Hungary’s LGBT community faces an uncertain future, with legislative attacks and violence reaching a crescendo this year, but activists remain hopeful that the tide is slowly turning.
Since Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party returned to power in 2010, it has “systematically undermined the freedom and equal rights of sexual and gender minorities”. In 2011, the Hungarian parliament adopted a constitution that banned same-sex marriage on a constitutional level.
Last year, Orbán amended the constitution yet again to change the definition of family and effectively implement a ban on adoption by same-sex couples. His government also ended legal recognition for trans people, and has threatened to hold a referendum targeting LGBT rights and trans kids even further.
But it was Hungary’s anti-LGBT propaganda law, which went into effect in July and banned the “promotion” of queer lives to minors, that really changed things for the worse. The propaganda law really showed people how inhumane they can be, and that was a turning point for the general population.
A lot of people in Hungary don’t want to deal with politics, but the bitter tase of the propaganda law resulted in solidarity that was never seen before, leading to unprecedented pro-LGBT protests. Hungary’s upcoming election could also bring change, but it remains to be seen whether or not that would be to the benefit of the queer community.
This tallies with a report published by the Council of Europe, the continent’s leading human rights organisation, which reported a “marked increase” in anti-LGBT hate speech and hate crime across Europe and singled out Hungary, as well as Poland, Russia and Turkey. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has launched legal action against Hungary, as well as Poland, for “violations of fundamental rights of LGBTQ people”.