Austrian Parliament Taking a Stand For LGBTIQ Diversity

More+Events ♦ Published: April 12, 2023; 22:07 ♦ (Vindobona)

Under the motto "No democracy without diversity!", the LGBTIQ Intergroup of the Parliament hosted a reception. The focus was on measures to improve the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex, transgender, and queer people in Austria.

Representatives of the LGBTIQ community had the opportunity to express their concerns in a direct exchange with parliamentarians. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Gryffindor, CC BY-SA 3.0 (

During the renovation of the Parliament and since the reopening of the Parliament building, as reported, opening up to the outside world had been a major concern, Parliament Vice-Director Alexis Wintoniak emphasized in his opening remarks. "No democracy without diversity!" was therefore a successful motto in the sense of Parliament's goal to be an open house for all.

It is important to create a platform for the discussion of the community outside the classical parliamentary work, emphasized SPÖ National Councilor Mario Lindner. With the LGBTIQ Intergroup, the first time in the history of Parliament could create a lobby group for the rights of the LGBTIQ community, said Green National Councilor Ewa Ernst-Dziedzic, welcoming the cooperation across the parliamentary groups. It is something special that the community can come together in parliament, National Councilor Yannick Shetty (NEOS) recalled times when this would have been "unthinkable."

The Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), despite its conservative stance, was also pleased with the new diversity. It was personally important to him that the ÖVP was part of such an event, emphasized the National Councilor Nico Marchetti (ÖVP), who was prevented from attending due to illness, in a greeting message that was read out. He wanted to carry the concerns of the community into the ÖVP.

The foundation of the non-partisan initiative is not only nationally an important signal but also in the direction of countries, such as Poland or Hungary, where there are steps backward in their rights, said the Austrian parliament. Most recently, Austria took action against Hungary over Budapest's controversial LGBTIQ law, reported.

Civil society calls on politicians to act

Civil society representatives pointed to areas for action in a roundtable discussion. Joe Niedermayer, chair of the RosaLila PantherInnen Steiermark, saw the frequent disenchantment with politics in the community as a problem and called on politicians not to make "political small change" at the expense of the community. Tinou Ponzer, chairman of the Association of Intersex People Austria, demanded that politics should take more care of the rights of intersex people, especially the protection of intersex children.

More participation of affected people in political decision-making processes was demanded by Valerie Lenk of the association TransX. Lenk also addressed the demonstration announced for Sunday and called on politicians to set limits here. An important place in the "heart of the community" becomes a target, criticized also Ann-Sophie Otte, head of the association HOSI Vienna, and demanded measures for an appreciative communication basis.

About the Non-Partisan Intergroup on LGBTIQ Issues

In other parliaments, such as the European Parliament, non-partisan working groups on specific topics are already common practice. Since last year, the Austrian Parliament has also had its first intergroup through a decision of the Presidential Conference of the National Council.

The aim is to promote exchange between politics and the LGBTIQ community on a cross-factional level and to work on joint solutions for improving the living situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer people. The group is open to all members of the National Council, Federal Councilors, and Austrian members of the European Parliament. In the future, it will be constituted at the beginning of each legislative period and will exist on a long-term basis.

Austrian Parliament