Zagreb Pride 2018, the 17th pride parade of LGBITQ persons and families, began at 3 pm on Saturday under the slogan "Long live gender", drawing several thousand people.
This year's pride parade is taking place again amidst attacks on women, transgender persons, families and children, minorities, and all aspects of gender and other forms of diversity, organisers said in a proclamation read out to the participants.
Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, intersex and queer persons know they are all much more than the sex they were assigned at birth, they said.
"We know that every one of us has their gender and gender identity and the right to express themselves," they said.
Organisers said they wanted free decision making on birthing, an end to "referendums directed at suppressing human and women's rights," for the new family law to "recognise the right to civil marriage for all couples, regardless of sex and gender," and the unconditional legal right to the recognition of gender for all transgender persons in Croatia.
Several politicians came to support the parade, including members of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) and GLAS, as well as public figures.
The president of the ruling coalition's HNS, Ivan Vrdoljak, also attended the parade and said that they wanted an open, tolerant, modern and European Croatia. Everyone here today, whether gay or straight, Serb or Croat, rich or poor, tall or short, consider themselves equals, he added.
"It's a wonderful feeling. We should all strive toward that," he said.
Asked by the press about criticisms that the government was not doing enough for the equality of LGBT persons, Vrdoljak said the rights which the HNS "managed to push through" in the previous government had been retained and that the incumbent government had managed to adopt the Istanbul Convention in a "polite and non-ideological way" and send the message that "extremists no longer have the right to run Croatia."
Aleksandra Kolaric of the SDP said Pride was excellent for raising society's awareness that the gay community still does not have the same rights as other citizens.
"That's why we are here, to give our support," she said.
Participants carried banners which read "Together in queerness", "Misogyny kills", "Love doesn't ask what is under the dress/pants", "Better to have gay picture books than the Ustasha coat of arms", and "The private is political."