The LGBTQ+ Community in Austria
Similar to most countries of western Europe, same-sex registered partnerships have been legal in Austria for a few years. Most European countries legalized same-sex marriage over the past 20 years, starting with the Netherlands in 2001. In Austria, it was legalized in 2019, though registered partnerships have been legal since 2010. There has been anti-discrimination protection on the basis of sexual orientation since 2004, and in 2015, hate speech in relation to sexual orientation became an aggravating sentence to commit a crime due to the victim’s sexual orientation.
Starting a family
In the case of adopting and parenting, same-sex couples have been allowed to adopt children only until recently in 2015, after the Constitutional Court found the existing laws to be unconstitutional. Same-sex adoptive parents are given the same rights, treatments and obligations as opposite-sex couples, including in the case of the relationship ending.
Trans and intersex rights
In Austria transgender people can change their legal name and gender and they don’t need to go through sex reassignment surgery to do so. Unfortunately, the legal change has to undergo psychiatric opinion, and the payment of the sex-change treatment by public health insurance has to be approved by various psychiatrics. Very recently, in 2018, the Austrian Constitutional Court ruled that being intersex was not a disorder and because of that intersex people can now choose to leave their gender blank on their birth certificate or change it to “inter”, “x” or “other”. Intersex medical interventions are now illegal (also since 2018) and can only be justified under very exceptional cases like a life threatening scenario.
LGBTQ+ Community in Austria compared to the rest of the world
Compared to the rest of the world, Austria is among the countries who have recognized the most LGBTQ+ rights. Only about 29 countries around the world (mostly in western Europe and the Americas) recognize same-sex marriage, while in contrast, in about 6 countries it is punishable by the death penalty. About 35 countries around the world recognize legal identity change without surgery being required, and about 20 more recognize it after the sex reassignment surgery has been done.
Although most of the legal progress regarding the LGBTQ+ Community has only been done over the past 10 years, overall LGBTQ+ rights in Austria are widely recognized and protected, and also accepted by the Austrian society itself.