Lesbian Group Kontra is bringing positive attention to the LBT community and the need to uphold their rights.

Why we care: Discrimination and violence are daily realities for LBT persons in Croatia, affecting their mental and physical health and overall wellbeing.

How we’re solving this: Creating a community center in Zagreb where LBT individuals can find information, safety, and support.

“One of the foremost needs of lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender persons is a safe space in Zagreb where they can freely and openly acknowledge their sexual orientation.” – Sandra Brumen, Lesbian Group Kontra

The lesbian, bisexual women, and trans persons (LBT) community in Croatia faces extreme discrimination from the public and within the police, legal, and healthcare systems. Women in particular are targeted for verbal and physical harassment because of their gender as well as sexual orientation. Few cases of abuse are reported, as individuals fear worse consequences if their sexual orientation or gender identity is revealed in a public forum. LBT individuals bear trauma as a result of discrimination and continuous harassment, yet it is nearly impossible to access healthcare services and psychosocial counseling.

As one of the first lesbian and bisexual women’s groups in Croatia, Lesbian Group Kontra is bringing positive attention to the LBT community and the need to uphold their rights. Kontra started the first lesbian SOS and information line in Croatia in 1997 and the first counseling center aimed at promoting mental healthcare of lesbian and bisexual women in 2006.

This year, Kontra will open a center for lesbians, trans, and bisexual women in Zagreb to provide a safe space to discuss sexuality, sexual health issues, and how to overcome societal discrimination. The center will fill a critical need for lesbian, bisexual and the trans community by providing both in-person and on-line mental healthcare and counseling. During its first year, the center will offer four workshops, and bring in guests speakers to discuss topics such as sexual health, relationships, coming out, and violence. Staff will also moderate support groups and facilitate discussions. Women and their loved ones will share experiences about gender identities and dealing with conflict, and then brainstorm solutions to obstacles, empowering each other along the way.

Through the center, an increased number of lesbian, bisexual and trans persons will become informed about their human rights, become advocates, and find the strength to be themselves.