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.
The Limits of Legal Discourse: Discrimination against LGBTI Persons in Croatia
Nicole Butterfield is adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York and an affiliated member of the Gender Studies Research Group, University of Szeged, Hungary. Previously, she was a NEWFELPRO fellow/Marie Curie at the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia, 2015–16. She received her PhD from the Department of Gender Studies at Central European University, Hungary, in 2014. Her current research interests include (sexual) identity politics, theories of human rights, transnational civil society, and sexualities in rural spaces.
Nicole Butterfield; The Limits of Legal Discourse: Discrimination against LGBTI Persons in Croatia. GLQ 1 April 2020; 26 (2): 303–331. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-8141858
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