This article was published on July 26th, 2021
Viktor Orbán’s far-right majority have been slowly working to remove the rights of gay people in Hungary for years. Recently the conservative lead government has passed legislation that bans LGBT content from being presented in schools to anyone under 18.
The government has shown many signs of wanting to remove any right or resemblance of the gay community within the country’s borders. The actions seen by the government signal a path to the cultural genocide of our community that must be recognized and stopped.
The government has said that the legislation is to prevent paedophilia in an attempt to gain support. The statement comes as no shock because next year, the re-election of Orban’s government is on the rocks as people speak out against the antiquated legislation. The connection between paedophilia is a failed attempt to scapegoat and garner support for the law, devalues us as human beings, and reduces us to perverts.
The conservative Hungarian government has received backlash in many forms. The counterblast began with a plea from leaders in the European Union not to pass legislation to ban LGBT content in schools. Since the law still passed, the European Union has since launched legal action against Orban’s government. The law contradicts the message of inclusivity and improved quality of life for all that the EU promotes.
However, it is not just the EU that is taking a stand for our rights. The people of Hungary took to the streets in a massive pride march against the LGBT law. Although this march takes place annually, it has special significance this year considering the newly passed legislation. Demonstrators said the laws are dividing the nation, which was once a soviet bloc nation but now a member of the EU.
Istvan, a 27-year-old Hungarian who attended the march with his boyfriend, said, “The law is an outrage. We live in the 21st century when things like that should not be happening. We are no longer in communist times, this is the EU, and everyone should be able to live freely.” Countless other protesters have gathered and stated that the rally is to show opposition to the power-hungry government and reject intimidation of LGBTQ people.
A recently conducted survey found that 46% of Hungarians support same-sex rights. More than 40 embassies and foreign cultural institutions have issued statements in support of the rally. The U.S., British and German embassies stated, “We encourage steps in every country to ensure the equality and dignity of all human beings irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Around the world, we are seeing an insurgence of populist right-wing governments that want to strip us of our rights. It is very upsetting that in the 21st century, we have not yet learned acceptance. This law embodies hate at its core, but Hungary is not alone in the matter. We see this present in populist run countries worldwide.
In Brazil, Bolsonaro is an outright homophobe who outrightly stated that he does not support the LGBT community. The LGBTQ community in Brazil, like in Hungary, have taken a stand against the government.
Just under 35 years ago, we saw the introduction of section 28 in England under Margaret Thatcher. This law meant to limit the promotion of homosexuality within schools. The Hungarian legislation is essentially a copy. However, in 2003 this was removed from the books.
This type of rhetoric and populist agenda affect our community and gay culture on a massive scale. Once we know how to identify this type of oppression, we can stop it in its tracks. Let’s stand with the Hungarian LGBTQ community in the hope that they can remove the passed legislation of oppression.