Despite the fact that we are already living in the 21st century, homosexuality is still a topic that people prefer to avoid and not talk about. For the past 25 years, the European Union has been a driving force behind equality for LGBT people. Despite this, LGBT people in some places still do not have the same rights as other people around the world. Everyone should be able to be proud of who they are and who they love. But what even is homosexuality?
»Homosexuality« is composed of the Greek word »homos« meaning »the same« and the Latin root »sex«. Homosexuality is a sexual orientation, a sexual inclination towards persons of the same sex.
»Coming out of the closet« is an expression or way with which LGBT individuals express their sexual orientation and/or gender identity to family, relatives, and friends, which is in most cases the most difficult and dangerous event of their life.
Even before the introduction of the name LGBT, the community existed regardless of space and time. The earliest examples are, for example, statues found in the Neolithic, which depicted the »third sex«, with mixed genitalia, and many times in antiquity graves were found in which clothes and accessories did not correspond to the biological sex, which led historians to conclude that these people were transgender.
The first records of same-sex relationships come from ancient Greece, where relationships between older and younger men were commonplace. The first same-sex marriage took place in the Roman Empire during the reign of Caesar Augustus. Homosexuality was first criminalized in Europe in the 7th century, but it was decriminalized in 1881 in the Netherlands. The word gay can be traced back to the 20’s of the last century, although it only became popular in the 60’s.
The Stonewall Rebellion is the name given to several spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the LGBT community that occurred in response to police raids on the morning of June 28, 1969, at the gay bar Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, New York. This represents the single most important event in history that led to the organized gay and lesbian movement and the fight for the rights of the LGBT community in the United States.
June is a month to celebrate diversity and promote equality for the LGBTQ+ community. Pride Month commemorates the Stonewall Rebellion. The Pride Parade is an event that takes place every June and celebrates the social and self-acceptance, achievements, legal rights and pride of the LGBT community. They are also demonstrations against the systematic persecution of sexual minorities, and serve as a warning against discrimination against homosexuals.
Eastern Europe has fewer legal rights and protections, worse living conditions and less supportive public opinion for LGBT people than Western Europe. All European countries that allow marriage also allow joint adoption by same-sex couples. In 2013, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights presented the results of a survey that showed that LGBTI people in the EU are victims of discrimination, harassment, hate speech and violence, as a result of which they cannot fully enjoy their fundamental rights.
To sum up, regardless of how we identify, what we look like and who we love, we should all be equal and should have the same rights and the same laws. Despite the fact that the LGBT community has always been among us and continues to expand, the LGBT community in the EU and around the world still does not have the same opportunities as the rest, with a few exceptions, of course. We must be more tolerant, open, empathetic and accepting of others, especially those who do not know them and their story.
Written by: Ajda Jamnik