The leading LGBT organisation in Austria is “Homosexuelle Initiative (HOSI) Wien” (based in Vienna) which is also the oldest organisation in Austria (www.hosiwien.at). It has a bi-monthly magazine, its own premises, does most of the political lobbying work, organises the annual Rainbow Ball and the Rainbow Parade as well as the huge LGBT pride parade that attracts 100,000 people every year in the streets of Vienna.
HOSI does not have an English version of its website.
Other Austrian cities with LGBT organizations are Linz: HOSI Linz (an independent organisation), and Graz: Rosa Lila PantherInnen.
Rechtskomitee LAMBDA (RKL) is another LGBT rights organisation in Austria. http://www.rklambda.at/e/index.htm
July 27, 2001 – South African Press Association
Austrian Bishop says gays die young
Salzburg – A Salzburg bishop’s assertion that "homosexuals have a 20 to 30 year lower life expectancy" caused a row in Austria on Thursday. Andreas Laun, number two bishop in the Salzburg Catholic church hierarchy, said in the magazine News that the shorter life span was due to "hepatitis, Aids, and other gay diseases".
A sexual relationship between a man and woman was different than one between men. Problems as a consequence were unavoidable, said Suffragan Bishop Laun.
‘Sexuality is private’
The Salzburg Social Democrats (SP) charged that Laun was "a millennium" behind the times. Spokesman David Brenner said: "Laun’s statements are the height of intolerance."
"His regular defamation and exclusion of ten per cent of our population has almost racist overtones. Sexuality is a private matter, and not one of the church whose sexual morals are stuck in the Middle Ages."
Laun was not aware of the fact that more heterosexuals than homosexuals infected themselves with Aids, added the SP spokesperson. Innsbruck theologian Hans Rotter, a Jesuit priest, told the Catholic church it should hold back from condemning legal recognition of homosexual partnerships. Homosexuals had suffered many injustices in history. "Unfortunately the Christian churches often made a very negative contribution," he said, according to the Catholic press agency Kathpress. ‘And what about gay clergymen?’
For instance, the churches had "mostly been silent" about the persecution of homosexuals by the Nazis, he said.
Greens MP Ulrike Lunacek referred to the Austrian church’s biggest scandal when Vienna archbishop Hans Hermann Groer resigned in 1995 following allegations of homosexual abuse.
"If Laun’s statements are right, Cardinal Groer should have been dead a long time ago," she said. "After all, he’s nearly 82 years old." Recently there was widespread anger about another remark by an influential Austrian bishop, Kurt Krenn of St Poelten Diocese. Rejecting church blessings for homosexual couples, he declared that "homosexuality is forbidden by God".
He quoted the New Testament as saying "indecency between men and men is really a deep sign of sin, reprehensible behaviour and unbelief". – Sapa-DPA
January 10, 2003 – Press release by the European Court of Human Rights:
The full text of the Court’s judgments:
European Court of Human Rights Condemns Austria for Persecution of Gay Men
"Significant emotional and psychological impact"
Platform Against Art. 209 calls for immediate rehabilitation and compensation of all victims With two judgments published yesterday the European Court of Human Rights condemned Austria for its years of criminal persecution of gay and bisexual men. The age of consent of 18 years for male same-sex relations, contained in former Art. 209 Criminal Code, violated fundamental human rights, the Strasbourg judges held unanimously. The Court with its judgments gave way to the applications of two gay men convicted to suspended prison terms under the anti-homosexual criminal law Art. 209 CC and to the application of a 17-year-old adolescent who asserted his right to sexual self-determination.
It found no justification for the special age-of-consent of 18 years for male homosexual relations, since on the one hand according to recent scientific evidence sexual orientation is fixed before puberty and on the other hand the majority of European states does not have such laws anymore. The Court specifically criticized the 1996 refusal of the Austrian parliament to lift Art. 209 despite the fact that its members, through the 1995 hearing of experts, already have been aware of the lack of justification for the law. Repeal of Art. 209 did not end discrimination Europe’s highest court in human rights affairs qualified discrimination of homo- and bisexuals as serious as discrimination on the basis of race, origin, colour and sex.
The judges thereby explicitly held that the repeal of the law from the books last year did not terminate discrimination since Austria never acknowledged Art. 209 and the criminal persecution based upon it as human rights violations and since Austria did not afford adequate redress for the victims. Also the Austrian Constitutional Court, the Court said, did not acknowledge let alone afforded redress for the violations of the Convention. Austria has to pay more than EUR 57.000,– just satisfaction to the three applicants. The two convicts have been awarded EUR 15.000,– each as redress for distress and humiliation suffered by the criminal proceedings, in particular, by the trial during which details of the applicant’s most intimate private life were laid open in public.
Those proceedings "have to be considered as profoundly destabilising events in the applicants’ lives which had and, it cannot be excluded, continue to have a significant emotional and psychological impact on each of them", the Court said. The 17-year-old adolescent, who always felt particularly attracted by men older than himself, has been awarded EUR 5.000,– as redress for "the fact that the applicant was prevented from entering into relations corresponding to his disposition until he reached the age of eighteen". In addition the Court awarded each of the applicants a contribution to their costs and expenses for legal representation.
Austrian government must act now Platform Against Art. 209, which already last June effected the repeal of Art. 209 CC by the Austrian Constitutional Court, now calls for immediate and comprehensive compensation and rehabilitation of all victims of Art. 209. Despite the repeal of the law last summer victims of Art. 209 have not been compensated and they are still registered in the nationwide registry of criminal offenders; non-final convictions still have been confirmed by appeals courts, mitigation of sentences been refused and prisoners been denied release. This despite the fact that persons jailed under Art. 209 CC are undoubtedly prisoners of conscience within the mandate of Amnesty International.
"We are calling upon the upcoming federal government of Austria to act immediately and to rehabilitate and compensate the victims of Art. 209", says Dr. Helmut Graupner, spokesperson for "Platform Against Art. 209" and attorney of the prisoner, "It is a disgraceful shame for our country that an Art. 209-prisoner-of-conscience even had to die in an institution for mentally abnormal offenders around last Christmas because a Vienna court persistently refused to release him after the repeal of Art. 209."
The interdenominational and supra-partisan Platform Against Article 209 comprises more than 30 organisations that joined in the fight against the discriminatory supplemental minimum age of 18 years for homosexual relationships between men only (in addition to the general age of consent of 14 for heterosexuals, lesbians and gays alike), as set forth in article Art. 209 of the Criminal Code.
Nearly all associations of the homosexual movement, but also general organizations are members of the Platform, like AIDS-help-organisations, the Ombudspersons for Children and Adolescents of the States of Vienna and Tyrol, the Austrian National Student Union, the National Association of Probation, the Austrian Society for Sexual Research, and many others more.
After the repeal of Art. 209 the Platform works for the release of all prisoners, for the deletion of all verdicts from criminal records and for just satisfaction of all victims of Art. 209. In addition it monitors the enforcement of the new Art. 209-substitute-provision, Art. 207b Criminal Code
23 August 2004 – Expatica
Gay couple mulls going to court over EU rights
Vienna – A same-sex couple may go to the European Court over being prevented from living in Austria, said the gay lobbying group Hosi on Monday. General Secretary Kurt Krickler said the couple, with one German and a US partner, had been married in the Netherlands. However, the marriage was not recognized by the Austrian state.
When the German man decided to move to Austria, his non-EU American partner was refused Austrian residence and working permits. "That’s a clear violation of EU law", said Krickler. He said that any EU citizen settling in another EU country had the right to bring along his or her married partner, even if the partner was a citizen of an outside country.
It was also forbidden by the EU Charter to discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation, and the European Human Rights Convention also guaranteed respect for private and family life, Krickler said. First the case would be taken to the Austrian Constitutional Court, said Krickler. In the event of a negative decision there, "we’re confident of getting justice either at the EU Court in Luxembourg, or at the latest at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg."
Krickler cautioned however that even a positive outcome of the courtcases "will not oblige Austria to introduce lesbian and homosexual marriages for its citizens".
by Maria Irod
From a Lesbian perspective: this is an approximate translation of the book written by the President of HOSIWien (the oldest LGBT organization in Austria) and published in Wien in the spring of 2002, by MILENA, a feminist publishing house.
The book is a collection of articles previously published in newspapers, between 1990 and 2002. Most of the texts appeared in LambdaNachrichten, HOSIWien’s newsletter, in a column titled just as the book: „Aus lesbicher Sicht”. An informative book that even our journalists, who believe that „the manifestation of homosexuality in art” begins with … t.A.T.u (National/9.09.2002), should read.
Helga Pankratz is a complex writer, whose many faces are reflected in these essays: the mature and experienced writer combines here with the politically committed journalist, a lucid and piercing observer of the Austrian (and not only) contemporary world.
The texts approach various subjects such as the merits of the feminist movement in GDR (unfairly minimalized in the West), the „don’t ask, don’t tell” policy applied to the gay soldiers in the American army, another way of reading Freud or… the reform of German spelling. Always well informed, often funny, the articles written by Helga Pankratz make a delightful, refreshing reading for any honest intellectual. These texts are written from the perspective of an avowed enemy of clichés and lack of sense. The author pleads for more culture, more accuracy and subtlety of thought, more courage in expressing opinions.
When assumed with dignity, as a fact that goes without saying and does not need any justification, lesbianism is the engine that maintains a vigilant critical spirit. And this criticism can only be impartial; it is directed equally to the „outside” world and the community itself.
The writer analyses both the heterosexism of the media, the mechanism by which women are marginalised within the gay emancipation movement, and the feminist exaggerations in the „politically correct” language. The author’s plea for common sense appears the more convincing as it is supported by a vigorous literary talent. Puns and subtle irony reveal more than the conclusions of any press monitoring report would.
As a matter of fact, Helga Pankratz conducts here a special kind of activism, promoting in a most efficient way the overdebated visibility of lesbians. Judith Butler’s apprehension, i.e., that female homosexuality will be considered unthinkable and unnameable and, therefore, silenced, is confronted with the most adequate weapon: the written word. A lesbian who writes so well cannot be silenced. The very cultural product she shapes certifies her existence.
April 2005 – Passport Magazine
Vienna’s Annual Life Ball–one of Europe’s largest AIDS charity events
by Robert Sandberg
The Life Ball in Vienna, Austria is one of Europe’s largest AIDS charity events. It is also a renowned society extravaganza that celebrates the open-mindedness and diversity of the world. Life Ball (www.lifeball.org) is organized by AidsLife, an independent non-profit organization that raises funds to help people living with HIV and AIDS.
The entire net proceeds of the annual event are donated to nonprofit HIV/AIDS groups. Since 2001, Life Ball has been working with the Elton John Aids Foundation (www.ejaf.org) to fight AIDS in countries around the world. To underscore his personal commitment, Sir Elton John has participated in Life Ball each year since 2001.
The 13th Life Ball will take place on May 21, 2005 at the historic Vienna City Hall and will feature a special fashion show by Versace, with a personal appearance by Donatella Versace.
The opening of the evening takes place outside on City Hall Square in front of the impressive backdrop of the historic building. It is open to the public, thus enabling 35,000 Viennese, the international media, and visitors from around the world to witness the spectacle live and for free.
After the fashion show, the opulent Life Ball party begins inside the Vienna City Hall. Open exclusively to 4,000 holders of Life Ball tickets, all halls and courtyards of the building are being transformed into richly decorated ballrooms and dance floors.
With the support of Versace, Life Ball hopes to top last year’s net proceeds of 907,000 Euro. "We are extremely excited to be working with Aids Life and participating in Life Ball 2005," says Donatella Versace. "As the largest aids fundraising event in Europe, the awareness created through Life Ball is extraordinary and essential. We are eager to add a new look and a new excitement to the event and can’t wait to reach our goal of raising more than one million Euro. It’s going to be an amazing night!"
May 27, 2005 – Associated Press
Austria ordered to pay damages over law discriminating against gays
Strasbourg, France – The European Court of Human Rights granted an Austrian man thousands of euros (dollars) in damages after he was convicted of committing homosexual acts with adolescents on the basis of a law that was found unconstitutional.
Thomas Wolfmeyer, 37, was sentenced in 2000 to six months’ imprisonment, suspended on probation, after a regional Austrian court found he had performed homosexual acts with two under-18 males. In 2002, Austria’s highest court held that the law under which Wolfmeyer was convicted was unconstitutional as it allowed homosexual acts from the age of 18, while the age of consent for heterosexuals was 14.
Wolfmeyer then requested the reimbursement of his defense costs, but an appeals court found the law provided only a maximum amount of euro1,091 (US$1,366) could be reimbursed. Wolfmeyer appealed to the Strasbourg court, which ordered Austria to pay him euro10,000 ($12,523) in damages and euro18,000 ($22,541) in defense costs and expenses.
" The European Court of Human Rights noted that the applicant had had to stand trial and was convicted. In such circumstances, it was inconceivable that an acquittal without any compensation for damages and accompanied by the reimbursement of a minor part of the necessary defense costs could have provided adequate redress,’’ the court said in a statement.
June 16, 2005 – The Advocate
Vienna to dedicate memorial to gay victims of the Nazis
Associated Press – The Austrian capital unveiled plans Wednesday to honor gay victims of the Nazis, organizing a competition to design a memorial for a group of victims often overlooked in accounts of World War II atrocities.
Vienna’s top official in charge of culture, Andreas Mailath-Pokorny, said that like other groups who were targeted, this group of victims should be remembered in a year marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. "It is critical in this…year to remember this group of victims, who were not only forgotten…but even prosecuted," Mailath-Pokorny said, referring to laws in postwar Austria that forbade homosexual behavior. Such laws made it even more difficult for gays to stand up and make others take notice of what occurred to them during the war.
The work will be placed at the site of the city’s former Gestapo headquarters, which activists had long considered a focal point of outrage against Nazi persecution. City cultural officials plan a competition among eight artists for the task of designing the memorial, which will have to incorporate an existing memorial to all victims of the Gestapo already at the site, known as Morzinplatz.
Artists who have been invited to take part include AA Bronson of Canada, Matt Mullican of the United States, and Ann-Sofi Siden of Sweden as well as Ines Doujak and Hans Kupelwieser of Austria. The Nazis killed Jews, Gypsies, gays, and others whom Adolf Hitler deemed not fit to live. (AP)
December 16, 2005 – 365Gay.com
Czech Republic, Austria Move To Legalize Gay Unions
by Malcolm Thornberry
Prague – A bill to create a domestic partner registry for gay and lesbian couples passed the lower house of the Czech Republic on Friday. The legislation would give same-sex couples many of the same rights as marriage, including inheritance and the ability to make health care decisions for ailing partners. It does not, however, permit same-sex couples to adopt children.
Eighty-six of the 147 deputies present voted in favor of the draft, 54 were against and seven abstained from the vote.
Most of the deputies for the Social Democrats and Communists voted in favor of the draft, while Christian Democrats and deputies of the center-right Civic Democratic Party opposed it.
Parliament turned down similar proposals five times in the past. It was rejected by a majority of just one vote in the last vote on the issue in February.The draft still needs approval by the Senate and the president to become valid.
If enacted, the legislation would allow couples who register their partnership with authorities to have rights to inheritance and health care that are similar to those granted now to heterosexual married couples. " Our ideas (about same-sex partnership) are much wider than the draft, but this is an acceptable compromise," said Jiri Hromada a leading Czech gay activist.
Meanwhile, in Vienna on Friday, Austria’s justice minister announced that he is considering legislation to grant limited recognition of same-sex couples.
Justice Minister Karin Gastinger, a member of the center-right Alliance for the Future of Austria, told the Austria Press Agency in an interview that gay and lesbian couples would be able to sign a registry and get rights to partners’ estates and medical care.
Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel’s conservative Austrian People’s Party is in a coalition with the Alliance. It is unclear with Schuessel supports the move.
Next week the first same-sex couples in the United Kingdom will begin exchanging vows under Britain’s new civil partnership law.
Thursday, Latvia became the first European country to amend its constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
15 May 2006 – AFP
‘Queer’ memorial for WWII gays approved
Vienna authorities announced plans Monday to erect a pink memorial next year to commemorate homosexuals persecuted by the Nazis during World War II.
The planned memorial at the city centre’s Morzinplatz will consist of a sculpture and a shallow pool filled with pink-coloured water, its creator Hans Kupelwieser said Monday at the presentation of the €310 000 ($400 000) project.
The basin will be inscribed with the word "Que(e)r" — a reference to both the English term for homosexual and transgender people and the German "quer," from "Querdenker" or lateral thinker, Kupelwieser added.
The memorial’s location puts it on the route of the annual Rainbow Parade and at the site of the former Gestapo headquarters. A memorial to the victims of fascism stands nearby.
Kupelwieser’s design was selected by the city council and homosexual and transgender groups following a competition last year.
Although certain details, such as what should be done with the fountain in winter, still need to be ironed out, the memorial has gained widespread support from homosexual and transgender organisations and the Roman Catholic Church.
"This memorial should help us find a place in our thoughts for those who were persecuted," said Joop Roeland, rector of the Ruprechtskirche church which stands next to the site of the planned fountain.
January 16, 2007 – 247gay.com
European Transgender Groups Unite
A new coalition of European Transgender and Transsexual Groups, TransGender Europe, has received recognition by the Austrian authorities this week. The initiative brings together 66 transgender organizations from 21 countries, after they agreed to join together when meeting in Vienna last year, for the first-ever European TransGender Council.
High on the list of priorities for the new organization are the promotion of the human rights of transgender people – especially with regards to the legal recognition of the gender of trans people in the gender they live in, as well as non-discrimination in all aspects of life, equal access to Healthcare, and social acceptance.
“This is a major milestone towards the recognition of the rights of transgender people,” says Justus Eisfeld, chairperson of the new organization. Now TransGender Europe can apply for funding and make our voices heard on an international level,” says Eisfeld. In most European countries there are strict limitations to changing one’s legal gender.
Many countries require obligatory sterilization, while other countries such as Ireland don’t allow a legal gender change at all. The UK is the only country in Europe where the law does not require extensive physical treatments before recognising the gender role a person is living in. Transgender people in Europe frequently face prejudice and discrimination at home, in the streets and at work.
Equal access to healthcare is a major problem for transgender people, as health professionals, including psychologists and family practitioners, are often unaware of the problems transgender people face. The possibilities for gender reassignment are limited and often not (adequately) covered by public health insurance in some countries, such as Belgium. A recent study undertaken by academics at Manchester Metropolitan University with over 800 trans people shows that for 1 in 5 trans people, the family doctors did not want to help, and in 1 in 18 cases the doctor actually refused to help.
About 1.5% of the Dutch population claimed in a recent large-scale representative study by the Rutgers-Nisso Groep that they identify more the other than the gender assigned at their birth, whilst almost 3% of the male population of the Netherlands identify as cross-dressers. TransGender Europe’s planned activities for 2007 include the Second European TransGender Council in the autumn and research into the law and living conditions of transgender people in Europe.
Transgender Europe – Network and Council uses the term transgender in the broadest sense, to include transsexual, transvestite, and transgender people such as drag queens, cross-dressers and other people who feel that they don’t belong in the strict binary gender system. For more, visit www.tgeu.net.
10th July 2007 – PinkNews
Vienna court acquits gay rights activists of libel
by Lydia Malmedie
Two activists from a gay rights organisation based in Vienna were fully acquitted in their appeal against a court ruling yesterday. The chairman of the Homosexual Initiative (HOSI), Christian Högl, and general-secretary Kurt Krickler, had been accused of libel by a Member of Parliament from the Christian-Conservative Party, Walter Tancsits. The accused had lost a previous trial and were ordered to reimburse the MP an April court ruling. What appeared to be a free speech issue to the activists was viewed by the politician as libel. In 2005 Kurt Krickler accused the MP of upholding Nazi ideology. A HOSI press release criticised the Christian-Conservative Party’s refusal to include homosexuals in a law on the reimbursement of Nazi-regime.
"It is a shame for our country that even today brown Nazi apologists like Mr Tancsits are allowed to be a member of parliament," Mr Krickler said in a 2005 press release. It seems as if the court’s delay in dealing with the case has influenced the outcome. The court yesterday explicitly referred recent judgement of the European Court of Human Rights.
This explains why the activists have been acquitted by the same court that had found them guilty two years before. The libel case might also be taken up by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg itself as Mr Tancsits announced that he is going to appeal yesterday’s court ruling.
Re: Austrian Anti-Gay Criminal Code Article 209–Supreme Court still blocks relief from unfair law
Rechtskomitee LAMBDA (RKL) supports applications to the European Court of Human Rights
Today it is five years that the last anti-homosexual criminal statute has been deleted from the books. Exactly on the day of this anniversary the Supreme Court delivered a judgment as sensational for protection of human rights in general as it seems cynical for victims of Art. 209.
While in future all victims of human rights violations by the judiciary will be entitled to address the Supreme Court directly, this still is not the case for Art. 209-victims. Their convictions remain registered in the nationwide Registry of Convictions stigmatising the victims for years to come.
Rechtskomitee LAMBDA (RKL) supports applications to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Art. 209 Criminal Code, which established a higher minimum age for gay sex of 18 as compared to 14 for heterosexual and lesbian sex, had been repealed by 14.08.2002. Exactly five years later the Supreme Court now delivered a judgment with an utmost cynical effect to the victims of Art. 209.
The applicant before the Supreme Court in 1997 had been convicted three times to imprisonment under the infamous Art. 209 Criminal Code (CC). One of these convictions he challenged in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The ECHR (also in this case) found Art. 209 and the conviction based on it to constitute severe violations of human rights and condemned Austria (G.B. & H.G. vs. Austria, 02.06.2005).
On the basis of this judgment the domestic proceedings had been reopened and the man has been acquitted. The other Art. 209-convictions however still are not just standing, but even in addition registered in the national Registry of Convictions. The Ministry of Justice refused a pardon. The man therefore applied to the Minister of Interior which is the competent authority for matters of the national Registry of Convictions for, at least, a deletion of this Art. 209-conviction from the Registry.
He by this explicitly did not ask to set aside the conviction or to eliminate it from jurisdiction. He just asked for an end to the continuing storage of the conviction by the police and the transfer of this data to the Courts and other authorities.
Nevertheless the Constitutional Court confirmed the case by saying that "it cannot be the business of the Registry’s authorities to decide if and in how far certain convictions be eliminated from jurisdiction" . Only a court could establish that a court-decision violated human rights (VfGH 04.10.2006, B 742/06).
Art. 209-victims achieve a historic judgment and are left over The convict then applied to the Supreme Court for a renewal of the criminal proceedings, as the ECHR repeatedly held that Art. 209 and convictions based on it violated human rights. The Procurator General ("Generalprokuratur ") opposed those applications because the man did not challenge his convictions before the ECHR. The Supreme Court rejected that position of the Procurator General and basically agreed with the applicant.
In its landmark judgment it held –thereby transcending the wording of the law – that victims of human rights violations by the judiciary can always apply to the Supreme Court for a renewal of their proceedings; even if they did not achieve a conviction of Austria by the ECHR, and even if there is not yet case-law of the ECHR on a specific issue (OGH 01.08.2007, 13 Os 135/06m).
So the victims of Art. 209 did achieve a historic extension of protection for all victims of human rights violations; nevertheless they themselves are left over. Because the Supreme Court excluded the new remedy for violations more then 6 months in the past. So Art. 209-convictions remain registered in the nationwide Registry of Convictions stigmatising the victims for years to come. Just recently the Upper Regional Court of Vienna, confirmed heavier punishment due to a criminal record according to Art. 209 (03.05.2005, 19 Bs 117/05b) and refused parole on the basis of prior convictions under Art. 209 (13.06.2006, 20 Bs 155/06z), saying that Art. 209 might have violated the equality clause but "did not lack general moral understanding" (13.06.2006, 20 Bs 155/06z). A first application to the ECHR against the continued storage of Art. 209 convictions in the nationwide Registry of Convictions has already been filed (E.B. vs. Austria, appl. 31913/07).
Others will follow. "It is really sad that the European Court of Human Rights again has to be confronted with still undead Austrian anti-homosexual criminal legislation" , says Dr. Helmut Graupner, president of the Austrian lesbian and gay rights organization Rechtskomitee LAMBDA (RKL) and counsel of the victims of Art. 209.
"Federal parliament could prevent this repeated shame for our country but RKL-advisory- board’s member Terezija Stoisits’ bill for an Amnesty-, Rehabilitation- and Compensation Act still has not been dealt with there for two years now."
Rechtskomitee LAMBDA (RKL), founded in 1991, on a supra-partisan and denominational level is working for the implementation of human rights for homo- and bisexual men and women. In its honorary board it convenes so prominent members as Prime Minister Dr. Alfred Gusenbauer, President of Federal Parliament Mag. Barbara Prammer, former Minister of Justice Mag. Karin Gastinger, former President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Peter Schieder, Federal Ombudsman Mag. Terezija Stoisits, Director of Public Security Dr. Erik Buxbaum, the President of National Juges Association Dr. Barbara Helige, the Vice-President of the Vienna Bar-Association Dr. Elisabeth Rech, the President of D.A.S.-legal expenses insurance company Dr. Franz Kronsteiner, the President of Weisser Ring Dr. Udo Jesionek, the Secretary General of Amnesty International Austria Mag. Heinz Patzelt and the well-known human-rights experts Dr. Lilian Hofmeister and Univ.-Prof. Dr. Manfred Nowak, the constitutional law professors Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Brünner, Univ-Prof. Dr. Bernd-Christian Funk, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Heinz Mayer and Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ewald Wiederin, famous child- and adolescent psychiatrist Univ.-Prof. Dr. Max Friedrich and the Vienna Child- and Youth-Ombudspersons DSA Monika Pinterits and Dr. Anton Schmid, sexologists Univ.-Prof. Dr. Josef Christian Aigner, Prof. Dr. Rotraud Perner and Mag. Johannes Wahala, theologist Univ.-Prof. Dr. Kurt Lüthi, Life-Ball-Organisor Gery Keszler, Entertainer Günter Tolar and many more. October 2nd, 2006, RKL’s 15 years anniversary has been celebrated in historic Ceremonial Act "Against Sexual Apartheid" in the lower chamber of Austrian federal parliament. This first honouring of an lgbt organisation in a national parliament worldwide took place in attendance of over 500 guests including highest representatives from the judiciary, administration and politics.
24th October 2007 – PinkNews
Austrian government plans registered gay partnerships
by PinkNews.co.uk writer
Austria’s Justice minister today released draft legislation that will grant lesbian and gay couples the right to register their relationships. The proposed "registered partnerships" will be put before the country’s Parliament by the end of this year. The Social Democrats (SPÖ) won the most seats in the January 2007 election but not enough to rule outright. They entered into a "grand coalition" with the conservative ÖVP, or People’s Party. SPÖ Justice minister Maria Berger’s proposed new partnerships law will be considered by a bipartisan working group. The People’s Party announced earlier this month that it would support civil unions similar to those in Switzerland.
Ms Berger said that her proposals were separate from marriage, though registered partners will share many of the rights of married couples. Austria has provided co-habiting same-sex couples the same rights as co-habiting straight couples since 2003, following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights Adoption rights will not be extended to gay couples in today’s proposals.
Predominantly Roman Catholic, Austria has an equal age of consent and gay people are allowed to serve in the military. Before today it was the only one of the 15 pre-enlargement EU nations not to have moved towards some legal form of recognition of same-sex partners.
5th March 2008 – PinkNews
Homophobia to be tackled at Euro 2008
by PinkNews.co.uk staff writer
An LGBT rights organisation in Austria will display posters around Vienna tackling the subject of homophobia during the UEFA European Football Championship later this year. Switzerland and Austria will co-host the tournament from June 7th to 29th. None of the UK home nations qualified. QWIEN, which is based in Vienna, has announced a Europe-wide competition to design the posters. 50 designs will be displayed at a venue in the city during the tournament. Vienna will host three home games, two quarter-finals, a semi-final and the final. The posters will stay up until after Vienna’s Rainbow Parade on July 12th.
"According to statistics five percent of the total population is gay," QWIEN said in a statement on their website. As a result therefore, of the 500 professional players in the Austrian football league, 25 should be gay professional kickers. However, there is not one gay professional player in Austria, not a single player who openly admits his homosexuality. Football is the last bastion, where the clichés about "real men" can be lived out, on the field as well in the fan sections. Bad play is termed "feminine", and feminine behaviour is not welcome, is put down, segregated, and this form of behaviour leads to sexism and homophobia. Hesitant or poor players are referred to as "sissies" or "faggots" and the opponents berated as "fags", with defensive play commonly ending up in "limp-wristed" passes. This kind of outright macho behaviour is common practice and not only in Austrian stadiums. Qwien Kultur will put a focus on city life, in that it is making a theme out of homophobia in football. By issuing a Europe-wide poster competition we are making an otherwise taboo topic public during the period of Euro 2008."
All poster submissions must reach Qwien Kultur by the end of May. A pre-selection jury will select the best 50, after which a jury of well-known experts will decide on the best three. The best 50 posters will be exhibited in a public venue. Click here for more information.
June 12, 2008- From: Rainbow Pride Vienna
Special Gay Pride tourist package from 123Tourismus
Vienna’s annual Rainbow Parade circles the grand boulevards of the Ringstrasse in a demonstration of gay pride, attracting around 100,000 revellers, with numerous floats blasting out classical music and the obligatory banging techno. The parade route takes in the grand architecture of the Stock Exchange, Vienna University, City Hall and Parliament, leading to the Imperial Palace, where the Rainbow Celebration then gets under way at the Heldenplatz. Vienna’s trams carry rainbow flags in the month running up to the parade, bearing the motto
The Austrian Agency 123Tourismus has created special pride-packages for tourists who want to be part of the Rainbow Pride. Selected Hotels within the gay area starting with 3-Star-Hotels from € 69 per night double room up to luxury 5-Star-Hotels right in the heart of Vienna starting from € 139 per night double room. Brand new is also the Gay City Walk for only € 9 per person. Learn more of Viennas gay history: Prince Eugene & gay Habsburgs is just one of the interesting topics. Plus other topics: Homosexuality and Science, Homosexual Men in Cultural and Everyday Life, Furthermore 123Tourismus came up with the idea of the GGP – the Gay Goodie Package–everyone who books his stay or the Gay City Walk through 123Tourism gets the Gay Goode Package right at the check-in at the hotel; it includes a Gay City Map, Queer Guide Vienna and a little surprise gift.
October 23, 2008 – PinkNews
Leader of Austrian right sacked for revealing Haider was his gay lover
by Tony Grew
The man who had taken over the leadership of right wing political party Alliance for the Future of Austria after the death of Joerg Haider has revealed that they were lovers. Stefan Petzner, 27, said in a radio interview about Mr Haider’s death last week in a car accident: "We had a relationship that went far beyond friendship. Joerg and I were connected by something truly special. He was the man of my life."
He also claimed that Haider’s widow, Claudia "loved him as a woman. He loved her as a man. I loved him in a completely different and personal way. She understood that." Mr Petzner has been forced to stand down from the leadership and will serve as deputy leader. The revelation that Mr Haider, 58, was having sex with his young protege has shocked Austria’s fascists. Joerg Haider had never been open about his homosexuality.
The German and Austrian press outed the married father of two daughters in 2006. His fascist political views led him to high office in Austria, despite his open praise for Nazi policies. Mr Haider died in a car accident two weeks ago near Klagenfurt, less than 30 minutes after leaving the Stadtkraemer, a well-known gay hangout. It is reported that he had an argument with Mr Petzner at an event earlier in the evening and went to the bar, where he drank vodka with a group of escorts.
Prosecutors have confirmed there was four times the legal limit for alcohol in his blood and he was driving at twice the legal speed limit when he crashed his VW Phaeton. Mr Haider was the Governor of the state of Carinthia.
December 2008 – ilga.org
The only worldwide federation campaigning for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights. Since 1978
24th world conference in Vienna
ILGA pursues its 30 year-long dialogue with the international LGBTI movement
Created in 1978 as IGA, the International Gay Association, the organisation known for the last 22 years as ILGA, the International Lesbian and Gay Association will be known from…
LGBTI rights in the world
ILGA celebrates its 30th anniversary: in 2008, join us and celebrate our world movement!
Founded in 1978, ILGA, the International Lesbian and Gay Association, is now a federation of over 600 groups in over 90 countries campaigning for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and…
Copenhagen 2009 World Outgames
Outreach/Scholarship Support Program
The World Outgames 2009 takes place from 25 July – 2 August 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. World Outgames 2009, with its varied programs of sports, culture,…
United Nations – Ecosoc Campaign
Defeat for Discrimination, Victory for Inclusion: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Groups Gain Consultative Status
(New York, July 23, 2008) – The decision by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) granting consultative status to two groups that work on sexual…
8th Session of UN Human Rights Council
State Sponsored Homophobia is a recent historical mistake deemed to disappear
Agenda Item 8. Follow up and implementation of the Vienna declaration and Programme of Action Stephen Barris, Monday June 16, 2008. …
December, 2008 –Passport Magazine
Keep a cup of Glühwein, mulled wine, in your hands
by Anja Tranovich
Vienna – Keep a cup of Glühwein, mulled wine, in your hands for warmth this season as you romp through the 21 Advent markets in Vienna beneath garlands of flickering lights on Kärntner Strasse and Graben, Vienna’s main shopping thoroughfares. More than 10,000 liters of the spiced drink or, if you’d rather, punch (berry, orange, and even jelly bean are some of the flavor offerings), are sold every day to help warm December visitors to this imperial city.
The Krippenmarkt or Vienna Christmas Market in front of City Hall (www.christkindlmarkt.at) is the largest and oldest of the markets and dates back to the 13th century. One hundred and forty stalls attract some three million visitors each year in search of one-of-a-kind baubles, candles, all manner of toys, and the ubiquitous gingerbread.
To find gifts for the trendsetters in your life try Kabine in the Karmeliter district, a maze of narrow streets where young local designers display their wares: everything from sleek, small label jackets to t-shirts and hanging sculpture. The nearby MuseumsQuartier also holds a modern holiday design mart that brings beats to the Yuletide with a variety of DJs spinning daily in the inner courtyard. The Lomo Shop here is an international favorite, carrying cult cameras and a range of unique and utilitarian gifts.
From the MuseumsQuartier it’s only a few blocks south to Linke Wienzeile, the center of the LGBT scene, and a street with gay bars, clubs, and restaurants. The Café Conquer Standard here serves classic traditional Austrian holiday cuisine like Wiener Schnitzel (breaded, fried veal) and Knödel (rich dumplings).
In the inner city of Vienna, the grand Imperial Palaces of the Habsburg emperors are open for the holiday season and decorated in Christmas ornamentation befitting a ruling house of Europe (www.hofburg-wien.at). Watch some of the best 10- to 14-year-old singers in the world when the famous Vienna Boys Choir (www.wsk.at) performs in the ornate Hofburgkapelle Chapel on December 24 and 25. If you can get a ticket, glam up for the Imperial Ball at the Hofburg Palace on December 31 (www.hofburg.com).
Vienna wraps up the winter celebrations with a thumping street party on New Year’s Eve. A dozen stages showcase free music and entertainment beginning in the afternoon and crowds of dancers warm each other up long into the night. When the Pummerin, Austria’s largest bell, rings to officially welcome 2009, grab a partner for the Blue Danube Waltz, the customary first dance of the New Year.
March 31, 2009 – AustrianTimes.at
Liberal Austria tolerant of homosexuality
Austrians view homosexual adoption of children and homosexual marriage more positively than people in most other EU member states.
Forty-four per cent of Austrians approve of homosexual couples’ adoption of children, according to the latest report about the social situation of gays and Lesbians by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
The Dutch are the most positive (69 per cent), followed by the Swedes (51 per cent). The EU average is 31 per cent.
Forty-nine per cent of Austrians approve of homosexual marriage. The Dutch are the most positive about it (82 per cent), followed by the Swedes (71 per cent) and the Danes (69 per cent). The EU average is 42 per cent.
Austrians are below average, however, when it comes to the question of living next door to a homosexual. Austria has 7.4 points on a scale from one to ten in that regard, compared to the EU average of 7.9 points.
Morten Kjaerum, the head of the Vienna FRA office, said today (Tues) there were still "alarming phenomena" in regard to discrimination and violence against homosexuals in the European Union and the law banning discrimination against them had too many loopholes.
November 18, 2009 – PinkNews
Austria allows civil partnerships but gay adoption ban stays
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
Austria’s government has agreed to legalise civil partnerships for gay couples. The law will come into force on January 1st 2010 if it is approved by parliament. However, it reiterates the ban on gay couples adopting children or using IVF and artificial insemination. Instead, benefits granted include rights to social security claims, inheritance and court trials. Civil partnerships will not grant all of the rights available to heterosexual people.
Gay couples will not be able to hold their ceremonies at civil registry offices, as heterosexual couples do. Instead, they will have to register at the municipal office or the magistrate’s office. Minister for women’s affairs Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek, had pushed for gay couples to be allowed to register in the same way heterosexuals do. According to AFP, she said the law was an "unfinished document."