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  • Writer's pictureLaci Felker

LGBTQIA+ Rights are Human Rights: Where European Countries Stand

Originally published July 3, 2021, with Muses Nest, a defunct online human and woman's magazine.

As Pride Month ends and Hungary’s new anti LGBTQIA+ law sparks controversy, it is essential to look at the other countries throughout Europe and see where they stand when it comes to giving all their citizens equal rights.

Bulgaria, the Republic of Cyprus, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia have laws against any kind of discrimination, but same-sex couples cannot adopt, and they do not recognize same-sex marriage. Greece does not allow same-sex marriage, and while same-sex couples are allowed to foster children, they are not allowed to adopt.

In a time when people are gaining more freedom to express themselves and more laws are being passed to give equal rights to all, it is hard to believe that there are still countries fighting against this fundamental right. In fact, a Polish Minister claimed that Poland should follow Hungary’s footsteps with their new law in banning content that talks about sexuality.

Of course, the European countries that have given equal rights to their LGBTQIA+ citizens show outrage when a new law is passed that goes against equality but is that enough? For the countries that are a part of the European Union, would threatening the

m with removal be enough to have them change their views? In 2021, there should not be a need to force the leaders of a country to see their people as equal. In fact, the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,” and that “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms…without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origin, property, birth, or another status” (Articles 1, 2). So, the question remains: if humans are born equal in dignity and rights, why are people being discriminated against when it comes to their sexual orientation?

There are calls for countries to “do better” while, simultaneously, there is an influx of anti-LGBTQIA+ propaganda that permeates society. There is no denying that the prejudice that continues is perpetrated by the old, cis-gendered men who oversee legislation and are stuck in their old way of thinking and seeing the world. And, as such, their views are shared by other members of the population who do not seem to understand that there is nothing separating people from one another, other than their perceived notion that people who are not exactly like them are “other” and “lesser.”

However, even with the strides made to pave the way for a brighter and equal future, there is still much left to do before members of the LGBTQIA+ community are treated equally and fairly in their day-to-day lives and legally. Suppose people, and other countries, continue to hold each other accountable for their actions. In that case, equality will be achievable in the near future. Some people cannot be swayed in their views, but it is the responsibility of the younger generations to continue to push for equality and give voices to those who might otherwise be cast to the side.

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