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LGBT history in Romania

Homosexual acts in Romania were decriminalised in 1996.[1]


The acceptance of homosexuality in Dacian space occurs once with the transformation of Dacia into Roman province and the inoculation of Roman concepts of society and culture to autochthonous population.

Middle Ages

Middle Ages are characterized by social regression in the Romanian space, and the Christianization by Saint Andrew in Dobruja and the positioning on the border of religions (anti-Muslim shield) amplify bigotry. There is evidence of harsh punishment of homosexual acts although only for the poor, nobility enjoying all sexual privileges. However, examples of homosexual acts or relationships in that period can be retrieved in Dan Horia Mazilu's book, Voievodul, dincolo de sala tronului:[2]

  • Along with his brother Radu, Vlad the Impaler was raped at Adrianople (present-day Edirne), at the court of sultan Murad II, as punishment for disobeying the empire. In turn, Vlad raped Ottoman prisoners, being accused by church of "foul sodomy".
  • The sobriquet of Radu, Vlad the Impaler's brother (the Handsome, the Beautiful), results from effeminate traits and behavior of the prince.
  • Iliaș Rareș would have converted to Islam to get sexual favors. His bisexual behavior is also mentioned by historian Dan Horia Matei, having as source the chronicle of Grigore Ureche.
  • Mihnea Turcitul is the alleged lover of Koca Sinan Pasha.
  • Alexandru Iliaș would have resorted to prostitutes, the best known being a Greek homosexual, Batiste Veveli, fact also mentioned by Miron Costin in his chronicle.

Modern era

  • 1864 – The Penal Code promulgated by Alexandru Ioan Cuza,[3] inspired by the French model, does not stipulate any punishment for homosexual acts.[4] At the end of the 19th century, the Penal Code in Transylvania, in force since 1878, punished only the homosexual rape,[5] stipulated in Article 242.
  • 1929 – Pamfil Șeicaru names writer Panait Istrati "poor poet of deflowered arses". Istrati is the first Romanian author to write a novel – Chira Chiralina – in which a character is homosexual.[6]
  • 1933 – Writer Geo Bogza is imprisoned for a short time in Văcărești penitentiary for indecent behavior. Bogza just published the volume of poetry Poemul invectivă. One of his creations is about a pederast. Nicolae Ceaușescu was also imprisoned in Doftana, in the 1930s, for communist agitation. After the Revolution, there were allusive discussions about homosexual relationships that young Ceaușescu would be maintained at Doftana with his colleagues of detention.
  • 1936 – The Penal Code of Carol II passes in unlawfulness the consented homosexual relationship. Article 431 provides imprisonment for "acts of sexual inversion" when provoking public scandal. Thus, any act of sexual inversion brought to public knowledge could be punished with imprisonment from six months to two years.[6]

Under communist regime

  • 1947 – The penalty for sexual inversion increases once with the installation of the communist regime. Thus, the mildest sentence was imprisonment for two years.
  • 1957 – The Penal Code is amended again, pederasts being liable to imprisonment from three to ten years.
  • 1968 – Homosexuality emerges as a linguistic term in the new Penal Code. Ideologically, homosexuality was unproductive for the Communists, who needed heroine mothers and an ascending demographic trend. The Grand National Assembly elaborates a completely revised version of the Penal Code, and sexual acts between persons of the same sex are considered crimes against the person and punished by Article 200: "sexual relations between persons of the same sex shall be punished with imprisonment from one to five years".[7]
  • 1977 – Ion Negoițescu, open homosexual, writes to anti-communist dissident Paul Goma, in sign of solidarity. Securitate prefers to rake in Negoițescu's intimate past than to arrest him for assault on national security, which would have blamed Romania internationally. Young writer Petru Romoșanu, wherewith Negoițescu would have homosexual relationships, is forced by Securitate to denounce as homosexual Negoițescu and other writers. Negoițescu has a suicide attempt with a dose of medication. Negoițescu and other gay writers escaped condemnation by the intervention of writer Ștefan Augustin Doinaș, deconspired after 1990s as Securitate collaborator.
  • 1981–85 – "Morals" department of Bucharest Militia conducted an extensive investigation in this period. 54 gay Bucharesters should have been tried and convicted. But the case was stopped by Suzana Gâdea, Minister of Culture in those years, whereas among defendants appeared many artists and even officials of the Central Committee.[6]

Present-day evolutions

Mariana Cetiner
  • 1993
    • Ciprian Cucu (17) and Marian Mutașcu (22), two open homosexuals from Timișoara, were referred to the Police by Cucu's older sister. The two were arrested in January 1993. According to Cucu, "I was the first one to be interrogated. The investigators called me a 'whore' repeatedly...".[8] On 9 June, both were convicted; Mutașcu received two years imprisonment, and Cucu one year. Largely due to intensive pressure from the international community, these sentences were suspended. In May 1995, Mutașcu committed suicide, due to public jesting.
    • Homosexuality brutally falls in public debate when popular musician Ioan Luchian Mihalea is killed by two of his sex partners, Nelu Florian Găvrilă and Ionel Păun. In the coming years, the media presents more cases of crimes of passion between homosexuals.
  • 1995 – Mariana Cetiner (b. 1957) was arrested for allegedly trying to persuade another woman (Adina Vana) to have sexual intercourse with her.[9] She spent three years in prison until was pardoned by President Emil Constantinescu at the insistence of Amnesty International. She was the last Romanian citizen to be imprisoned under Article 200.
  • 25 October 1996 – The ACCEPT organization, is founded - the first body in Romania which campaigned for LGBT rights.[10]
  • 2001 – The government adopts an emergency ordinance which repeals Article 200 of the Penal Code, in order to eliminate any discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. The abrogation of the article was one of the conditions of EU accession.[11]
  • 2004 – ACCEPT organizes the first gay festival in Romania, under the title "Festival of Diversity", event that included a gay film festival, an exhibition of posters and photographs, book launches and public debates.
  • 2005 – During the GayFest Bucharest takes place the first Romanian gay pride parade, historic event for the LGBT movement in Romania.


  1. ^ "Where is it illegal to be gay?". BBC News. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  2. ^ Dan Horia Mazilu (2003). Voievodul dincolo de sala tronului. Hors Collection. ISBN 973-681-147-6.
  3. ^ Codul Penal 1 Maiu 1865 cu modificările din 1874, 1882, 1893, 1894, 1895—Textul Codului Penal și Procedurii Penale. Bucharest: Librăria Nouă. 1908.
  4. ^ "Codul Penal din 1864". Lege5 Online.
  5. ^ Mădălina Kadar (2 February 2015). "Homosexualitatea: o istorie de secole, plină de controverse". Transilvania Reporter.
  6. ^ a b c "Homosexualitatea în România: de la "Mandruli pederastu", la corecții fizice și suicid de rușine". Adevărul. 20 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Codul Penal din 1968". Lege5 Online.
  8. ^ Public Scandals: Sexual Orientation and Criminal Law in Romania. Human Rights Watch. ISBN 1-56432-178-9.
  9. ^ Dorin Timonea (29 November 2013). "Cazul cutremurător al Marianei Cetiner, ultima femeie condamnată în România pentru lesbianism". Adevărul.
  10. ^ "Istoric". ACCEPT.
  11. ^ Vlad Levente Viski (16 April 2015). "Minoritățile sexuale în România. Atitudini sociale, strategii, realități". CriticAtac.