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Where are all the gay romanians?

Posted by E on January 7, 2008


Where in the world are all the gay Romanians hiding? Come on, deal with the times, people – being gay has been decriminalized since 1989! It’s time for all those closet doors to bang wide open. Why are they not?

Following up on my last post about growing up under communism, I reflected on the legacy that has been passed down: one of hatred and fear of people who are different. Romanians are among the most intolerant people in Europe when it comes to gays, gypsies, and basically anyone who stands out from the self-imposed norm.

Until the 1989 Revolution, homosexuality was illegal and punishable with a 5-year mandatory prison sentence at hard labour. Since communism was toppled, however, the laws against gays were lifted, but in name only. I know there have been queer marches in Bucharest, and that there is a club or two out there. But there is virtually no internet presence to speak of.

There are plenty of sites that talk about Romanian gays, but they are written and hosted by foreigners. So where are all the Romanian gays and lesbians? What is attributable to their silence? Perhaps a combination of lack of computer skills and fear of retribution from friends and neighbours (since homosexuals have very likely taken over the number 1 most villified group in Romania, toppling the long-standing champions of that title, the Roma people, closely followed by jews and hungarians).

But whether I look online, on Facebook, on any of the other social-networking sites, there is a distinct absence of Romanian gays and lesbians.

The “New Right”, smugly claiming philosophical lineage from Eminescu and various other historical intellectuals, have marched and attacked gay parades, trying to cover up their hatred with an appeal to religion and questionable science of the sort that goes something like “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” But just like all through Eastern Europe, skinheads, neo-fascists and even staunch supporters of the old communist regime have banded together calling for “normalcy”, displaying Christian symbols (what else is new?) and ranting about “we don’t want to be a nation of faggots.” I guess they have to cling to such delusions, since they’ve lost the battle over the fact that the rest of Europe sees Romania as “a nation of gypsies.” Just ask any Italian. But I digress.

The point is – where is the gay presence in Romania? Where are the websites, the online journals, the activist logs? Romania is a deeply anti-gay country, and it will stay that way until people realize that gays are not some weird creatures who stand in the shadow of street corners, trying to corrupt their children. They ARE their children, their relatives, their spouses, their co-workers, their friends. It is only fear that keeps people from living authentic lives.

This week I decided to finally write my cousin in Romania, a woman who has been pestering me to keep in touch and write more often. There was a time when she wrote only to complain and ask for money, and I usually sent it to them whenever I could. But as of late, she has been asking me more questions that I have hesitated to answer. The point is, the woman is a bigot. I remember going back to visit several years ago, and being increasingly tired of her spewing rants against the gypsies and the “poponari.” I didn’t want to stay in touch more than the occasional holiday card or two.

But finally, I wrote back and told her exactly why I didn’t feel compelled to write back often, and how this had more to do than just the simple fact that my Romanian is somewhat shitty, especially when I try to express myself – after all, I left when I was 10.

So there we have it. I’ve done my contribution to come out. I only wish I could help out in the Romanian gay community, but I can’t do much at all if there is no community beyond guys cruising in the parks.

There has to be more, there has to be more done or nothing is going to change. – This is a cool article that I just stumbled onto while I was looking for a romanian gay presence on the web. I encourage you to read it. But one of the best parts of it is this quote:

Romanians will deny they have an aversion to gays. They will go even further and deny any form of intolerance. They might even tell you the idea that Romanians can be intolerant is part of a Western smear campaign against our country. Romanians don’t hate gays. Nor do they hate gypsies, Hungarians or blacks. They just don’t believe any of these groups are really necessary for the country to function. After all, if God intended for the Romanian people to be Hungarian black gypsies attracted to people of the same sex, he would have passed on that memo to the Orthodox Church leadership.

Romania may hide under the EU blanket, or claim that globalization has broadened the horizons of its people, but reality remains as ugly and unobstructed as always. And the only way to change things is for all its gays and lesbians to come out of the woodwork and live their lives without shame or regret.

The only site I could find on the subject is Accept’s site: It is well-meaning, but half of the sites in the Links section are to porn sites. Great.

Are there any Romanian gays or lesbians out there in the blogosphere? on the net? helloooooooooooooooooooooooo………………

Are there also any Roma gays or lesbians? hellooooooooooo to you as well. Please feel free to write! The only mention of roma gays is on this site:

If you know of any cool Romanian lesbian or gay blogs or sites (and no, not porn), please add them here and I’ll link to them. Thanks 🙂

12 Responses to “Where are all the gay romanians?”

  1. cosmicdust said

    hi elisa!
    i’ve just stumbled upon your blog while searching for romanian gay sites or pretty much anything on the web that has to do with gay romanians. you can imagine i didn’t find much.
    there is this blog
    and the only other site i know of is it’s more of a dating – people-meeting – porn thingy. met some nice people there, but otherwise not that interesting.
    by the way, i’m a 20 years old male, gay for only a few months now and i have to tell you it’s more complicated than it should be. it helps though knowing there are some who are open-minded and who understand that the feelings in a gay couple aren’t different from those in a straight couple.
    i’ll never forget what happended one night: i was taking a walk with a guy, holding hands (it was night and the streets were empty in that part of bucharest, otherwise we wouldn’t dare do such a thing…holding hands, that’s terrible, right?) when suddenly a group of about 7 highschool girls appears. and then one of them sees us and stops, turns her head towards us and asks, somehow amuzed, somehow amazed or confuzed, “hey, what are you doing? are you gay?”. as we speed up, thinking she’ll start with the old “you’re a couple of freaks”, she actually sais “that’s so cool! i love you guys!”. it made my week 🙂
    it made me think, though, that in these two years i’ve spent in bucharest i haven’t once seen a gay male couple in public.
    where are they, indeed?

  2. kid said

    hey,I ve seen your aticle while surfing the net in a boring day.I m bi and from the strange Romania,and i can tell u where are all gay romanians….in the closet:)I m 18 and I reveled the fact that I m bi(note I m the only out of the closet from my highscool and who knows maybe from all highscools from my city).Older generations seen homosexuality as a verry disturbing thing ,unless they are more educated(college degree)and youngers ..hmm ,are a bit more tolerant,let s say opened mind,but I strongly dout most youths in romania see homosexuality as a normal thing,they just see with a higher degree of tolerants then their parents.beeng opened bisexual in a romanian highscool is not to easy,when not rarly some people make some nasty comments about it,u just have to be with a high level of sense of humor!:)I actually feel sorry for the romanian new generation,they have no ideea how bacward are in contrast with western youths.

  3. Elisa said

    Hey Kid,
    I’m glad you left a comment here. It’s great that young people like you are out there – you are very brave to be open in your highschool. If only there would be more like you out there, romanians would not think this is so unusual and a product of dirty western morals, but a natural thing. I personally think almost everyone is born bi, and it is various things and circumstances that determine which way people go and who they become attracted to. I will never understand why so many romanians or people of other ethnic origins outside of western culture feel that same-sex partnerships are so wrong. What is wrong with one person loving another person? It’s none of their business anyway, unless they are repressing some hidden homoerotic tendencies themselves!
    So – more power to you! 🙂

  4. TerraBite said

    Cosmicdust, is not a “porn thingy” site. Im a member for about 5 years there and it`s greate 😉

  5. kid said

    Hey again Elisa.I ve decided to make another comment to your question.U sould know that in my school the biology teacher still teach homosexualit as beeng a sexual disfunction.When there are probably so many like her in romanian schools u can be sure romanian gay boys will be ashamed to admit that they are gay.How can u figh against homophobism when it is teached in school by teachers that can t get away from their prejudicts gained from beeng raised in a bacward country.I m not sure what laws are in Romania but considering we are in EU i doubt she has the right to present homosexuality the way she does and if it s any way I could stop her I would be glad.

  6. Elisa said

    Hey Kid:)
    I can totally see how biology teachers would teach that it’s wrong. Romanians are generally so small-minded about anything and anybody different, and it doesn’t help that there is a rise in fervent Christianity going on now. And what’s worse, they are so stubborn in their prejudices, believing they are right and they are acting based on good Christian morals. It makes me sick.

    Take courage and hang in there. Soon all of this will be over. You will graduate and not have to deal with that ignorant person. Of course, Romania is filled with ignorant people, but I have hope for the younger generations.
    There’s probably nothing you can do right now, just study hard and get your diploma. If you go on to university, even better! The more educated gay people there are, the better! Gay people need to get into government and teaching positions, so they can change the system.
    Stay strong!

  7. kid said

    Thanks for answering Elisa.Well I will graduate next weeck and it s true it will all be over…at least for me.As far as I know Romania beeng a EU member has some obligation to Eu there for I do not belive it s legal anynmore to each homosexuality s a disturbence.Like u sayed it will all over for me,to bad there are other who will still suffer from ignorance.

  8. Cristina said

    Hi there,

    I’m a proud Romanian and even prouder lesbian. But just like you, I moved away to Canada in my early teens (12). But I still have a pretty good idea of what’s going on there and how things are.

    Although you’ve made some very good points, I will have to disagree with many of them. There are plenty Romanian gays out there and they have their own community. But you keep referring to them not being online and quite frankly, if you remember correctly most Romanians can barely afford their food let alone a working computer and internet. Trust me, they may not be online but they are there in their own net-free communities.

    Romania is a small country. So there really can’t be millions upon millions of gays simply because there aren’t just that many Romanians. Compared to bigger countries it’s quite the same balance of support and hate. To me America is a perfect example of tolerance vs. hate. I cannot even begin to tell you how much hate there IS in North America against gays. It may look like it’s more tolerant because there are a lot of people who live there. But most of it is filled with hate. And sometimes, this hate will make many gays hide their true identities from fear. Romanian gays are doing the same. And besides, I have yet to see gays displaying public forms of affection here in North America, let alone in Romania. Romania isn’t really all that bad…We all deal with same problems when it comes to gay pride/support no matter where we are.

    And to give you a perfect example. I was the only one to stand up in my high school on gay marital rights. This was in Canada when they were trying to let gays get married. This wasn’t Romania. This was Canada. And I was the only supporter who tried to fight and faced much hate in return. Now tell me, do you really think Romania is the only problem, or is it the entire world? Because to me it doesn’t matter where you’re from. There is equal hate that comes from all…but all you can really do is be true to yourself and never, NEVER sink to their level of hate. I don’t hate anyone and I hope to one day receive the same gesture in return.

    Hellooooooo. We are out there. Hear our silent roar.

    • Hi Cristina,

      I have read your comment and I am interested to get in touch with you. I am a Romanian PhD currently living in Sweden and I would like to get in touch with you for some research on queer Romanian history. If you are interested, just send me a message. Thank you!

  9. Kid said

    Hi.So I found myself again on this blog.I wanted to live a comment after I read what Cristina says.I must say I kinda disagree with her.It is true that u can find certants group of people in any part of the world that have something against sexual minorities,but while in the Western World this certain people are a minority and usually less educated in a country like Romania u can find homophobia in rural areas,uneducated people as well as in urban areas an more educated people(even tho education always brings a higher level of tolerance..or I hope so!)I would say there are not to many gay friendly romanians,becouse the romanian society is itself bacward and I don´t see it changing to fast becouse politicians shows no interesat in educating the young generation to tolerance and respect for minorities.Just as an example in Romania only 35 er cent of the population considers gay people sould be treated as well as straight people!That shows a huge difference from let´s say Canada,where more then half of the population agree changing the definition of marriage.I would say Eastern Europe is for europeans as it ´s southern USA for the californians,but worse,much worse!We sould call Romania the Deep East;)Have a nice day.

  10. Oana said

    Hi Elisa,

    I am a proud gay romanian woman. I also looked online for any sites and there was no success. I left the country 6 years ago, I live now in the United States and I have not met any gay romanians so far.Maybe something will come out from this blog,the best of luck.

    • Hey Oana,

      I have read your comment and I am interested to get in touch with you. I am a Romanian PhD currently living in Sweden and I would like to get in touch with you for some research on queer Romanian history. If you are interested, just send me a message. Thank you!

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