ACCEPT is the primary nongovernmental organization advocating for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Romania. It is based in Bucharest and also acts as the Romanian representative at ILGA-Europe. The organization also advocates on behalf of individuals with HIV-AIDS; and carries out many programs to encourage safe sex.

ACCEPT dates from 1994. It originally also enjoyed the English-language name Bucharest Acceptance Group. Its founders were David St Vincent, a veteran travel writer and author of the Insight Guide to Romania, the Revd Chris Newlands, then the Anglican chaplain to Romania and Bulgaria, Bogdan Voicu, a student, Guido Spaanbroek, a musician, and Jennifer Tanaka, a human rights worker. Some of these are straight, as were many of ACCEPT's most influential early members. ACCEPT later enjoyed much support from the Dutch government, which helped fund it.

ACCEPT became an influential lobbying organisation when Romania applied to join the Council of Europe. ACCEPT and supporters abroad helped keep the issue of gay rights in Romania a hot political issue and potential bar to Romania's membership. The repeal of Article 200, which illegalised, among other things, creating a "public scandal" was one of the movement's most important aims.

Later Romania's application to enter the EU created similar opportunities for gay rights activism in Romania.

In May 2005, ACCEPT organized the first-ever gay pride parade in Romania, as part of Bucharest's annual GayFest. The event was nearly prohibited by the Mayor of Bucharest, who claimed that the city could not guarantee the safety of the marchers. However, a parade permit was eventually granted after President Traian Băsescu and Minister of Justice Monica Macovei weighed in favor of the march.

Romania was one of the last countries in Europe to decriminalize homosexual activity, decriminalization of consensual homosexual acts between adults in private occurred in 1996. The country's last remaining sodomy lawndash Article 200 of the Penal Codendash was repealed in 2001 under pressure from the Council of Europe. Since then, however, Romania has made significant progress in its gay rights record, in part due to ACCEPT's lobbying.

As of July 2006, the executive director of ACCEPT is Florentina Bocioc, while the president is Romaniţa Iordache and the vice-president is Florin Buhuceanu.

ACCEPT currently has two periodical publications: "Inklusiv", a bimonthly LGBT magazine, and "ENOLA", a magazine designed for lesbians and bisexual women. Both are distributed throughout Romania ("Inklusiv" is free).

Since March 24, 2008, the organisation also runs "INFO Accept", a hotline for LGBT support issues such as coming out, overcoming discrimination or questions regarding sexual orientation. [ [ Linie telefonica pentru gay in Romania] ("Telephone line for gays in Romania"), "Angelicuss"]


See also

*Gay rights in Romania
*Same-sex marriage in Romania

External links

* [ Official Site]
* [ GayFest Site]

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