual, that is to say normal, marriages."
On November 14, the Slovenian PEN center gives a statement. The president of the administration committee said in a statement that the center "is concerned that two recognized literary authors whose works contain the subject of homosexuality, have been denied the right to the status of Independent Cultural Worker with the right to payment of contributions from the state budget, by the jurisdictive state authority on the first level; with the author of lesbian prose, who has received praise from the critics and was accepted into a foreign publisher's program, with the explanation that "the quality of her work does not represent a significant contribution to Slovenian culture, there is a presence of a poor creative approach.' [...] We are concerned that the issue is not only non-understanding but also intolerance towards diversity. For its public appearance, it abuses the violent mood towards the same-sex oriented persons, which is increasingly co-created by the Slovenian media. >From all, especially those who channel the public opinion, we expect more respect for the right to be different."
On November 23, the Ministry of Culture rejects PEN's accusations of discrimination of authors based on sexual orientation. "The Committee and the Ministry of Culture do not discriminate authors on their sexual orientation under any circumstances. We do not have that kind of information [...]." The motif of same-sex orientation is obvious from the works of both authors.
"Homosexuals are dangerous...
On December 8, on behalf of the Škuc Society, Brane Mozetič pressed charges for inciting racial or religious hatred, discord or intolerance against Janez Rugelj, MD. The latter said in an interview for magazine Sodobnost: "American psychiatrist Szasz wrote that psychiatry was a social service for non-criminal delinquency. All, delinquents: poets, writers, politicians, lesbians, homosexuals and other vagabonds, are so thick that psychiatry doesn't even try to change them because it's impossible. [...] The problem is of another kind. Women here have masochistically left themselves to the capitalistic exploitation and let themselves be equally exploited by men with delight. They work eight, ten hours, and are after incapable of being wives, mistresses, mothers. [...] Anyone who doesn't respect that is an outcast, becomes a man from the margin. Of course, there are standards and values for idlers, con men, homosexuals, lesbians, the impotent, the careful, robbers etc. [...] Homosexuals are marginal, so they can't have the right to establish themselves with their non-productivity, and also not with their sexual disgustingness: oral sex or mutual masturbation or putting the penis into a stinking ass between two men, this is disgusting. We should appreciate esthetics! A man can't have a normal relationship to another man, woman or child and therefore can't perform any public function. If, for example, a beautiful woman takes off her clothes and spreads her legs and shows her groin, beauty shines. Penetrating a clean vagina is something completely different from stinking ass. We must use exact terms, so that we make it known where homosexuals belong. It's different with lesbians because the two of them can be actively joined by one man. [...] A woman can succeed in therapy only if she's beautiful and rich. She must be rich to pay for the therapy and beautiful so some sort of transfer relationship (even if platonic) between the therapist and the patient can develop. If this is absent, nobody will concern himself with her. No psychotherapist has some backward Moslem women on his couch. Only the beautiful and the rich."
The magazine Mag publishes the article by dr. Rugelj on December 19. The different (drug-addicts, single mothers, homosexuals) according to him endanger the Slovenian nation. Homosexuals are - according to him - created by "unhappy, depressed, hysterical, obscurant mothers - mostly alcoholics' wives"; some homosexuals are "very dangerous to young boys, so I take this opportunity to warn parents, who should teach theirs sons about the dangers of homosexual seduction, because traumas endured by young boys, brought on by aggressive homosexual abuse are more fatal to them than pedophilia of adult men to little girls." In his experience, "a very serious condition which falls in the category of nuclear neurosis" is typical for gay men, therefore they "should be, because of their being excluded from the constructive process of reproduction, to some degree comfortable with their own limited reproductive condition and therefore somehow modest".
Radio host Janez Martinčič said on the national radio: "This faggot Hitler has done many harm." Section Škuc-LL complained about this statement to Ombudsman's office and received reply that the ombudsman "doesn't have authority to act in these cases" and that it's all about "freedom of speech".
"Between 1964 and 1970 I, as an army psychiatrist, closely analysed around 50 soldiers, aggressive homosexuals (who caused disturbances in their units to heterosexual soldiers) and I proposed dismissal for all (the documentation is in Belgrade).
Drag queen trio Sestre (The Sisters) wins Slovenian contest for Eurovision Song Contest (EMA 2002) on February 16. An outburst of intolerance in public, media, national TV's management and in the parliament follows. Homophobic outburst following this event are more thoroughly documented in other materials.
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