Latvia, Europe

In 1992, soon after Latvia regained independence from the USSR, homosexuality was decriminalised. The age of consent is 14 for those under 18, 16 for those over 18 regardless of gender and/or sexuality. In September 2006, Latvia's parliament, the Saeima, passed amendments to the Labour Code prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in workplace. The Saemia had initially omitted such protection, but President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga refused to sign the bill until it was added. At the time, Latvia was the last country in the European Union to introduce anti-discrimination laws dealing with sexual orientation. Only in the capital, Riga, is there a small gay scene. Elsewhere in Latvia, however, the sparse population means there is no gay scene. There are only few people who openly recognize themselves being gay or lesbian. Due to prevailing negative attitudes in society, and particularly the violent actions of a vocal anti-LGBT minority (e.g. National Power Unity), there is a fear that further lobbying for the rights of sexual minorities will provoke an even stronger backlash. Nevertheless, Pride took place in 2007; in contrast with the counterprotestors who greatly outnumbered Pride attendees in 2005, and the banning of Pride ceremonies in 2006, the 2007 Pride was peaceable and the 500 pridegoers outnumbered around 100 counterprotestors.



Latvia elects Edgars Rinkevics as president – the first openly gay head of state in Europe

Latvia has elected a new president – making history the first openly gay head of state in Europe. The country’s parliament elected Edgars Rinkēvičs to be its next president, Reuters reported prime minister Krišjānis Kariņš saying. Rinkēvičs has spent a long time in Latvian politics, serving as the country’s minister of foreign affairs since 2011,… Read more »

Openly Gay Paramedic Burned Alive In Alleged Homophobic Attack

Latvian paramedic, Normunds Kindzulis, has died after allegedly being set ablaze by a homophobic neighbour, reports Out. Early on April 22, Kindzulis’ housemate Artis Jaunklavins, woke up to the sound of screams outside their apartment, discovering Kindzulis fully engulfed in flames at their front door. Jaunklavins says he suffered burns himself trying to extinguish the… Read more »

Latvian president condemns homophobe who set two gay men on fire

In Latvia, two men were set alight in a suspected homophobic hate crime – exposing the fault lines in a republic that resists recognising LGBT+ people. According to local newswires, a scuffle allegedly broke out between a homophobic man and two men living in the same apartment block in Tukums, a historic town of red-brick… Read more »

Why Are HIV Rates on the Rise Among Europe’s Older Adults?

New research published this week in the “Lancet” shows a sharp upward trend in HIV diagnosis rates among adults over 50 in Europe. What explains this alarming increases, and how can we reduce transmission risk? Conducted by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the study examined the diagnoses rates of 31 European countries… Read more »

Latvia urged to protect EuroPride participants against violence

Amnesty International has urged the Latvian government to commit to protect the participants of this year’s EuroPride. The event will take place on 20 June in Riga, and despite organisers saying authorities have been cooperative, the government has not been openly supportive. Last December, Latvian President Andris Berzins said: “Homosexuality should not be advertised and… Read more »

A minister comes out

When Edgars Rinkevics, Latvia’s foreign minister, came out as gay last week, he had a good sense of the political and cultural minefield he was stepping into. “All hell is likely to break loose, but #proudtobegay”, his Latvian coming-out tweet concluded. The English-language version was shorter, and actually featured a typo. It was far less… Read more »

Latvian Foreign Minister Comes Out In A Tweet: ‘I Proudly Announce I Am Gay’

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics apparently came out of the closet in a single, sunny tweet on Thursday. His announcement — which is particularly astonishing given Eastern Europe’s conservative, and largely anti-gay, political environment — has made Rinkevics “the highest-profile gay man” in the region, noted Mediaite. A constitutional ban on same-sex marriage has been… Read more »

East Europe Gays,Lesbians March in Show of Pride

Warsaw, Poland (AP) – Hundreds of gays, lesbians and their supporters marched Saturday through the capitals of Poland and Latvia, demanding more rights in Eastern European societies where they still face high levels of intolerance. The parades were supported by the governments of the United States and other Western countries who are pushing for an… Read more »

Baltic Pride in Latvia will not be banned

Gay rights campaigners hail decision not to ban pride event in Riga as a ‘sign of change’ Authorities in Latvia say they will not ban Baltic Pride, despite a crackdown on LGBT rights and attacks on marches across eastern Europe. Riga City Council has told organizers that the Mozaika pride march on 2 June poses… Read more »

Gay Latvia News & Reports 2009-11

1 Riga bans Baltic Pride 5/09 2 Former Latvian priest: ‘Since coming to London I’ve forgotten I am gay’ 4/11 3 Inside Latvia’s Gay Rights Battle 7/11 May 14, 2009 – PinkNews 1 Riga bans Baltic Pride by Staff Writer, The planned Baltic Pride march due to take place on Saturday in Riga, Latvia,… Read more »

Gay Latvia News & Reports 2007-08

1 Latvian Homophobes Getting Fired Up – Fire Off Manifesto Against Gays 2/07 2 Latvian conservatives begin Pride backlash 3/07 3 Riga Pride attacker to be prosecuted 4/07 4 Riga mortis- going gay in Latvia 4/07 5 No Pride? Gay Latvia bites back 4/07 6 Cardinal Warns "Gay" Pride Parade 5/07 7 Riga Pride gets more… Read more »

Gay Latvia News & Reports 2001-06

1 Latvians Urged to Join ‘Struggle Against Homosexuality’ 11/01 2 Gay marriage message spreads to Baltic States 11/03 3 First LGBT Pride March in Riga to go ahead 7/05 4 Protests disrupt Latvia gay march 7/05 5 Latvia is “increasingly homophobic” 12/05 6 Latvia’s Parliament blocks gay marriage12/05 7 Latvian President Vetoes Rights Bill After… Read more »