I had been reading the SKUC-LL survey report entitled ‘Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Slovenia’, mentioned above.
It was the first such survey of the extent and type of discrimination that homosexuals face in modern Slovenian life.
Musing on this I looked up to see quite a different scene in front of me at the chummy table of four–it was clear they were two gay couples out for an evening of camaraderie.
The first ‘gay clue’ was their scrubbed and groomed look.
(The point was made to some legislators as well who took notice and have helped lead pro-gay legislation through the thickets of parliament.) Also in 2001 a survey conducted by a gay activist group named SKUC-LL revealed high levels of discrimination against gay, lesbian and bisexual people in Slovenia.
One of every two respondents had experienced some form of violence or harassment because of their sexual orientation, and one in five had suffered harassment at the workplace.
Five minutes after leaving high tech I was in the old town square with it densely charming mix of baroque, neo-classical and art deco buildings huddled around a cobblestone plaza named after a famous Croatian—not a great military hero set astride a bronze horse and brandishing a sword.
Rather, this square is named after a 19th century poet whose visage faces across the storybook plaza toward a carved bust of his beloved fifty meters away. As the train snaked along the Sava River among forested mountains and verdant rural villages of farmers drying their hay and corn on kozolecs (hay racks with small roofs, found only in Slovenia) I felt I was passing through Austria.
Within a couple of minutes it was apparent to me they were gay.
In June 2001, a sort of Stonewall happened when a visiting Canadian poet, in all his flamboyance, and his host were denied entry at the non-gay Café Galeria downtown near city hall (photo right).
They were told “we don’t admit that kind of people here.”Out of that, a public protest was mounted to remind the citizens and government that homophobia was alive in Slovenia.
But during my visit I saw none of the negative behavior that has been reported about Slovenia’s homophobia.
My impressions were of gays and lesbians living decent undisturbed lives—mostly because they were silent about their personal lives.