Being gay in Croatia vs. Yukon: Yukoner to make film on personal journey – North

Heidy Enka says she came out as a lesbian in 2000.

But her family overseas in Croatia didn’t know until recently — and even some still have no idea.

“When I did really reveal it to them, I had to pick and choose,” said Enka, a filmmaker and gay rights activist who first moved to the Yukon in 1985.

Enka isn’t her real last name, but a creative name she uses for her films.

“My family is homophobic. They say I could destroy my family name if I use my last name as a filmmaker,” said Enka.

Enka has produced 25 short films so far, some of them tackling difficult subjects like how a lesbian Haida Gwaii First Nations girl from B.C. explores her sexuality and spirituality.

Enka said she gave the Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic the Yukon flag at the parade in Belgrade this fall. (Submitted by Heidy Enka)

Enka’s latest project is called Busting out of the Cultural Closet — it’s a film on her personal journey, comparing the rights LGBT people have in Yukon and Canada, versus the emerging rights in her home country of Croatia.

Croatia, and the surrounding Balkan countries, are still hostile places for LGBT people, says Enka. She calls Croatia a “homophobic country” where LGBT people have been “swept under the rug for years.” She says the Balkan countries often “force them into the closet,” like it has for her.

That’s why Enka hopes to premiere her film in these countries once it’s done.

Handing the Yukon flag to Serbia’s PM

The first Pride parade in Croatia was in 2002 in the capital Zagreb.

Many Pride parades in the Balkan countries have resulted in injuries and arrests after violence from anti-gay attackers. Enka was in the midst of the 2011 Split Pride parade in Croatia, and says she caught some footage of the violence on camera.

The Pride parade in Split, Croatia in 2011. Enka said she captured some violence at this parade on camera. (Submitted by Heidy Enka)

This fall, Enka was at the Pride parade in…

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