“Our kids are OK”: Rainbow Families Conference

10. – 12. May 2019.

*click here for the Croatian version of the programme*

The well-being of children growing up in rainbow families is still a topic of debate not just in Croatia, but also in the neighboring countries and in the European Union.

But what are the real experiences of children in such existing families? What are the scientific findings in the last years, and what is the legal framework for these families in Croatia and the other EU countries? What is the situation in the ex-Yu countries that are planning to join the EU? What is being done to improve the current situation, and how can we as a society support and help both children and the parents in rainbow families?

These and many other topics will be discussed during the rainbow families conference “Our kids are OK“, organized by Dugine obitelji (Rainbow Families Croatia), with the support of the Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations (NELFA).

The working language of the conference will be Croatian/English.

There is a possibility of refunding part of the travel and accomodation costs for the rainbow families arriving from countries outside of Croatia – for more information, please write to info@dugineobitelji.com

Conference programme

Friday – 10. May 2019.

18:00 – 20:00 | Rainbow families – who are they? – opening speeches and conference introduction
Location: Rodino gnijezdo, Žerjavićeva 10

For the conference opening, the organizers will, after some short introductory greetings and providing general information on the conference program, encourage talks and discussions about rainbow families: the challenges they face, personal experiences, and the beautiful sides of LGBTI parenthood.

A short documentary will be shown, “Unfit” (cro: “Nepodobni) about Mladen and Ivo, a Croatian gay couple who wishes to become adoptive/foster care parents.

Saturday – 11. May 2019.

11:00 – 13:00 | Rainbow families throughout Europe – presentation and workshop
Location: Dvorana Mueller, Kino Europa

A short presentation about NELFA – the Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Association will be held by its vicepresident Björn Sieverding, along with a discussion about the various rainbow family initiatives throughout Europe.

Afterwards an interactive workshop will follow, focusing on family stories and experiences of the conference participants with an emphasis on different national contexts, led by Boris Vrdoljak, one of the Rainbow Families coordinators.

15:00 – 19:00 | Rainbow families gathering – informal gathering and picnic
(The location depends on weather condititions)

For more information about the picnic please contact info@dugineobitelji.com or contact the conference organizers directly.

On the occasion of the International Family Equality Day (IFED) and the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) the Rainbow Families Croatia association together with NELFA will organize an exchange of experiences of rainbow families and an informal gathering with a children’s corner and some activities for our youngest. All current and future rainbow families are welcome!

19:00 – 21:00 | Family rights of children and their LGBTI parents in the countries of the ex-Yu region – panel discussion
Location: Dvorana Mueller, Kino Europa

Although geographically close, the legal frameworks, social acceptance and the status of children and their LGBTI parents are very different in the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

Croatia and Slovenia as members of the European Union have a similar legal framework, but the differences are still present – Slovenia has relatively recently been just one step away from marriage equality. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, we are witnessing a daily debate regarding their first BiH Pride March, in Montenegro the debate is focused on the adoption of the Law on Life Partnership, while in Serbia the question is raised whether the recent new family member in the family of their Prime Minister will help the improvement of LGBTI family rights in a country where they currently are non-existent?

These topics and the questions from the audience will be discussed by the panel participants:

  • Lana Gobec, president of Legebitra (Slovenia)
  • Darko Pandurević, Sarajevo Open Centre programme coordinator (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Danijel Kalezić, president of Queer Montenegro (Montenegro)
  • Aleksandar Savić, coordinator of “Da se zna” (Serbia)
  • Daniel Martinović, coordinator of Dugine obitelji (Croatia)

Moderator: dr. sc. Zlatan Krajina, docent/associate professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Zagreb

21:30 – 23:00 | Informal gathering and casual talks
Location: Iskorak

Sunday, 12. May 2019.

11:00 – 13:00 | The (legal) road to marriage equality – presentation and discussion
Location: Dvorana Mueller, Kino Europa

How did the states in the “western” Europe achieve mariagge equality and what was the role of the legal claims, lawsuits and civic engagement during that process? How is Croatia affected (or not) by the legal framework of other EU countries that are protecting the rights of children and their LBGTI parents? What can be achieved by the recent lawsuits against the state of Croatia in the cases where same-sex couples were denied access to adoption or foster care? How can NGOs help LGBTI individuals in the protection of their rights?

Speaking from their own experiences, the answers to these questions will be sought by the representatives of the rainbow family organizations and their legal advisers.

16:00 – 18:30 | Rainbow families: science, not science fiction – scientific meeting
Location: Dvorana Mueller, Kino Europa

The scientific meeting will present the scientific research on LGBTI parenting in Croatia and Europe, that have been conducted over the last few years. Our guests, that are working in the fields of psychology, sociology and pedagogy research, will share their findings and we’ll find out more about the motivation for parenting in the LGBTIQ* “community”, the attitudes towards rainbow families from the general population, what kind of attitudes have the university students in Croatia and many other interesting scientific topics.

After a brief presentation of the various papers, we will have a roundtable during which we will discuss the challenges of conducting scientific research on rainbow families, the latest scientific findings in this field and the importance of scientific facts and fact based discussions in today’s society.