Words: Alastair James; pictures: Wiki
LGBTQ campaigners in Budapest say a Pride march will go ahead next month, despite the recent introduction of anti-LGBTQ legislation by Hungary's ruling conservative party.
A law put forward by the ruling Fidesz party, led by Viktor Orbán, was passed last Tuesday (15 June).
It amends an existing law punishing paedophilia and bans pro-LGBTQ content in educational materials and TV shows aimed at children.
The EU has announced it will investigate Hungary over the move, which outlaws discussion of homosexuality and gender change in schools.
"There is hope"
Budapest Pride's Viktória Radványi recently told the Guardian: "We thought it was really important to show LGBT people that they are not alone; that they are not abandoned; that there are a lot of people who stand up for them. And now it is even more important to show that."
Radványi added: "We are planning to show all the people who are afraid and anxious and think they cannot be happy because this government is crushing human rights and freedom of speech and freedom of the media that there is hope, and that there are a lot of people who are more and more organised.”
Budapest Pride tweeted today (21 June) to say the march will go ahead on 24 July as planned and "will show what love and solidarity really looks like."
🏳️🌈We will fight Viktor Orbán’s regime harder than ever. We will hold the 26th Budapest Pride March in person, on July 24th. We will show what love and solidarity really looks like. But we need your help, please donate here: https://t.co/AiFT41Qcmdhttps://t.co/5SWtOFVKW8 pic.twitter.com/crYH0iJX66— Budapest Pride (@budapestpride) June 21, 2021
Hungary's new law is similar to Russia’s 2013 law "for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values", which effectively bans positive representation of LGBTQ life to minors. In 2017 the law was ruled to be a violation of human rights by the EU’s Court of Human Rights
“No one should be discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation”
On Wednesday (16 June) the President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen announced that the EU would investigate Hungary over the new measures. She tweeted she was “very concerned about the new law in Hungary. We are assessing if it breaches relevant EU legislation.
“I believe in a Europe which embraces diversity, not one which hides it from our children. No one should be discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation."
Very concerned about the new law in Hungary.— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) June 16, 2021
We are assessing if it breaches relevant EU legislation.
I believe in a Europe which embraces diversity, not one which hides it from our children.
No one should be discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation.
In response to Ms von der Leyen, Hungary’s Secretary of State for International Communication and Relations, Zoltan Kovacs tweeted saying the law was about “being able to educate your children on these sensitive matters as you see fit.”
He also said the law is “about creating serious criminal repercussions for acts of paedophilia.”
1/2 Dear @vonderleyen, as the mother of 7 children, surely you understand importance of being able to educate your children on these sensitive matters as you see fit. That’s what this law is about. Oh, & also about creating serious criminal repercussions for acts of pedophilia. https://t.co/9Yvhc66r86— Zoltan Kovacs (@zoltanspox) June 16, 2021
An Amnesty International rep has said of the law: “Tagging these amendments to a bill that seeks to crack down on child abuse appears to be a deliberate attempt by the Hungarian government to conflate paedophilia with LGBTI people.”
The nonprofit has also called on other EU countries to raise the issue at the next meeting of the EU council, which is happening this week.
The law is the latest attack on the country’s LGBTQ community. Last December, a law was passed effectively banning same-sex couples from adopting. Same-sex marriage is also illegal in Hungary.
In January, the Hungarian government ordered publishers to put disclaimers on books carrying LGBTQ content and "behaviour inconsistent with traditional gender roles".
Viktor Orban has also come under fire from the EU over calls this weekend to push back EU powers if they feel they infringe on a member nation's freedom.