In contrast to the Communist era, the Czech Republic has become relatively liberal since the Velvet Revolution in 1989, and it is one of the most LGBTQIA+ friendly countries in the European Union.
This increasing tolerance probably reflects the low number of religiously inclined people in the country, particularly when compared to the neighbouring countries of Poland, Austria, and Slovakia.
There is quite a large queer community in Prague; the communities are smaller in the rest of the country. Nevertheless, Brno is a city that has contributed significantly to many developments in the Czech LGBTQIA+ community. The city has a moderately sized queer scene, particularly around the city centre, including bars, clubs, and saunas. The scene for men is more developed than the scene for women.
- 1895: The Moderní revue magazine stood up for Oscar Wilde when he was sentenced to two years in prison in England for homosexuality.
- Between the World Wars: The magazine Hlas sexuální menšiny [Voice of the sexual minority] and its successor Nový hlas [New voice] were published in the early 1930s. Homosexuality was then still punishable in this country by §129 of the Criminal Code, which dated from 1852, despite wide and intense discussion calling for reform.
- During WW2: With the country under Nazi rule, people suspected of homosexuality were persecuted systematically.
- 1961: Homosexuality was generally decriminalized. However, sexual intercourse with a person of the same gender younger than 18 years of age, sexual intercourse with a person of the same gender that could cause public offence, abusing a person of the same gender, and sexual intercourse with a person of the same gender for money were still punishable under §244 of the Criminal Code. This code was widely used by the police as a tool of brutality and/or manipulation.
- 2006: A law on registered partnership was passed in March 2006.
- 2009: An antidiscrimination law was passed that applied explicitly to, among other areas of discriminiation, “sexual orientation”.
For a more detailed view, there are a number of interesting publications on the history of the LGBT+ community. Some are available online in English (downloadable for free or as an e-book).
● The Politics of Gender Culture Under State Socialism: An Expropriated Voice – Hana Havelková, Libora Oates-Indruchová
● The Changing Space of the Gay and Lesbian Community in the Czech Republic – Kateřina Nedbálková
● Specifics of the Contemporary Czech Homosexual Community: History, Evolution and Ambivalences (2010) – Zdeněk Sloboda
Laws and regulations
The Czech Republic does not permit same-sex marriage, although the subject is under debate. The country does allow registered partnerships.
The Registered Partnership Act requires one of the partners to be a Czech citizen or to have permanent residence status in the Czech Republic. A registered partnership enables inheritance, hospital visits, and alimony. It does not, however, allow joint adoption, joint property rights or joint tax return.
Unregistered cohabitation also enables some rights, such as inheritance and hospital visitation. A registered partnership has some advantages over unregistered cohabitation, but it presents some disadvantages for gays and lesbians particularly in the area of family law (parenting rights, adoption, childrearing, and reproduction rights).
In the Czech Republic, pursuant to the Family Act, every man or woman can adopt children without regard to his or her sexual orientation. This is also true for individuals in registered partnerships (since 2016), although joint adoption is not yet possible.
The right to adopt the children of one’s partner
Most countries allow the adoption of the children of one’s partner. The right to adopt the children of one’s partner makes it possible for the child and the partner of the biological parent to establish their factual relationship legally.
In the Czech Republic, partners in same-sex unions do not yet have this right, although a change to this law is pending.
Gays and lesbians are able to become foster parents when they are single. They can also do so when they are in a registered partnership, but only individually and not as a couple. Only married couples may become foster parents together.
In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is reserved for heterosexual couples, married or not, in the Czech Republic. Commercial surrogacy is banned in the Czech Republic, regardless of sexual orientation.
Community and activism
The Czech Republic takes part in the annual global event known as Pride. The Prague Pride civic association is a volunteer, non-governmental, non-political, non-profit organization founded in 2010; its main activity is organizing the Prague Pride human rights festival.
Prague Pride grew from a small local event to one of the most interesting and inspiring Pride festivals in Europe. Attendees enjoy a week-long programme with exhibitions, debates, concerts, and parties. The main events of the week are, of course, the Pride Parade through the historic city centre and the open-air party in Letná Park.
In Brno, there have been two Queer Parades (the first in the Czech Republic) – in 2008 (Duhová vlna) and 2010 (Teplé jaro). Brno’s LGBTQIA+ community and their friends travel to Prague every year to enjoy the atmosphere and interesting programmes of Prague’s Pride Parade.
This NGO strives for empowerment, social justice, promotion of rights, and positive social changes for the benefit of trans men and women and other non-cis persons. The organisation was founded in Prague in spring 2015 by a group of trans activists in response to the urgent need to create a supportive space and change policies to promote the advancement of transgender equality.
Stud Brno was founded in 1996 by students at Masaryk University. Its name reflects this, but is also a humorous and self-ironic play on words, very much in the Brno tradition: “stud” in Czech means “shame” or “shyness” – something that certainly didn’t characterize the group’s founders – and of course in Englih a “stud” is a very sexy guy. Stud Brno is an independent non-governmental organization (civic association) whose mission is to support gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender minorities and strive for their full legal and factual equality with other members of the society.
Scroll down to find more information about some of the projects they organize: Queer Film Fest Mezipatra, Queer Ball, Studividlo, GaTe, etc. A few of the groups mentioned here are also organized by members of this association, including Boys on Bikes and Gulf Stream.
This platform is intended to build an open atmosphere in educational institutions, create an environment for unproblematic coming-out, fight against violence that is rooted in homophobia and transphobia, legalize second-parent adoption and both individual and joint adoption by same-sex couples in civil partnerships, achieve legislative status enabling same-sex couples to enter into civil marriages equal to the marriages of heterosexual couples, secure protection against discrimination in the workplace, and more.
GaTe (Gay Teens, or Gate) are young people who have decided to create a team and organize events for young gays, especially as they are coming out. They prepare events for two targets groups: teenagers under the age of 20 and undergraduates under 26. GaTe events last from one to seven days.
The website is only available in Czech, but many GaTe members can also speak other languages. Contact them for more information at email@example.com.
In IUSTITIA provides legal assistance to individuals exposed to violent hate crimes. It focuses on improving their access to justice.
In cooperation with Czech and foreign NGOs, In IUSTITIA acts against racism and xenophobia in the Czech Republic and Europe. Their address in Brno: Malinovského náměstí 4, 602 00, Brno.
Mezipatra Queer Film Festival
The Czech Queer Film Festival Mezipatra (“mezzanines”) was founded in 2000 by STUD Brno. The first year of the festival, then called Duha nad Brnem (Rainbow over Brno), introduced eight films, three theatre performances, and three art exhibitions. Later the festival changed its name to Mezipatra and enriched its programme with accompanying events. The organizational headquarters moved to Prague.
Each year in November, the Mezipatra film festival presents around a hundred top-ranking films on LGBT+ themes, as well as an international competition, exhibitions, lectures, workshops, discussions, and parties. The main festival takes place in Prague and Brno, but is followed by film screenings and other events in several other cities in the Czech Republic.
Brno is the venue for an annual original, unconventional, and informal ball for LGBTQIA+ people and their friends. The ball is organized by members of the STUD Brno association and a group of volunteers. It is usually attended by about 500 people.
Lemon Music Club
Open at Pekařská 7 since 2017, Lemon replaced the popular Depo Club, and is always busy on Fridays and Saturdays.
Dave’s club is a gay & straight bar in the city centre (Hybešova 8), perfect for a wind-down after work and entertainment on the weekends, with a comfortable, pleasant environment and
Gay & straight bar in the city centre (Husova 8a). Afternoon chillout, pop and dance hits, musicvideos of the 70s and 80s. Drinks, cocktails, wine, coffee.
Gay bar in the city centre (Špitálka 33). Parties every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You need to buy a ticket for each party in advance (online). All-inclusive drinks all night.
H46 is Brno’s oldest gay bar, opened in December 1992 at Hybešova 46 (hence the name). Now located nearby at Křížova 5, this small cozy bar gets busiest after midnight. There are special events every weekend. If the door is closed, feel free to ring. The website has an English version.
This club is only open to men 18 and older. “Clothing optional” parties on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Since 1993 at Pekařská 38.
Metro Music Club
Metro Bar (Pekařská 24) is a queer-friendly bar with a lot of student-themed nights; open since 2014.
The Monro Cafés (Černopolní 33 and Kounicova 21) are lesbian-owned and queer friendly.
The only party aimed at girls/women is organized by DJ Henriette. These parties take place regularly in Prague, Brno, Pilsen, and Bratislava. The live show, with great DJs, themed events, and more comes to Brno once every three months. You can dance, play, and drink with around 200 lesbians here. There is also a party on a boat during the summer in Prague where you can meet women from all across the country.
For more tips, check out the Brno queer map.
Sports and wellness
Golfský proud (The Gulf Stream)
This small open group organizes swimming trips and other events. Every Wednesday evening they go swimming in the waterpark in Kohoutovice (sometimes somewhere else). In summer, they visit outdoor swimming pools, the Brno reservoir, or water parks outside the city. After swimming they traditionally go for a couple of beers.
In addition to swimming, they organize small hiking and biking trips. Their website and Facebook page are just in Czech, but members of the group speak English, French, and Russian.
Kluci na kole (Boys on Bikes)
This group is much bigger than The Gulf Stream. They organize well-planned bike tours through Moravia. During summer you can join them almost every weekend. Their website is only in Czech, but at least some of the members can speak foreign languages. Send them a message to join the group.
Pěšky atd. (On Foot, etc.)
This group organizes hikes in Moravia. Send them a message at firstname.lastname@example.org to join the group .
A gay wellness club operating for over ten years. Relax and meet new people at Galandauerova 17.
Queer-friendly massages in Brno city centre.
Websites and apps
This gay dating site for men launched in 2006. The site administrators have organized parties in the Czech and Slovak Republic for their users. It has around 60,000 visits daily. There is an English version.
The women’s version of iBoys. The website has the same functions and events, but it doesn’t get as many visits per day.
Top gay apps used in the CR
Meet gay men in your area, chat, see who checked you out, get updates from nearby users, buy and send gifts, save your favourite users, browse profiles and pictures, promote your profile with in-app features, earn points to unlock premium features. You don’t have to pay to get notifications.
A platform for the gay and bisexual male and transgender community. A place for dating, sex, making and meeting friends, sharing ideas, and offering mutual support. They started locally as a network of friends in Berlin and grew into a global community.
The Czech website mentioned above also has an app version.