The Czech Republic, the Central European country is the most liberal European country regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT+) rights according to CEE New Perspectives. For example, it was the first post-communist nation to legalize same-sex registered partnerships from other European nations.
It has been discovered that there is an increased level of support in terms of same-sex marriage in the Czech Republic. A 2013 Pew Research Center survey demonstrated that 80% of Czechs think that homosexuality ought to be acknowledged by society, one of the most top among the 39 nations surveyed. Prague, the capital city of the country is well known globally for its LGBT nightlife and transparency. The reason why homosexual people prefer to move to Prague than any other place in the country is that some of them are still a bit of scared to come out as a homosexual with the fear of dreading results as revealed by the surveys recently conducted by the Czech Academy of Sciences (find here in Czech). If you want to know in details about LGBT rights in the Czech Republic
There is a Prague Pride, non-governmental, non-political, non-profit organization. It aims are mainly to promote tolerant civil society, fight against homophobia and increase public awareness of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in the Czech Republic. The organization was founded in 2010 with the aim to organize an LGBT human rights festival – Prague Pride.
In the Czech Republic, there is a legitimate acknowledgment of same-sex couples. From 2001, the Czech Republic has granted “persons living in a common household” inheritance and progression rights in housing, also a hospital and prison visitation rights like wedded hetero couples. Although same-sex couples are currently can not legally adopt in the Czech Republic and singles and lesbian couples do not have access to IVF treatments in the country.
In 2009, in the Czech Republic, a complete list anti-discrimination law was passed which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, education, housing and access to goods and services. Section 2 of the Anti-Discrimination Act (Czech: Antidiskriminační zákon) defines “direct discrimination” as follows:
Direct discrimination shall mean an act, including omission, where one person is treated less favorably than another is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation, on grounds of race, ethnic origin, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, belief or opinions.
The first sex reassignment surgery in the country took place in 1942 when a transgender man subsequently changed his legal sex to male. Currently, 50-60 people undergo such surgeries annually in the country. Also in 2011 Prague’s first gay & lesbian pride festival happened. It was the latest salvo in the escalating war of words among Czech politicians over the event. Find some useful articles here.
Interviews with gay expats in the Czech Republic
We talked to two gay couples living in Brno, to get to know more about the current situation.
A couple originally from Israel, Nimrod and Ronen are together from the last 10 years and got married in the last September in Copenhagen. They could not get married in Israel because of law and order, although they had the biggest LGBT community of Israel in Tel Aviv. They met when Nimrod was working in a coffee shop in Tel Aviv. Ronen was his customer and then as Nimrod said, from one cup of coffee it led to another and then they finally start dating.
Later on, they left their jobs in Israel and moved to Poland. However, Poland didn’t have any good news for them, as they couldn’t get married. Soon after a little research, they found out the Czech Republic accepts a same-sex couple, and so they moved the next day.
Nimrod and Ronen find the Czech Republic and Czech people mostly tolerant and accepting. Also, they have not and I hope for future too, encounter any discrimination, moreover when they went for an interview in MOI, they found people there very lovely and accepting.
They also told us that ever since they have moved to Brno they have not witnessed any community or any pride parade, although in the capital city (Prague) there is quite a big community.
Another couple, Yan David Vargas and his husband, are from Canada. They live in the Czech Republic for more than 3 years now. They are together for 18 years while married for the last 16 years. When David’s husband came to the Czech Republic to work, he also applied for a work visa. He had to wait for a year to be able to get a working visa. As he claims, the visa process was very confusing, annoying and at times, very depressing. In their opinion, the LGBT community is very hard to access for a non-Czech person. It is often hard to meet and to make friendships with other gay people around and once a Czech gay people find a partner they tend to hide away from other gays.
Where to meet the community?
David also informed us that there are sporadic meetings organized by STUD group. There is also a gay film festival called Mezipatra that plays movies in both cities (Prague and Brno). It is organized independently so the dates between the two cities do not overlap. It attracts a lot of people, gay and not. There is also a gay ball every February and it works similarly to the Mezipatra festival. Moreover, there is a boat party by the Brno reservoir and other activities. Lastly, David mentioned some groups that go for swimming, cycling, and hiking. In any case, to socialize in any of these activities or groups, you need to be fluent in Czech as many of the participants and organizers do not speak (or do not want to speak) English.
David and his better half have not encountered any discrimination or any issues but he said he wouldn’t feel that confident to walking hand on hand on the streets. He has seen a few people doing it, especially women and no one on the streets gives them too much attention. I wear my rainbow bracelet wherever I go but no one pays attention to it. I wonder whether or not people know the meaning of it. There are very few places in Brno for gay people and one of them is often more frequented by straight people. I tried to be amicable to a person in there once and he warned me not to touch him as he “is not gay.” I was baffled by his reaction to a simple talk that I just walked away in shame in a place that it is supposed to be open for people like me. After that incident, I gave up in going to gay bars and similar places like that.
This year, for the first time, the LGBT+ flag was flying in the city of Prague on the occasion of the ninth edition of the LGBT+ festival in the Czech capital. The celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in a city-wide parade took place on Saturday, August 10, 2019. The parade attracted approximately 30,000 participants. It was led by two cars with grand marshals: actor Jiří Hromada, politician Karla Šlechtová (ANO) and Roma activist David Tišer. IT firms Google and Microsoft had floats. Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib and Czech Pirate Party leader Ivan Bartoš also participated with afloat. Nevertheless, in the evening someone put the flag on fire (very shameful in my opinion!). The police still try to find the person.