Thousands marched in the Romanian capital last weekend to demand equal rights for gender and sexual minorities as fears rise over a draft law to ban discussing homosexuality and gender transition in schools.
Among the crowd, 37-year-old Catalin Enescu had come with his wife and two young daughters, both dressed in rainbow-colored dresses.
“It’s my first time taking part in a march like this, but it’s important to be here because the rights of LGBTQ people are no longer respected,” Enescu said.
Romania decriminalized homosexuality in 2001, but same-sex couples are not allowed to marry or enter into civil partnerships.
Activists are worried about a draft law to prohibit educational material that discusses homosexuality and gender transition in schools.
The senate earlier in 2022 passed the bill, though it still has to be put to a vote in the lower house.
The proposal is similar to legislation that came into force in 2021 in neighboring Hungary.
Organizers said 15,000 people came out to demand equality at the Bucharest Pride.
It came after around 200 people, several brandishing Orthodox Christian icons, earlier in the day responded to a call by far-right party Noua Dreapta for a counter-protest.
Oana Baluta, another protester and professor at the University of Bucharest, said she feared what would happen if the bill were passed into law in the EU country.
“If it is adopted, this draft law – which is contrary to European Union norms – would deal a grave blow to the freedom of expression and rights of LGBTQ people,” she said.
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