In Hungary, it is forbidden to “promote” homosexuality and gender change among minors. The Hungarian Parliament has passed a law to do so. The bill was demonstrated by thousands of people yesterday and earlier today.
Books, movies and other media with sexual content that is not heterosexual are prohibited. Advertising expressions that ‘normalize’ gay or transsexuality ‘should no longer be shown.
The ban is very similar to the situation in Russia, where since 2013 a law has been in force prohibiting “propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations”.
What the law will mean in practice is not yet clear to the Hungarian lbhti community. “We don’t know what promotion for homosexuality is at all,” says Viktoria Ravanyi of Budapest Pride, an interest organization for Lbhti people. “We just don‘t understand. This is so absurd.”
But most likely media and schools will be dealing with it. Radvanyi: “The government’s intention is to impose censorship on the media. TV stations will be too afraid to broadcast anything that smells of homosexuality.”
Schools also have a financial argument. For example, if someone comes to talk about lbhti topics, that could result in a fine of 100,000 forints (a small 300 euros). “My mother works in education,” says Ravanyi. “She has to bring crayons herself to write on the blackboard because there‘s no money for it.” So schools cannot afford fines at all.
The position of young luhtians in Hungary is already quite difficult. According to Budapest Pride figures, depression is extremely common among that group; 65 percent would have considered depriving themselves of life. 10 percent have actually attempted to do so, according to the figures. “This ban only makes this group more isolated,” Ravanyi expects.
Apart from the ban on “promotion” of homosexuality and gender change, organizations such as Budapest Pride proposes that it is part of a law to counter pedophilia. Ravanyi: “That’s very painful for our community, as if we were for paedophilia. They only do that to slander us.”
The fact that the legislation is adopted right now has to do with the parliamentary elections scheduled for the beginning of next year. Six opposition parties forged a coalition to keep populist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán‘s Fidesz party from victory.
This coalition also includes Jobbik, formerly a radical nationalist party that today presents itself as moderately Christian democratic. This party voted, as expected, for the ban on “promotion” of homosexuality. “That’s how Orbán tries not only to sow hatred, but also play the coalition apart,” says Ravanyi.