My introduction to gay Latvian affairs happened one afternoon in the office of LGBT organization Mozaika (Mosaic) the only LGBT organization in Latvia working for the protection of LGBT rights and human rights in Latvia. In 2005 following public homophobic expressions toward Riga Pride that year, some members of the LGBT community, their friends and
In 1992, soon after Latvia regained independence from the USSR, homosexuality was decriminalized. The age of consent is 14 for those under 18, 16 for those over 18 regardless of gender and/or sexuality. In September 2006, Latvia’s parliament, the Saeima, passed amendments to the Labour Code prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in workplace. At the time, Latvia was the last country in the European Union to introduce anti-discrimination laws dealing with sexual orientation. Only in the capital, Riga, is there a small gay scene. Elsewhere in Latvia, however, the sparse population means there is virtually no gay scene. Due to prevailing negative attitudes in society, and particularly the violent actions of a vocal anti-LGBT minority (e.g. National Power Unity), there is a fear that further lobbying for the rights of sexual minorities will provoke an even stronger backlash. Nevertheless, Pride took place in 2007; in contrast with the counter-protestors who greatly outnumbered Pride attendees in 2005, and the banning of Pride ceremonies in 2006. The 2007 Pride was mostly peaceful and the 500 pridegoers outnumbered the 100 protestors.