LGBT rights in the Czech Republic

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LGBT rights in the Czech Republic Czech Republic
Location of the Czech Republic (dark green) within the EU (light green)
Location of the Czech Republic (dark green) within the EU (light green)
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1962,
age of consent equalized in 1990
Gender identity/expression Sex change performed since 1942
Military service Gays and lesbians allowed to serve
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation protection in labor code since 2001 (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
relationships
Registered partnerships since 2006,
no same-sex marriage
Adoption No joint adoption (a homosexual person alone may adopt notwithstanding whether in registered partnership or not)

The Czech Republic is considered one of the most liberal Central European countries with regard to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights. In 2006 it legalized registered partnerships (registrované partnerství) for same-sex couples.

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity was decriminalized in 1962 after scientific research of Kurt Freund led to the conclusion that homosexual orientation may not be changed (see the History of penile plethysmograph). The age of consent was equalized in 1990 (to 15 – it had previously been 18 for homosexuals).[1][2] The Army doesn't question the sexual orientation of soldiers, and allows homosexuals to serve openly. Homosexual prostitution was decriminalized in 1990.[3]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

There is some legal recognition of same-sex couples. Unregistered cohabitation has been possible since 2001. The Czech Republic has granted "persons living in a common household" inheritance and succession rights in housing.[2][4]

A bill legalizing registered partnership, with some of the rights of marriage, was rejected four times, in 1998, 1999, 2001, and 2005.[5][6][7][8] However, on 16 December 2005 a new registered partnership bill was passed by the Czech House of Representatives; it was also adopted by the Senate on 26 January 2006, but later vetoed by the President Václav Klaus.[9][10][11] On 15 March 2006 the President's veto was overturned by the House of Representatives and the law came into force on 1 July 2006.[12][13] Since this date, the Czech Republic allows registered partnerships for same-sex couples, with many of the rights of marriage.[14]

Discrimination protections[edit]

Police cordon defending Queer Parade 2008 in Brno against intrusions by right-wing extremists: only those who undergo search for guns are allowed further (see also: Gun politics in the Czech Republic)

Since 1999, the law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in the military.[15]

In 2009, a comprehensive anti-discrimination law was passed which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, education, housing and access to goods and services.[15][16]

Public opinion[edit]

In 2004 public opinion showed a strong level of support for registered partnerships for same sex couples, with 60% agreeing with such a law. A 2005 survey showed that 43% of Czechs personally knew someone gay or lesbian, 42% supported same-sex marriage and 62% supported registered partnerships, while only 18% supported same-sex adoption.[17] In 2006, the Eurobarometer showed that 52% of Czechs supported full same-sex marriage (above the EU average of 44%) while 39% supported same-sex adoption.[18] The annual CVVM poll on gay rights has shown slightly lower, though increasing, levels of support:

Czechs support for gay rights (CVVM poll)[19] 2005 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO
registered partnerships 61% 30% 69% 24% 75% 19% 73% 23% 72% 23% 72% 23% 75% 21% 72% 23% 73% 23%
same-sex marriages 38% 51% 36% 57% 38% 55% 47% 46% 49% 45% 45% 48% 51% 44% 51% 44% 45% 48%
joint adoption 19% 70% 22% 67% 23% 65% 27% 63% 29% 60% 33% 59% 37% 55% 34% 57% 45% 48%
step-child adoption - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 58% 32%

In March 2012, a survey found that 23% of Czechs would not want to have gay or lesbian neighbours. This represents a significant drop from 2003, when 42% of Czechs said that they would not want to have gay or lesbian neighbours.[20]

A 2014 survey by the Academy of Sciences found that support for same-sex marriage had fallen slightly on previous years. In general, those opposing the extension of gay rights across the survey more frequently identified themselves as poor, left-leaning, pensioners and Roman Catholics.[21]

Living conditions[edit]

2013 Prague Pride

In contrast to the limitations of the communist era, the Czech Republic has become socially relatively liberal since the Velvet Revolution in 1989 and is one of the most gay-friendly countries in the European Union. This increasing tolerance is probably helped by the low levels of religious belief in the country, particularly when compared to its neighbours Poland, Austria and Slovakia.

There is a comparatively large gay community in Prague, less so in the rest of the country, with the capital acting as a magnet for the country’s gay youth. The city has a large and well-developed gay nightlife scene, particularly centred around the district of Vinohrady, with at least 20 bars and clubs and 4 saunas.[22][23][24] Gay venues are much more sparsely spread in other Czech towns however.[25][26][27]

In 2012, Fundamental Rights Agency performed a survey on discrimination among 93,000 LGBT people across the European Union. Compared to the EU average, the Czech Republic showed relatively positive results. However, the outcomes also show that there is still large space for improvement of the LGBT rights. 43% of Czech respondents indicated that none or only few of their family members know about their sexual orientation. Only one in five respondents is open about their sexual orientation to all their colleagues or classmates. 71% of the respondents are selectively open about their orientation at work or school. 52% of gay men and 30% of lesbian women avoid holding hands in public for fear of being assaulted, threatened or harassed.[28]

Public events[edit]

A participant of 2013 Prague Pride wearing a traditional Moravian costume (Hanakia) and a sign "Good day - Olomouc greets Prague"

Brno hosts an annual Gay and Lesbian Film festival known as Mezipatra with venues also in other cities. It has been held every November since 2000.[29]

In years 2008, 2009 and 2010, a Queer festival took place in the country’s second largest city of Brno.[30] The first Prague Pride gay parade took place in August 2011 with official support from mayor and other politicians.[31] The event attracted some negative responses from Religious-Conservative groups and the far right.[32][33] The second Prague Pride gay parade took place in August 2012 establishing the tradition of holding the Gay Pride parade in Prague annually.[34] However, a group of young Christians attempted to protest the parade with the support of the Catholic Archbishop of Prague, Dominik Duka.[35]

Late 2010 saw the introduction of the first officially produced gay guide and map for the Czech capital which was produced by the Prague Information Service, under the aegis of Prague city council.[36]

Surgical change of gender[edit]

The first surgical change of gender in the country took place in 1942, when a transsexual man legally changed his gender to male. Currently, 50-60 people undergo sex reassignment surgery annually in the country (for 10,6 million population).[37]

In order to be covered by health insurance, a request for change of gender is assessed by a commission at the Ministry of Health. After being approved, the applicant undergoes one year of hormonal treatment, which is followed by one year of living in the role of the other gender, including e.g. wearing appropriate dress. After this two year treatment, the applicant's sex may be surgically changed.[37]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (since 1962)
Equal age of consent Yes (since 1990)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes (since 2001)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes (since 2009)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes (since 2009)
Same-sex marriage No
Recognition of same-sex unions Yes (since 1 July 2006)
Both joint and step adoption by same-sex couples No
Adoption by single homosexual persons Yes
Gays allowed to serve openly in the military Yes
Right to change legal gender Yes
Transexuality declassified as an illness No
Access to IVF for lesbians Yes
MSMs allowed to donate blood Yes (After a 12-month deferral)[38]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ State-sponsored Homophobia A world survey of laws criminalising same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults
  2. ^ a b CZECH REPUBLIC LAWS
  3. ^ Gay Guide - Czech Republic
  4. ^ Prague
  5. ^ CZECH REPUBLIC: NO MARRIAGES FOR GAYS AND LESBIANS
  6. ^ NO TO REGISTERED PARTNERSHIP IN CZECH REPUBLIC
  7. ^ Gay marriage not likely in Czech Republic
  8. ^ Czech Gay and Lesbian League upset about repeated rejection of same sex partnerships
  9. ^ Czech MPs approve law on same-sex partnerships
  10. ^ Bill on single sex partnerships makes it through both houses of Parliament
  11. ^ Gay groups angered by president's veto of registered partnership bill
  12. ^ Czech MPs approve gay rights law
  13. ^ Nearly weds
  14. ^ Same-sex registered partnerships to be introduced after deputies override presidential veto
  15. ^ a b REPORT ON MEASURES TO COMBAT DISCRIMINATION Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC COUNTRY REPORT 2010 CZECH REPUBLIC Pavla Boučková State of affairs up to 1st January 2011
  16. ^ Czech Republic becomes last EU state to adopt anti-discrimination law
  17. ^ Attitudes to gay rights in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia
  18. ^ Eight EU Countries Back Same-Sex Marriage
  19. ^ (Czech) Názory české veřejnosti na práva homosexuálů
  20. ^ Tolerance in the Czech Republic
  21. ^ Visegrad Review, http://visegradrevue.eu/?p=2840
  22. ^ Prague's most comprehensive gay guide
  23. ^ The Gay Side of Prague
  24. ^ Prague’s Vital Gay Scene
  25. ^ GayGuide.Net Brno Czech Republic
  26. ^ Gay guide to Brno: GLBT friendly venues
  27. ^ Queer Friendly Ostrawa
  28. ^ LGBT Survey data explorer, Available online at: http://fra.europa.eu/DVS/DVT/lgbt.php
  29. ^ Mezipatra- Czech GLBT Film Festival
  30. ^ Official website of the Queer Parade in Brno 2008
  31. ^ Official website of Prague Pride
  32. ^ Prague 'gay pride': Czech capital hosts maiden march
  33. ^ Prague's first pride parade: A success amidst controversy
  34. ^ Thousands march in Prague Pride parade
  35. ^ CNS News, http://cnsnews.com/news/article/obamas-ambassador-tells-czech-lgbt-activists-you-have-ally-usa
  36. ^ Prague debuts new map geared towards gay travelers: New York Times
  37. ^ a b (Czech) Operační změnu pohlaví podstoupí v ČR ročně 50 až 60 lidí
  38. ^ "Doporučení Společnosti pro transfuzní lékařství ČLS JEP č. STL2007_03 ze dne 12. 4. 2007 verze 6 (2012_04)" (DOC) (in Czech). Společnost pro transfuzní lékařství ČLS JEP. p. 8. Retrieved 2013-02-07. 

External links[edit]