Prague, Aug 10 (CTK) – The position of homosexuals in the Czech Republic is not ideal, compared with the advanced West, but still it is definitely Western-like, which does not apply to the situation to the north and east of the Czech borders, Jiri Sobota writes in weekly Respekt out Monday.
Only few other social groups are as vulnerable as sexual minorities. That is why the society’s approach to them is a reliable criterion of their development and civilisation level, Sobota writes.
True, the progress of sexual minorities’ emancipation has stagnated in the Czech Republic in recent years. In relation to full-fledged marriages of same-sex couples and the adoption of children by homosexuals, the Czech society is split into the equally large camps of supporters and opponents, Sobota writes.
In spite of this, the Pride Parade to be held within the Prague festival of homosexuals next weekend will be one of the most successful events of its kind, unparalleled in this part of Europe, Sobota says.
According to public opinion polls, registered partnership of homosexuals is supported by three-quarters of Czechs.
A deeper emancipation has been progressing unbelievably quickly to the west of the Czech border. In May, Ireland became the first country in the world to push through homosexual marriages in a referendum, and the Supreme Court of the United States said the right to a full-fledged marriage is a constitutional right of all U.S. citizens regardless of the sex of their partners, Sobota writes.
These are only the most striking fresh breakthroughs. The life of homosexuals has unbelievably improved in the West, Latin America and some other parts of the world during the past decades. Gays and lesbians have “switched” from prison cells to wedding rooms. A legal form of homosexual partnership exists in almost 40 countries now, Sobota writes.
Nowhere in the world have homosexuals achieved a position fully equal to the majority society, but still activists from other fields are learning from gays how to conduct a successful campaign, he writes.
The above civilisation trend ends to the north and east of the Czech border. Earlier this year, the Slovak government pushed through a constitutional ban on the marriages of same-sex couples as part of its political manoeuvring. In Poland, the atmosphere is hostile as a result of the influence of the Church and conservative media. The situation in the Balkans is adverse as well. Russia, for its part, has become a stronghold of homophobia, and the situation in the Muslim countries and a major part of Africa is even worse, Sobota writes.
There are still 76 countries in the world where homosexuality is considered a crime, and in some of them, it can be punished with the death penalty, Sobota writes.
From this point of view, the Czech Republic can be considered an outpost of the Western civilisation. For the time being, Czech gays and lesbians are not eligible for a full-fledged marriage and child adoption, and the trans-gender problem evidently remains unsolved, Sobota writes.
Moreover, the Czechs’ approach to minorities still amounts to passive toleration rather than delight in the diversity of lifestyles. The Czech Republic still has a lot to improve, and the fact that progress has stagnated recently is unflattering to the current establishment, Sobota writes.
In spite of this, the festival of homosexuals that starts in Prague Monday and will culminate with the Prague Pride parade on Sunday, should be a celebration of the progress the Czechs have achieved and of the toleration and Western openness they are able to show “in their better moments,” Sobota concludes.