Czech LGBTQ+ advocacy groups launch petition against hate, plan rally for Prague

Today 20 human rights organizations have come together to ask for increased safeguarding of LGBTQ+ community. A protest is planned for Oct. 26. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 19.10.2022 18:51:00 (updated on 19.10.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

Following a press conference Wednesday morning, Prague Pride and other advocacy groups published an open call to the government and parliament of Czechia to take concrete steps to protect LGBTQ+ people. This follows the hate-motivated Oct.12 attack in Bratislava, in which two homosexual men were murdered.

A total of 22 human rights organizations, associations, and initiatives have issued the appeal in response to last week’s murders.

"Together Against Hate" (“Společně proti nenávisti”) is the message addressed to the Czech government and parliament. The call informs Czech politicians that LGBTQ+ people and their families in Czechia are fearful and worried for their safety.

The full text of the appeal is available on the Together Against Hate website, where citizens can support it by signing it.

A public demonstration to promote greater security for LGBTQ+ people is planned for Wednesday, Oct. 26 from 6 p.m. at Prague's Wenceslas Square. 

Chairman of Queer Geography, another LGBTQ+ group in Czechia, Michal Pitoňák said:

"Together with 21 other signatories, we submitted three simple legislative proposals to the government and parliament of the Czech Republic, which will significantly improve the position and acceptance of hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ+ people, families, and children in our society."

The call further points out that it is precisely the country's political leadership that has the solution to the worsening security situation in its hands.

Ensuring LGBTQ+ people are specifically protected from pre-trial criminal activity, adopting a law on the marriage of all couples and canceling the now-outdated requirement to castrate trans people would significantly contribute to improving the status and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people in Czech society, the participating organizations assert.

Hostility exists in public life

Czechia has substantial work to do in strengthening LGBTQ+ rights and reducing discrimination in the country.

A 2021 study by Rainbow Europe, a pro-LGBTQ+ research company, found that Czechia ranked 32nd out of 49 European countries in their annual review of LGBTQ+ human rights.

A 2019 survey by the Public Defender of Rights in Czechia found that over 50 percent of LGBTQ+ people had encountered harassment in the past five years. Almost 1 in 10 were physically threatened.

The study also found that more than a third of respondents experienced discrimination in the preceding five years. This is three times higher than the general population.

Notably, according to the report, about 90 percent of LGBTQ+ people who had experienced harassment, threats or violence chose not to report the incident to the police.

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights in its comprehensive 2020 survey found that just 5 percent of LGBTQ+ citizens in Czechia believe that the government adequately responds to the safety needs of LGBTQ+ people.

"LGBTQ+ people living in the Czech Republic are also the target of prejudicial violence. Nevertheless, they are not provided with sufficient legal protection by criminal law,” says Klára Kalibová, executive director of In Iustitia, an LGBTQ+ association in Czechia.

Although – compared to its eastern neighbors – Czechia’s public is broadly tolerant of LGBTQ+ rights (around 65 percent of the public supports same-sex marriage as per a 2021 poll), the country has a recent history of politicians voicing anti-equality sentiments. 

President Miloš Zeman named trans people “disgusting” in June last year and said that medical gender changes were equivalent to self-harm, as was reported in CNN Prima.

Czechia is among some countries in the EU that have not yet approved same-sex marriage or adoption. A spokesperson for the Christian Democrats party in 2021 said that the party would not support same-sex unions, because “marriage is a crucial part of [life] for us and its meaning can not be changed," as cited in Euronews.

New equality laws would improve the overall outlook. "The introduction of marriage equality not only reduces prejudice but also has a demonstrable positive effect on health," notes Kateř Tureček of Transp*rent (a further pro-LGBTQ+ group).

Prague Pride, In Iustitia, and Transp*rent have long highlighted the growing amount of hateful attitudes and bigotry being spread against LGBTQ+ people by the media, politicians and other public figures. The campaign to reduce such discrimination continues.

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