Category Archives: Country Details

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Poland

Poland LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? No

◊ No legal recognition of same-sex unions currently exists in the Polish constitution.  Major opposition to same-sex marriages or civil unions comes from the Roman Catholic church, which makes up approximately 95% of the population, with 40% practicing regularly(1).

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? Yes and No

◊   A single gay person can adopt a child, but no joint adoption by a gay couple is allowed.

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes

Anti-discrimination Laws? Yes

◊   Anti-discrimination laws, including discrimination based on sexual orientation, was added to the Polish constitution.

Concerning Gender Identity? Yes

Sex changes are legal, and afterwards birth certificates can be changed.

Cultural Points of Interest:

While in 2004 and 2005 the “Equality Parade” in Warsaw was banned, the country is now hosting the 2010 Europride festival.

Websites:

Lambda Warszawa - One of the major LGBT NGOs in Poland.
http://www.lambdawarszawa.org/

Gay Life – website for the Polish gay community, includes events, news, forums, etc.
http://www.gaylife.pl

Campaign Against Homophobia – a blog run by an NGO organization working in Warsaw that supports human rights and anti-discrimination.  They provide relevant news and information for LGBT persons living in Poland.  Their main website is:
http://www.kph.org.pl/

Europride 2010 – official website for Europride 2010, which runs from July 9 to 18 in Warsaw.
http://europride2010.eu/

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Hungary

Hungary LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes, since 1961

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? Yes

◊ Since 1996 unregistered cohabitation has been recognized, and registered partnerships since 2009.

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? No

◊ No joint adoption is allowed, or even the adoption of same-sex partner’s children

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes

Anti-discrimination Laws? Yes

◊ The 2003 Act on Equal Treatment and the Promotion of Equal Opportunities forbids sexual orientation discrimination concerning employment, education, housing, health, and access to goods/services.

Legislature Concerning Gender Identity? Some

Cultural Points of Interest:

While this year the annual Budapest Pride march will be celebrating its 15th anniversary, the march has also been plagued by escalating levels of violence.  While the first 11 marches only had only minor disruptions, starting in 2007 the events have had more violent protests until in 2009 the parade march was completely blocked from public view.

Already, in 2010, Pride organizers have had to face disruptions caused by neo-Nazis.  A dozen neo-Nazis showed up at the opening of the Pride festival, including two youths who attacked a participant leaving the event.

Websites:

Budapest Pride –  The Budapest Pride main website, it has a complete schedule of events, and information about the local community.
http://www.budapestpride.hu/en

PinkVanilla.hu – LGBT portal providing news and forums.
http://pinkvanilla.hu/

Labrisz Lesbian Association – A local lesbian organization which besides providing social space, reflects on the social position of lesbian and bisexual women in a more organized form.
http://www.labrisz.hu/english

Pride.hu – Information and social portal for the Hungarian LGBT community.
http://pride.hu/

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in the UK

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in the UK

UK LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? Yes

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? Yes

◊   Joint and stepchild adoption since 2005 (England and Wales), 2009 (Scotland)

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes

Anti-discrimination Laws? Yes

◊   Discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal in housing, employment and the provision of goods and servicesLegislature

Concerning Gender Identity? Yes

The Gender Recognition Act also gave transsexuals the right to change their legal gender.

Cultural Points of Interest:

London hosted Europride 2006, and is planned to host Worldpride 2012.

Websites:

Gay Pride UK – a site that provides in-depth information on pride events happening in the UK.
http://www.gay-pride.org.uk

Pink Paper – an excellent source of news, entertainment, health, jobs and general information for gay men, lesbians and bisexuals.
http://news.pinkpaper.com/

LGBT History Month – resource that describes the histories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Britain and Northern Ireland.
http://www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/

Pride London – official site for the annual Pride London festival, two weeks of theatre, music, debate, art and entertainment to raise awareness of discrimination and the issues and difficulties affecting the lives of LGBT people around the world.
http://www.pridelondon.org

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Bulgaria

Bulgaria LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes

In 1858 homosexual acts were first made legal by the Ottoman empire, but in 1878 following the liberation of Bulgaria homosexuality again became illegal.  It wasn’t until 1968 that a revision of the penal code made it once again legal.

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? No

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? No

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes

Anti-discrimination Laws? Yes, since 2003

Legislature Concerning Gender Identity? Some

Right to legally change gender is allowed

Cultural Points of Interest:

In 2008 hate groups in Bulgaria held “Week of Intolerance” leading up to Sofia’s first pride march.  Unfortunately, Bulgaria suffers from high levels of homophobia.

Websites:

Sofia Pride – The main website for Sofia Pride, provides all the details you need concerning the annual pride events.  http://www.sofiapride.info/en

Gay.bg – Bulgayria (gay.bg) is a web site about the news on gay/lesbian/homosexual/queer life in Bulgaria. The gay guide includes the list of gay bar, disco and cruising in Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv, Rousse, Bourgas, map of Sofia (other maps will be added), listing of parties in Spartacus Disco. http://www.gay.bg/

G-Spotbg – LGBT community portal in Bulgaria.
http://www.g-spotbg.com/

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Croatia

Croatia LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes , since 1977

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? Yes and No

◊ No registered partnerships or marriage allowed, but unregistered cohabitation recognized since 2003 (so partners living together for 3 or more years receive the same rights concerning inheritance and financial support as unmarried cohabiting couples).

◊ In 2005 legislation was proposed to allow civil unions, but was rejected by parliament.

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? As individuals

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes

Anti-discrimination Laws? Yes

Legislature Concerning Gender Identity? Some

Right to change gender allowed, and anti-discrimination legislation since 2009

Cultural Points of Interest:

Since 2006 Croatia has had legislation concerning hate crimes, and this legislation was first used to prosecute a man that attempted to attack Zagreb Pride in 2007 with Molotov cocktails.

Websites:

Zagreb-pride.netOfficial website for Zagreb Pride, it provides a complete program and information on the events that make up Zagreb pride. http://www.zagreb-pride.net

Gay.hr – News and information for the Croatia LGBT community. http://kuga.gay.hr

Lesbian Group Kontra – A Croatian non profit based in Zagreb that promotes lesbian rights.  The group provides various resources to the local lesbian community. http://www.kontra.hr

Gay Friendly Croatia – A great site providing information for gay friendly travel in Croatia.  In 2009 they published the first Zagreb City Gay Guide, which was supported by the local Zagreb tourism board.  http://www.friendlycroatia.com

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Turkey

Turkey LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? No

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? No
◊ Neither joint nor second parent adoption is available to same-sex couples in Turkey.

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? No, they are banned from military service

Anti-discrimination Laws? None

Legislature Concerning Gender Identity? Not much

◊ Lack of anti-discrimination legislation is particularly harmful when it comes to employment as most transgender people in Turkey are prevented from finding traditional work.

Cultural Points of Interest:
The Turkish government regularly tries to harass and close LGBT focused organizations. This behavior has come to the attention of the European Union, which in their annual progress report they said these issues should be resolved.

Over 45 members of the LGBT community have been murdered in the past 3 years due to hate crimes.

Websites:

Istanbul LGBTT – An grass roots human rights organization in Istanbul that focuses on the needs of the local transsexual community.
http://www.istanbul-lgbtt.org

Lambda Istanbul - LGBT organization operating in Istanbul, and who hosts the yearly pride parades.
http://www.lambdaistanbul.org

Kaos GL – Ankara rights group, also includes history on their website of Turkey LGBT history
http://www.kaosgl.com/

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Greece

Greek LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? No

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? No

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? No

Anti-discrimination Laws? Some

While sexual orientation is not a protected discrimination category in the Greek Constitution, there are EU laws in place that prevent sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace.

Legislature Concerning Gender Identity? Some

Transexuals are exempted from military conscription

Cultural Points of Interest:

There are well-known gay scenes on some of the Greek Islands, in particular Myconos for gay men, and the island of Lesbos for women.

Websites:

Athens Pride - website for the annual Athens pride festival.
http://www.athenspride.eu

GGP – a Gay Greece portal providing travel information and cultural resources.
http://www.gaygreece.gr/

Sapphites – is a Greek portal with resources concerning rights, legislation, and gay-friendly sites.
http://sapphogr.net/

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Russia

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Russia

Russia LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? No

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? Not really

◊ If you are single you can adopt children regardless of sexual orientation, but same-sex couples can not adopt children

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes, since 1993

◊ However, do to homophobia in the military, most choose not to serve openly.

Anti-discrimination Laws? No

Legislature Concerning Gender Identity? Yes

Transexual and Transgender people can change their legal gender after undergoing medical procedures.

Cultural Points of Interest:

“Cracks in the Iron Closet: Travels in Gay and Lesbian Russia” is a book by David Tuller describing his travels exploring the underground gay world in Russia.

Websites:

Gay Russia is a Human Rights portal for the LGBT community in Russia.  It was founded by activist Nikolai Alekseev, and aims to raise awareness about LGBT issues in Russia.
http://www.gayrussia.ru

Gay.ru – A forum and community site for the Russian LGBT community.  The website has information in both Russian and English, and over 15,000 articles/documents providing information for visitors to gay.ru.
http://www.gay.ru

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Romania

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Romania

Romania LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? No

◊  However, as part of the EU Romania must recognize same-sex relationships registered in other EU states.

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? No

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes

Anti-discrimination Laws? Yes

◊  Since 2000, Romania legislation has specifically forbidden Anti-gay discrimination in areas “including employment, the provision of and access to goods and services, housing, education, health care, audiovisual programming, the justice system, other public services and social security.”  In terms of prosecuting crimes, persons involved in homophobic related hate crimes also receive a higher sentence.

Legislature Concerning Gender Identity? Yes

Since 1996, it is possible for someone who had undergone sex reassignment surgery to legally change their sex on official documents/paperwork.

Cultural Points of Interest:

Operating online, Angelicuss TV is Romania’s first homosexual TV channel. http://www.tvangelicuss.beanangel.ro/

In 2006, Romania was named by Human Rights Watch as one of five countries in the world that had made “exemplary progress in combating rights abuses based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Websites:

GayOne.ro -  is a portal in Romania that provides news on LGBT related topics in Romania and concerning worldwide gay issues.
http://www.gayone.ro/

Angelicuss – is an online magazine for Romania providing useful information, news, and chat/blog material.
http://www.angelicuss.beanangel.ro/

ACCEPT -  the organizers of the annual GayFest pride march, and the only LGBT organization in the country.
http://accept-romania.ro/

Romania Gay News – Provides information relevant for the Romanian LGBT community.
http://stirigay.ro

Gay Rights and Culture in Belarus

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Belarus

Belarus LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? No

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? Some

◊  It is possible for a LGBT person to legally adopt the his/her partner’s biological children, but restrictions apply.  However, it is not possible to adopt orphans, since adoptive couples must be married.

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? No

Anti-discrimination Laws? No

◊  The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status.  Sexuality is not included.

Legislature Concerning Gender Identity? No

Citizens have no right to change their legal gender

Cultural Points of Interest:

Previously, as part of the Soviet Union, Belarus considered homosexuality illegal, a stance similar to others in the Soviet republics, but in 1994 the Parliament of Independent Belarus changed the criminal code to make homosexuality legal.  However, LGBT people often face severe homophobia and extreme social disapproval.  Belarus is also heavily Russian Orthodox, a religion that traditionally condemns homosexuality.

The 2010 Greenwood Encyclopedia of LGBT Issues Worldwide included the following about Belarus:

The Belarusian LGBT movement is one of the youngest in Europe. It operates in one of the most repressive political environments, nearly in full international isolation, without public support inside the country…the most important step in the near future is seen to be a public campaign to change the legislation affecting the relationship between NGOs and the government; that this will allow LGBT groups to work openly and more effectively. The second step is the promotion of antidiscrimination legislation.

Websites:

Gay Belarus is a good source of news and information about the gay community in Belarus, and about Slavic pride.  The founder of GayBelarus.by is an organizer of Slavic gay pride in Belarus, and co-organizer of Slavic pride in Moscow.
http://gaybelarus.by/english.html

Gay.by is a portal for the Belarus LGBT community.  It is a popular site, with event, news, and travel information.
http://www.english.gay.by/

Pride! – Provides LGBT news material for Belaurs including human rights reports and relevant international news.
http://pride.by/en/

Belarus Gay Guide -  Provides information for those traveling to Belarus, including travel books.
http://belarusgay.com/

Sunshine.by – A blog about being gay in Belarus
http://sunshine.by/