10-Year Triumph Filled with PRIDE at Each Step!

Today, as the Queer Cyprus Association, we proudly celebrate the 10th anniversary of the abolition of Article 171 under Chapter 154 of the Penal Code in the northern part of Cyprus. This article defined intimate and consensual sexual relations between adults of the same gender as ‘Crimes Contrary to the Laws of Nature.’  As the Queer Cyprus Association, this date marks a significant milestone in our fight for equality and justice, advocating for a more just Cyprus. We say, ‘Speak up for Equality!’ for a fairer Cyprus.

With this legislative change, access to public services was made free from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender-based discrimination. Additionally, psychological and economic violence arising from prejudice or hatred based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender was prohibited. Crimes against bodily integrity, previously defined through morality, were redefined in a gender-sensitive manner, addressing offenses such as rape, harassment, sexual assault, and abuse. These legal provisions represent a significant step in questioning ongoing prejudices against the LGBTI+ community and ensuring that they are not exposed to hate crimes, abuse, torture, and domestic violence.

The changes made to the Penal Code in 2014 are undoubtedly a crucial step for human rights in the northern part of Cyprus. However, the northern part of Cyprus still falls far short of being a safe space for the LGBTI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex) community. Despite the prohibition of homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic hate speech within the framework of the Penal Code in 2020, discrimination and stigmatization persist as a routine part of the daily lives of LGBTI+s. Access to fundamental rights such as education, health, employment, and housing remains a challenge, and LGBTI+s continue to be subjects of discrimination.

The change in laws may have been a significant step; however, it is evident that hatred towards the LGBTI+ community still persists. Therefore, as a society, we must exert more effort and speak up more strongly for LGBTI+ rights. While the achievements of the past 10 years motivate us, we are aware that there is more work to be done in the fight for equality. As the Queer Cyprus Association, we are determined to raise our voice with resilience, share this historic moment, and continue progressing towards social change by creating awareness for equality and freedom in our community. With the strength derived from our past, we will persist in advocating for equality.

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