Is Ljubljana a liberal, tolerant and open city?

Is Ljubljana open, liberal and tolerant city? What are LGBTQI+ rights? Gender equality
Photo credit: Denis Simčič

The question is simple, but the answer is not.

In 2021, the Movehub relocation platform ranked Ljubljana ninth on the list of the world’s most liberal cities. They took into consideration the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, the Environmental Performance Index and the Social Progress Index, as well as religious tolerance and tolerance towards the LGBTIQ community. These indicators show that our city is liberal, tolerant and open. Moreover, since Slovenia’s declaration of independence, Ljubljana hasn’t yet had a mayor coming from or having the support of a right-wing political party or charter thereof, and there has even always been a majority of left-wing reps on the City Council. Ljubljana regularly declares itself to be left-wing in a country where power is seized by the left wing one time, by the right wing another, and then again by the rainbow coalition. Even in referendums on the rights of same-sex couples, the capital city voted differently from the rest of Slovenia.

So how does the liberalism and openness of Ljubljana manifest itself?

The lesbian and gay movement in Ljubljana has had a forty-year history, the Pride Parade has been taking place in the city for twenty-one years, the City of Ljubljana awards LGBT-friendly certificates, and there are a few bars dedicated to the LGBTIQ+ community. However, members of this community in Ljubljana have experienced several attacks, one such was the attack on British tourists and the Open Cafe in 2011.

As far as gender equality goes, Slovenia ranks somewhere in the European average, yet there is no data available specifically for Ljubljana. Last year, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) published a survey on gender equality within the EU, in which Slovenia ranked 11th among all members, thus placing in the EU average.

There are no detailed reports on national and racial discrimination in Ljubljana, but undoubtedly it is present.

We are doing best on issues of ecology. Ljubljana was the Green Capital of Europe in 2016. City buses are powered by methane, there are many green areas, the Centre is closed to traffic, we have the maximum waste separation rate in the European Union, the streets of Ljubljana are clean, as garbage collectors constantly parade them.

Still, we are probably a long way from the openness and liberalism of, say, Berlin or Amsterdam. In Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general, for example, same-sex marriages are allowed, there is a red-light district and marijuana is smoked in bars.

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