Thousands march in joyful Bucharest Pride as government mulls ‘gay propaganda’ bill

Thousands march in joyful Bucharest Pride parade ahead of proposed anti-'gay propaganda' bill

Bucharest Pride drew huge crowds as the country’s government considers a bill comparable to Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda” ban.

According to Reuters, an estimated 10,000 people joined the march on Saturday (9 July) calling for same-sex marriage rights and protections for LGBTQ+ people. Organisers put the number at 15,000.

The British ambassador to Romania, Andrew Noble, reportedly took to the stage at the parade, saying: “None of us are free until we are all free.”

Libertatea reported him as saying: “Giving rights to the LGBTQ+ community is not a threat to anyone. We all, including our governments, must work for inclusive societies, to protect the laws of all.

“It is everyone’s duty to eliminate inequality and exclusion. Happy Pride to all!”

The march comes after a bill passed through the country’s Senate which would ban the use of materials in school that “promote” being LGBTQ+.

Pride Parade in Bucharest, Romania on Saturday 9 July 2022

Pride Parade in Bucharest, Romania on 9 July. (Ilona Andrei/AFP via Getty Images)

A cross-party group of MEPs spoke out about the proposed piece of legislation in June, calling it a “worrying development”, and comparing it to Russia’s “gay propaganda” bill.

On 16 June, 44 members of the European Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup signed a letter to Romanian officials urging parliament to kill it.

“We view this bill as a particularly worrying development, given its resemblance to the Hungarian bill… and to the Russian ‘anti-LGBTQ+’ propaganda law,” the letter stated.

It continued: “No information on what it means to be LGBTIQ means further invisibility; no visibility means no awareness; no awareness means no public policies to ensure protection; and this, in turn, means further hatred and violence.”

Allegedly put forward to prevent “child abuse”, the bill would give the government powers to decide what can be shown to minors, and bans trans people from legally changing their gender until they are 18.

Any content the government finds to “deviate from sex at birth [or promotes] the popularisation of sex changes or homosexuality” would be prohibited under the measure.