LGBT rights in the Czech Republic

LGBT rights in the Czech Republic Czech Republic

Location of the Czech Republic (dark green) within the EU (light green)
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1962 as Czechoslovakia,
age of consent equalized in 1990
Gender identity/expression Transgender people allowed to change gender following surgery
Military service LGBT people allowed to serve
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation and gender identity protections (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
Registered partnerships since 2006
Adoption No joint adoption (a person regardless of sexual orientation may adopt notwithstanding whether in a registered partnership or not)

The Czech Republic is considered one of the most liberal Central European countries with regard to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights. In 2006, it legalized registered partnerships (Czech: registrované partnerství) for same-sex couples.

Legality of same-sex sexual activity

Same-sex sexual activity was decriminalized in 1962 after scientific research of Kurt Freund led to the conclusion that homosexual orientation may not be changed (see the History of penile plethysmograph). The age of consent was equalized in 1990 (to 15 – it had previously been 18 for homosexuals).[1][2] The Army doesn't question the sexual orientation of soldiers, and allows homosexuals to serve openly. Homosexual prostitution was decriminalized in 1990.[3]

Recognition of same-sex relationships

There is some legal recognition of same-sex couples. Unregistered cohabitation has been possible since 2001. The Czech Republic has granted "persons living in a common household" inheritance and succession rights in housing,[2][4] as well as hospital and prison visitation rights similar to married heterosexual couples.

A bill legalizing registered partnership, with some of the rights of marriage, was rejected four times, in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2005.[5][6][7][8] However, on 16 December 2005, a new registered partnership bill was passed by the Czech House of Representatives; it was also adopted by the Senate on 26 January 2006, but later vetoed by the President Václav Klaus.[9][10][11] On 15 March 2006, the President's veto was overturned by the House of Representatives and the law came into force on 1 July 2006.[12][13] Since this date, the Czech Republic allows registered partnerships for same-sex couples, with many of the rights of marriage (except for adoption rights and the title marriage).[14]

Adoption and parenting rights

In June 2016, the Constitutional Court struck down a ban which forbade people living in registered partnerships from adopting children as individuals. However, joint adoption of children by same-sex couples and adoption of a same-sex partner's child remain illegal. The Government has announced its intention to repeal this law upon the pronouncement of the Constitutional Court.[15][16][17]

Singles and lesbian couples are unable to legally access IVF treatments in the country.[18]

In October 2016, the Government approved a proposal giving couples in registered partnerships the right to adopt their stepchildren. The bill now goes to Parliament where it must be debated and passed to become law. Jiří Dienstbier Jr., Minister of the Czech Republic for Human Rights and Equal Opportunities, said that "It’s about securing that the other partner has a legal relationship with the child".[19]

Discrimination protections

Police cordon defending Queer Parade 2008 in Brno against intrusions by right-wing extremists: only those who underwent a search for weapons were allowed past the cordon (see also: Gun politics in the Czech Republic)

In 2009, a comprehensive anti-discrimination law was passed which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, education, housing and access to goods and services.[20][21][22]

Gender identity and expression

LGBT flag map of the Czech Republic

The first sex reassignment surgery in the country took place in 1942, when a trans man subsequently changed his legal sex to male. Currently, 50-60 people undergo such surgeries annually in the country (for 10,6 million population).[23]

In order to be covered by health insurance, a request for change of gender markers and treatment is assessed by a commission at the Ministry of Health. After being approved, the applicant undergoes one year of hormonal treatment, which is followed by one year of living in the social role of the other gender, including e.g. wearing what is judged to be "appropriate dress". After this two-year treatment, the applicant's genitalia may be surgically changed.[23]

Military service

Since 1999, Czech law has prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in the military.[20] Transgender people are allowed to serve openly as well.[24]

Blood donation

Gay and bi men are allowed to donate blood in the Czech Republic following a one year deferral period.[25]

Public opinion

In 2004, public opinion showed a strong level of support for registered partnerships for same-sex couples, with 60% agreeing with such a law. A 2005 survey showed that 43% of Czechs personally knew someone gay or lesbian, 42% supported same-sex marriage and 62% supported registered partnerships, while only 18% supported same-sex adoption.[26] In 2006, the Eurobarometer showed that 52% of Czechs supported full same-sex marriage (above the EU average of 44%) while 39% supported same-sex adoption.[27] However, the 2015 Eurobarometer survey indicated a record high support of 57% among the Czechs, a five percent increase from the one in 2006.[28] The annual CVVM poll on gay rights has shown slightly lower, though increasing, levels of support:

Czechs support for gay rights according to CVVM[29] 2005 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
registered partnerships 61% 30% 69% 24% 75% 19% 73% 23% 72% 23% 72% 23% 75% 21% 72% 23% 73% 23% 74% 22% 74% 21%
same-sex marriages 38% 51% 36% 57% 38% 55% 47% 46% 49% 45% 45% 48% 51% 44% 51% 44% 45% 48% 49% 44% 51% 43%
joint adoption 19% 70% 22% 67% 23% 65% 27% 63% 29% 60% 33% 59% 37% 55% 34% 57% 45% 48% 44% 49% 48% 43%
stepchild adoption - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 58% 32% 59% 33% 62% 29%
Czechs support for gay rights according to Median[30] 2016
registered partnerships 68% 26%
same-sex marriages 67% 29%
joint adoption 48% 48%
stepchild adoption - -

In March 2012, a survey found that 23% of Czechs would not want to have gay or lesbian neighbours. This represents a significant drop from 2003, when 42% of Czechs said that they would not want to have gay or lesbian neighbours.[31]

A 2013 Pew Research Center opinion survey showed that 80% of Czechs believe homosexuality should be accepted by society, while 16% believe it should not.[32] 84% of people between 18 and 29 believe it should be accepted, 87% of people between 30 and 49 and 72% of people over 50.

2014 Prague Pride on Wenceslas Square

A 2014 survey by the Academy of Sciences found that support for same-sex marriage had fallen slightly on previous years. In general, those opposing the extension of gay rights across the survey more frequently identified themselves as poor, left-leaning, pensioners and Roman Catholics.[33]

In May 2015, PlanetRomeo, a LGBT social network, published its first Gay Happiness Index (GHI). Gay men from over 120 countries were asked about how they feel about society’s view on homosexuality, how do they experience the way they are treated by other people and how satisfied are they with their lives. The Czech Republic was ranked 18th, just above Austria and below Belgium, with a GHI score of 66.[34]

Living conditions

In contrast to the limitations of the communist era, the Czech Republic has become socially relatively liberal since the Velvet Revolution in 1989 and is one of the most gay-friendly countries in the European Union. This increasing tolerance is probably helped by the low levels of religious belief in the country, particularly when compared to its neighbours Poland, Austria and Slovakia.

There is a comparatively large gay community in Prague, less so in the rest of the country, with the capital acting as a magnet for the country’s gay youth. The city has a large and well-developed gay nightlife scene, particularly centred around the district of Vinohrady, with at least 20 bars and clubs and 4 saunas.[35][36][37] Gay venues are much more sparsely spread in other Czech towns however.[38][39][40]

Prague Pride Parade in August 2012

In 2012, Fundamental Rights Agency performed a survey on discrimination among 93,000 LGBT people across the European Union. Compared to the EU average, the Czech Republic showed relatively positive results. However, the outcomes also show that there is still large space for improvement of the LGBT rights. 43% of Czech respondents indicated that none or only few of their family members know about their sexual orientation. Only one in five respondents is open about their sexual orientation to all their colleagues or classmates. 71% of the respondents are selectively open about their orientation at work or school. 52% of gay men and 30% of lesbian women avoid holding hands in public outside of gay neighborhoods for fear of being assaulted, threatened or harassed.[41]

Public events

A participant of 2013 Prague Pride wearing a traditional Moravian costume (Hanakia) and a sign "Good day - Olomouc greets Prague"

Brno hosts an annual Gay and Lesbian Film festival known as Mezipatra with venues also in other cities. It has been held every November since 2000.[42]

In years 2008, 2009 and 2010, a queer festival took place in the country’s second largest city of Brno.[43] The first Prague Pride Parade took place in August 2011 with official support from the mayor and other politicians.[44] The event attracted some negative responses from religious-conservative groups and the far right.[45][46] The second Prague Pride Parade took place in August 2012 establishing the tradition of holding the gay pride parade in Prague annually.[47] However, a group of young Christians attempted to protest the parade with the support of the Catholic Archbishop of Prague, Dominik Duka.[48] Since 2014, the organizers banned any promotional activities of pedophiles at the venues connected with the Prague Pride after several pedophiles drew public attention the preceding year by distributing leaflets stating that "Pedophilia does not equal abuse of children".[49]

Late 2010 saw the introduction of the first officially produced gay guide and map for the Czech capital which was produced by the Prague Information Service, under the aegis of Prague City Council.[50]

Summary table

Same-sex sexual activity legal (Since 1962)
Equal age of consent (Since 1990)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment (Since 2009)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services (Since 2009)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) (Since 2009)
Recognition of same-sex unions (e.g. registered partnership) (Since 2006)
Same-sex marriage
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples (Pending)
Joint adoption by same-sex couples
Adoption by single LGBT persons (whether in a registered partnership or not) (Since 2016)
LGBT people allowed to serve openly in the military (Since 1999)
Right to change legal gender
Conversion therapy on minors banned
Access to IVF for lesbians
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples (Banned regardless of sexual orientation)
MSMs allowed to donate blood / (1 year deferral period)

See also


  1. State-sponsored Homophobia A world survey of laws criminalising same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults
  3. Gay Guide - Czech Republic
  4. Prague
  7. Gay marriage not likely in Czech Republic
  8. Czech Gay and Lesbian League upset about repeated rejection of same sex partnerships
  9. Czech MPs approve law on same-sex partnerships
  10. Bill on single sex partnerships makes it through both houses of Parliament
  11. Gay groups angered by president's veto of registered partnership bill
  12. Czech MPs approve gay rights law
  13. Nearly weds
  14. Same-sex registered partnerships to be introduced after deputies override presidential veto
  15. "Czech court lifts ban only on individual gay adoptions". Yahoo! News. 29 June 2016.
  16. "Judgment Pl. ÚS 7/15 – The simple fact that a person lives in a registered partnership should not be an obstacle to the adoption of a child". Ústavní Soud (Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic). 28 June 2016. Archived from the original on 29 July 2016.
  17. "Pouhá skutečnost, že osoba žije v registrovaném partnerství, nemůže být překážkou osvojení dítěte" (in Czech). Ústavní soud, Brno, TZ 69/2016. 2016-06-28. Retrieved 2016-07-04.
  18. IVF in the Czech Republic – what are the pros and cons?
  19. Czech Republic just took a big step forward for gay adoption rights
  20. 1 2 REPORT ON MEASURES TO COMBAT DISCRIMINATION Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC COUNTRY REPORT 2010 CZECH REPUBLIC Pavla Boučková State of affairs up to 1st January 2011
  21. Czech Republic becomes last EU state to adopt anti-discrimination law
  22. Rainbow Europe: Czech Republic
  23. 1 2 (Czech) Operační změnu pohlaví podstoupí v ČR ročně 50 až 60 lidí
  24. The Transgender Military Experience
  25. Gay Men's Health Crisis calls for Risk-Based Screening for Blood Donors at FDA Meeting
  26. Attitudes to gay rights in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia
  27. Eight EU Countries Back Same-Sex Marriage
  28. "Special Eurobarometer 437" (PDF). Eurobarometer. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 January 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  29. (Czech) Postoje veřejnosti k právům homosexuálů – červen 2016
  30. (Czech) Rajlichová, Eva; Kottová, Anna. "Manželství gayů a leseb podporují téměř dvě třetiny Čechů, ukázal průzkum". Český rozhlas. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  31. Tolerance in the Czech Republic
  32. The Global Divide on Homosexuality
  33. The Czechs on Gay Rights – the June 2014 CVVM Survey Visegrad Review
  34. The Gay Happiness Index. The very first worldwide country ranking, based on the input of 115,000 gay men Planet Romeo
  35. Prague's most comprehensive gay guide
  36. The Gay Side of Prague
  37. Prague’s Vital Gay Scene
  38. GayGuide.Net Brno Czech Republic
  39. Gay guide to Brno: GLBT friendly venues
  40. Queer Friendly Ostrawa
  41. LGBT Survey data explorer, Available online at:
  42. Mezipatra- Czech GLBT Film Festival
  43. Official website of the Queer Parade in Brno 2008
  44. Official website of Prague Pride
  45. Prague 'gay pride': Czech capital hosts maiden march
  46. Prague's first pride parade: A success amidst controversy
  47. Thousands march in Prague Pride parade
  48. Obama's Ambassador Tells Czech LGBT Activists: You Have Ally in USA CNS News
  49. (Czech) Ruce pryč od pedofilů. Homosexuálové je do svých řad nechtějí
  50. Prague debuts new map geared towards gay travelers: New York Times
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