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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 October 2005, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Croatia's homosexuals go public
Detail of newspaper advert
A letter denoting sexual orientation sat by each name
More than 1,000 Croatian gays and lesbians have had their names published in several of the country's newspapers in a bid for greater tolerance.

One thousand two hundred names appeared in the advert under a banner reading: "I don't want to hide any more."

It also carried the message: "Little divides us and a lot unites us. Reconsider your prejudice."

Homosexuals face severe prejudice in Croatia, where the influence of the Catholic Church is very strong.

Softening of opinion

Many have been the subject of hate crimes and five years ago, when the country's first gay pride march was held, there were anti-gay protests and violent incidents.

Police at Croatia's first gay pride march
Croatia's first gay pride march was marred by violence

The advert, which appeared in three newspapers and several magazines, was sponsored by the government and several rights groups.

The people named on the list identified themselves as either gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, queer or heterosexuals who support the campaign.

A letter denoting their orientation appeared by their name.

Although surnames did not appear on the list gay rights campaigners say it is still a significant gesture.

"Even though it's just a symbolic coming out, without full names, this is a good reflection that gays in Croatia are gathering courage to fully expose themselves and that society is growing more tolerant," Dorino Manzin, head of the country's leading gay and lesbian group, Iskorak, said.

An estimated 88% of Croatia's population of 4.4 million people are part of the Roman Catholic Church, which says that homosexuality is morally wrong.

Country profile: Croatia
04 Oct 05 |  Country profiles

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