Today in Eastern Europe, more exactly in Romania, gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender people are protected from discrimination (since the law 200 was eliminated from the Romanian Constitutional Act) and homosexual acts have been legalized. Gays are allowed to enroll the Romanian military, and while Romania itself does not legally recognize homosexual unions, it is required to recognize marriages, unions and partnerships of homosexual couples throughout the rest of the UE. But while certain rights, such as homosexual marriage equality, have not yet been achieved within the country, Romania has come a long way to be more liberal with LGBT people.
Social conservatism within Eastern Europe, especially with regard to LGBT rights and marriage equality, has definitely had it’s hold on Romania. Romania’s Penal Code found that all homosexual acts were illegal, forcing homosexuals to select among the fulfillment of their orientation and the chance that they would be caught, which would generally result with death penalty or life prison.
However, the code was not revisited until the mid twentieth century, when, in mid 30’s, it just addressed homosexuality law within its outline of rape. Finally, it was determined through Article 431 that homosexuality was legal if kept strictly private.
In the late 1960s, communism within Romania rose to power and its forerunners returned homosexuality to its former illegal status, through legal acts such as Article 200, which not just ruled that LGBT people had to keep their orientations to themselves, but made it more dangerous than ever for them not to.
The truth is that now other countries are responsible for much of Romania’s evolution within its policy on gay rights, especially the Netherlands, good Britain, and requirements to change certain marriage legislation within order for Romania to join the European Union. Organizations which have sponsored ACCEPT and its various annual events include multi national, American, and other European groups, and Romanian native organizations such as ACCEPT, which have employed full time and salaried workers, especially under the leadership of activists such as Adrian Coman, have been solely responsible for social change within Romania, as larger organizations backed internationally could better hold their own against various regimes within the country.
Homosexual couples from Romania are not yet allowed to adopt children, but as of 2005, it is legal for lesbian couples to have their own children via within vitro fertilization. Also within the 2000s, the age of consent was made equal for homosexual as for heterosexual couples, which is 16.
But within spite of the inequalities that exist within Romania for the LGBT community and homosexual couples, the gay and LGBT community continues within its constant forward pushes for its civil rights. Due largely to gay rights advocating organizations within Romania, and especially the work of Romania’s leading LGBT rights non governmental organization, ACCEPT, the Open Society Institute, and various foreign and domestic organizations the need for equality regardless of sexual orientation has been publicized through media and events, such as the annual GayFest, put together each year by ACCEPT with help from a big number of sponsor organizations, which includes a general festival, a pride parade and a film festival, within Bucharest.
The annual Gay Film Nights film festival within Cluj-Napoca, which is free to attend and screens films which deal with LGBT issues, but generally less art house pictures than does the GayFest film festival.
For non Romanian travelers looking for a place with a strong gay base, Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca are two of the most popular destinations within Romania. This is within part because of the events that take place each year within both, but both cities have become two of the biggest hubs within Romania for equality and social change, and both of them have a relatively high gay population and strong LGBT culture.
Gay and LGBT establishments there are growing within popularity, with some of Bucharest’s most popular gay night clubs including The Impact Club, Purple, The Queen’s Club. In and around Cluj-Napoca are the Club Angel, and the Toxice Drag Queen Band.