How gay-friendly is the Czech Republic

Tolerant Czechs

The colorful rainbow flag flutters lazily in the summer breeze in front of the Q-Café in Prague's old town. A popular meeting place for gays and lesbians in the capital. In the afternoon, visitors enjoy the last rays of sunshine at the tables on the sidewalk. Inside, bartender Jan mixes cocktails for the mostly young crowd:

"When we opened our café, the neighbors were really enthusiastic - including the older people. They said: Great, these are normal people, most of them are tidy and you can talk to them. I think Czech society is very tolerant of them Gays and lesbians. "

A tolerance that is not only noticeable in everyday life in the capital - legally, gays and lesbians are much better off in the Czech Republic than in most other post-communist countries. While in the neighboring countries Poland and Slovakia homosexuals have so far been fighting in vain for homosexual marriage, there has been a law in the Czech Republic since 2006 that enables registered civil partnerships for same-sex couples. After long political debates, the decision at the time was a huge leap forward, explains Martina Stepankova from the gay and lesbian umbrella organization Proud:

"In the Czech Republic there are currently 1200 same-sex couples living in a registered partnership. The majority of them are men. That is a positive result. In our society, more and more people are accepting this way of life as part of reality."

One reason for the liberal attitude of most Czechs is the low influence of the Christian churches on the predominantly non-denominational society. But the tolerance of the Czechs also has limits. The law regulates mutual maintenance and inheritance law - the possibility of adopting children and marrying as a family has so far been ruled out. In 2006, the Czech Parliament oriented itself towards the German legal situation:

"Germany was a role model when it came to same-sex partnerships. The fact that this regulation already existed in the neighboring country and that it worked there without any problems was a very important argument in the debate."

The singer Pavel Vitek is one of the most prominent gays in the Czech Republic. In 2006 the artist was one of the first to take advantage of the possibilities of the new law with his partner. But outside of the big cities, many gay and lesbian couples still live in secrecy. For the first time, the umbrella organization Proud is organizing a multi-day festival with a large parade through Prague this summer, explains co-organizer Hana:

"The Czech society is relatively tolerant but according to the motto: do what you want - but do it at home. That is why we organize our Prague Pride festival. We want to show ourselves publicly on the street and hold hands and not just spend time in our gay Clubs spend. "

Thousands of visitors from home and abroad are expected to the festival in mid-August. The reputation of Prague as a gay and lesbian stronghold in Eastern and Central Europe should thus be further strengthened.