joan y. psmith

my other existence

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Romania: a look at their LGBT-Rights
First published at eurOut.

On May 22 the Bucharest "Diversity March" took place as part of the 7th annual Romanian GayFest. There haven't been any violent incidences and the parade has been officially supported by the Romanian Green Party. That does sound like good news, but let's take a look at lgbt rights in Romania in more detail.

detail from ILGA's Rainbow Europe Country Map

According to ILGA Romania fares quite well in comparison to other European countries. It currently scores 3 points on their Rainbow Europe Country Index, the same as Austria, the Czech Republic, Ireland and Kosovo.

detail from ILGA's Rainbow Europe Country Index

Romania has developed rapidly in regards to lgbt rights in the past 10 years. The goal to enter the EU has no doubt been a driving force. Since 1996 Article 200, the law that criminalised homosexual acts, was amended in a way that homosexuality was now legal, as long as it wasn't publicly displayed and didn't cause a scandal. In the same year the right to change legal gender was introduced.

A lot happened around the year 2000. Article 200 finally got repealed (2000), anti-discrimination laws covering employment and other areas were introduced (2000) and the age of consent was adjusted to be equal to the one for heterosexual acts (2002). Next steps were taken in the years 2005 and 2006 when lesbians received the right to access in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and hate crimes and hate speech laws covering sexual orientation were introduced.

GayFest 2010

Even though there are extensive laws against homophobia in place, it is possible to publicly demonstrate against homosexuality and people still do so. This year right-wing protesters marched against homosexuals prior to the Diversity March.
Next to the area surrounded by the order forces for the GayFest, a 10 year-old was giving out manifestos against homosexuals. The manifestos read: "Keep your distance! You've got HIV, you gay losers! The judgement day is coming!"
Same-sex unions aren't recognised in Romania. The first Romanian politician to publicly support same-sex unions is Péter Eckstein-Kovács, who in 2008 introduced a civil partnership bill in the Senate, which subsequently got repealed ( Only in 2009 Romania's Civil Code was amanded to specifically state that a marriage can only be between a man and a woman and that Romania would not recognise foreign same-sex marriages.

Are you from Romania? Do you have any first hand experiences about how it is to live in Romania as a lesBian? Tell us about it in the comments!

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