“Supreme Courts Started Reforms, Not Politics”

Justice Minister Alma Zadiq It announced the results of its study today, Friday, the “month of pride” in June “Rainbow of Liberation” presents. The purpose of this study is to examine the criminal prosecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans* people in the post-war period. “We wanted to look at the past, show the suffering that unequal treatment has caused, identify patterns and prevent them in the future,” explained the minister.

“It’s important that research doesn’t disappear into a closet, but instead becomes part of a concrete process,” Zadik said. Therefore a commemorative event in the Ministry of Justice should be the basis.

Exclusion and Criminalization

“The fate of homosexuals and transgender people is marked by criminalization, exclusion and erasure,” he said. Michael Svanda, President of the Higher Regional Court of Graz. “Always based on the laws in force at the time.”

The judicial bodies concerned were always told that they had no choice. But Svanda says the study made it abundantly clear that the judiciary has room for maneuver. For example, taking into account mitigating factors and determining reasons for sentencing or sentencing. In some cases the punishment was significantly less.


Minister of Justice in 1971 Christian Broda The total ban on homosexuality was lifted, but “four new criminal law passages made homosexuality still objectionable”.

The “ban on advertising and associations” was intended to keep the group invisible, Brunner explained. Different minimum ages for men in same-sex relationships (for example, an adult man is not allowed to have sex with a 17-year-old, but there is no prohibition between men and women of the same age). The stereotype of homosexuals as “corrupt youth” has also served.

Politicians have long been deaf to scientific findings and social progress, which is why what’s important — to date — is the “relentless work of civil society,” which fights discrimination using legal means, Bruner said. Many of the reforms that ensured greater equality were initiated not by politicians but by Supreme Courts.

Researcher Andreas Brunner explained that the effects of historical judicial reforms on the LGBTIQ community were specifically examined. An overview:

  • [1945[1945Towards the end of the NS-rule, was punishment”Unnatural adultery“Continued among men (unique in Europe) and among women. Those convicted by Nazi judges were considered sex offenders. Some were transferred directly from concentration camps to prisons.
  • 1971 The total ban fell, but homosexuals were prosecuted. For example by prohibiting:
    • More masculinity Adultery (Biss 1989)
    • “Advertisement Adultery with members of the same sex” (up to 1997)
    • Connections Promote same-sex prostitution (until 1997)
    • “Same-sex adultery with others Under 18 years of age(Biss 2002)
  • 2009 The first regulations were in the Partnership and Family Act, but only from April 2019 Lesbians and gays can get married in a registry office. The “Everyone is married“Returns to the finding of the Constitutional Court.
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Finally, the minister says: “Austrian law is a right for all people living here to be completely free from sexual orientation, gender characteristics or gender identities.”

“Homo healings” are still allowed

What else happened – or didn’t happen – in this episode?

From February 1, homosexuals involved in criminal offenses will be able to apply for compensation. Victims are awarded compensation of 3,000 euros for each overturned verdict, and an additional 1,500 euros for each year of deprivation of liberty.

The ban on alternative therapies, known as “umpolungen” or “homo healings”, is still open. Such bogus treatments are still allowed in Austria. A legal proposal from the Ministry of Justice has been pending for more than a year, but Turquoise and Green have made no progress on the matter.

Nico Marchetti. According to the draft, the ban on alternative therapies refers, on the one hand Sexual orientationOn the other hand, “Gender identity” – meaning which gender a person feels they belong to or switches between genders (“gender fluid”).

The part about sexual orientation “can be decided immediately,” says Marchetti. Gender identity, as Marchetti says, is a very complex matter.

Although the ÖVP is willing to talk, Marchetti is not particularly confident that a common decision will be reached with the Greens this legislative term.

Zadić said at the press conference that the current study shows that the ban on these treatments “should cover the whole LGBT community, not just a part”. He would not “abandon” a ban on alternative therapies and medically unnecessary operations on intersex children.

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