Sexual minorities are increasingly visible and confident in Romania – despite a surge of homophobic discourse in the public space that has, paradoxically, prompted many to stand up more firmly for their rights.
“People come out constantly, especially the younger generation, which is more and more outspoken and self-assured,” LGBT rights activist Teodora Rosetti-Ion-Rotaru told Balkan Insight.
Romania has passed no legislation recognizing or promoting gay rights since the Balkan country joined the EU 12 years ago, and since it decriminalized same sex relationships 18 years ago. As a result, gay couples and transgender people still face huge problems as they try to go about with their lives.
The October 2018 referendum on gay marriage may have stimulated LGBT people to be more open and publicly present, activists say. The vote was held on the initiative of US-supported socially conservative evangelical Christian groups in order to impose a constitutional veto on same-sex marriages. The campaign also drew the backing of the main faith group in the country, the Romanian Orthodox Church.
The referendum’s sole question asked voters if they wished to change article 48 of the constitution that defines marriage as a union of “spouses”, redefining marriage more narrowly as a union of “a man and a woman”. The vote was preceded by an aggressive campaign that flooded the national conversation with the kind of overtly homophobic messages previously concealed in the private space. Read more via Balkan Insight