Our network, our strength: The Third Lesbian Week 2004

Our network, our strength: The Third Lesbian Week 2004

The final document from the gathering of lesbian activists from the former Yugoslavia

Novi Sad, from 9th to 12th of September 2004

From the 9th to the 12th of September 2004 in Novi Sad, The Third Lesbian Week: a gathering of lesbian activists from the states of the former Yugoslavia was organized by Labris, a lesbian human rights group from Belgrade, under the name Our network, our strength.

The meeting brought together 45 participants - individuals and representatives of organizations: Center for Civil and Human Rights, Skopje; Deve, Belgrade; Free Rainbow, Podgorica; Labris, Belgrade; Lambda, Niš; Lesbian group Kontra, Zagreb; Legebitra, Ljubljana; Lori, Rijeka; Organization Q, Sarajevo.

The most important fact from this gathering is that, since 1997, when gatherings of lesbian women activists from the former Yugoslavia began happening, for the first time lesbian activists from organizations from Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro participated.

Participants of the Third lesbian week worked on raising awareness of lesbian rights and identity, exchange of knowledge and experiences of lesbian activists, strengthening of the ex-Yu lesbian network and joint action.

Conclusions from the gathering “Third lesbian week”

The changes that have taken place since the previous meeting in 2002:

• There is a tendency from organizations to focus more on public work;

• a number of high-profile campaigns for the promotion of lesbian rights were implemented: successful lobbying resulted in legislation changes in Croatia;

• organizations are more powerful;

• organizations have become professional;

• independent initiatives for the visibility of lesbians emerged;

• new organizations and initiatives have formed: Angelina Jolie Fan Club, Free rainbow, Center for Civil and Human Rights, Association Kum, Pride, Association Q, Gayrilla. At this meeting, more than half of the participants were young lesbian activists.

The conclusions from the working meeting of the regional lesbian network:

• Representatives of organizations and autonomous activists estimate that the network activity is adequate to the capacities of the organizations and that it is of great importance to organizations and individuals in the region.

• Mutual cooperation, support and solidarity, exchange of information, experience and knowledge are special value of the network; support to new groups; empowerment and motivation of new activists, support to and strengthening of long-time activists.

What we will work on until the next gathering:

• Advocate for a more successful legislative changes and implementation of new anti-discrimination laws, the promotion of LGBT rights in the public and creation of media campaigns;

• We will work on empowering lesbians and lesbian activists and on supporting organizations and initiatives.

The following thematic gathering will be organized in Croatia in 2006.


The Third lesbian week was preceded by the following meetings of lesbian activists from the states of former Yugoslavia:

  • First lesbian week, 1997, Pohorje / Slovenia, organized by the lesbian group Kasandra from Ljubljana

  • Second lesbian week, 2000, Sombor / Vojvodina, organized by the lesbian group Labris- organization from lesbian human rights from Belgrade

  • Gathering of lesbian activists from the ex-YU region, 2001, Rovinj/Croatia, organized by the lesbian group Konta from Zagreb

  • Seminar “Equal citizenship” – 2002, Ljubljana / Slovenia, organized by the lesbian group SKUC-LL from Ljubljana

These meetings gathered between thirty (30) and sixty (60) lesbian activists from the ex-Yu region.


I am a sculptress, and with my skillful

Gentle fingers I make from clay

A new body of yours, my lover


photo: Third Lesbian Week: Lepa Mlađenović and Zoe Gudović, Novi Sad, 2004, Labris Archive