Based on fieldwork interviews conducted in 2015–16 with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer-identified individuals who are from or living in small towns and rural communities in Croatia, this article draws from the personal experiences of these individuals and the ways in which they describe negotiating sexual difference, discrimination, and homophobia in their communities. This analysis reflects on the importance of locating antidiscrimination legal mechanisms in local contexts to assess the degree to which such an approach can address institutional and systemic discrimination based on sexual difference. The article explores how small town and rural contexts can raise specific concerns about the efficacy of antidiscrimination legislation as it has been developed in the EU and Croatia, and calls into question the neoliberal, individualist, and reactive legislative approach to the protection of sexual human rights. Finally, the article analyzes a recent survey/research on discrimination in the workplace that was conducted as a collaborative effort between several LGBTI and human rights organizations in Croatia and how these strategies can (re)produce neoliberal discourses of market incentives and diversity management in the workplace rather than address the structural inequalities that produce and enable discrimination.

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