We live in an exciting time. A few months ago, the Austrian political landscape experienced one of the biggest scandals of the Second Republic and, as a result, the failure of the government of the ÖVP and the FPÖ in Ibiza. One could assume that the election campaign that follows such a situation would be characterized by substantive debates and arduous debates on ideas and visions. Unfortunately, so far, this is not the case … and whenever concrete suggestions for the future of the people of our country are put on the table, the media bubble seems to be deliberately moving in a different direction. Discussing is preferable to Anpatzerei, self-selected victim roles or possible coalitions.
Let's compare the current situation with the year 2017. Despite this, the election campaign was difficult. But much more was discussed about topics, content and ideas: at that time also about the LGBTIQ community. For example, during each televised discussion at the end of the summer of 2017, the main candidates were asked what they thought of "marriage for ALL". Today, I wonder where these discussions are in 2019. After all, there would be more than enough to do and really enough topics.
What comes after the "wedding for ALL"?
For almost two years, I have been working as the only gay and open member of the National Council. And at the latest since the VfGH decision on the opening of the marriage, the journalists ask me again and again: "Why are you still fighting?" This year, we have dealt with enough topics of importance to the LGBTIQ community this year: From the issue of sex education, marriage for ALL, to the prohibition of conversion therapies that we decided after a hard fight in July.
And yes, there is still much to be done: for the self-determination of transgender people, the protection of intersexed children, for LGBTIQ refugees or, for example, for the prohibition of blood donation for gay men. But the biggest thing that stays on our way is and remains the prohibition of discrimination at all levels – the so-called "upgrade".
For 15 years, Austria has been banned from being discriminated against because of our sexual orientation or our gender identity at work. But the same protection is still not available in private life. It is always legal that we are evicted from a taxi and taken to a restaurant, or that we do not have an apartment simply because we belong to the LGBTIQ community. Is it right? No! This is just not acceptable.
With the rainbow in the law and in the constitution!
We live in an exciting time. At a time when gender equality and diversity are under increasing pressure in Austria and throughout Europe. This is exactly the question – total protection against discrimination for ALL citizens of our country – an issue worthy of consideration. For years, all attempts to establish this protection in the law on equal treatment have failed because of the opposition of the ÖVP. Three decisions were blocked in the short term by the Popular Party within the framework of the Great Coalition.
Why I plead not only for the legal protection against discrimination, but also for the next major scope of Austrian equality policy: introduce the rainbow into the Constitution! Article 7 of the Federal Constitution, in German the "rate of equal treatment in the B-VG", already protects against the most unfavorable status for reasons such as sex or sex. ethnic origin in all areas of society. It is high time our community is here too.
The LGBTIQ community is at the center of society. We are neighbors, parents, co-workers, friends and have the same right to ALL others to a visible and independent life – this must finally reflect our Constitution!