Thousands of people turned up for Budapest Pride on Saturday, July 15, to protest the crackdown on LGBTQ+ rights from Hungary’s conservative government. The LGBTQ+ community and allies took to the streets to voice their concerns over the implementation of the so-called “anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda” law, which is creating an increasingly hostile environment for queer folks in the country.
Participants gathered at City Park where, before the march started, Pride organiser Jojo Majercsik addressed the crowd, denouncing Hungary’s controversial “anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda” law passed in 2021, which prohibits the portrayal of queer issues and identities in content aimed at minors.
Majercsik pointed out that, while the law didn’t have immediate practical effects when it was passed, it is now increasingly used to threaten the visibility and rights of the LGBTQ+ community. “It is now apparent how they are trying to limit the rights of LGBTQ people in the media world, in the world of movies, films and books,” Majercsik said.
He spoke about a number of instances in which the propaganda law had been used against the community, including the recent case of a national bookseller who was fined for stocking the LGBTQ+ book Heartstopper in its youth literature section. In addition, Hungarian authorities also banned a 30-second campaign video by Budapest Pride portraying two women meeting and touching foreheads, because it was ruled “unsuitable” for minors and could therefore only be broadcasted between 10pm and 5am.
Budapest Pride ? pic.twitter.com/RFRveKaNNk
— noja ? (@EternityOt7) July 15, 2023
Viktor Orbán’s government has attracted international criticism over the anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda law, with the European Commission taking Hungary to the Court of Justice of the European Union in an attempt to reverse the legislation. The case was joined by several EU countries, including Ireland, making it the largest human rights infringement procedure ever brought before the Court.
Moreover, on July 14, 38 embassies issued a joint statement in support of Budapest Pride, urging the Hungarian government to retract the anti-LGBTQ+ law. The statement argued that the legislation and political rhetoric in Hungary were “in tension with principles of non-discrimination, international human rights law and human dignity.”
— Vig Dávid (@divaDgiV) July 15, 2023
Amnesty International Hungary director David Vig spoke about Budapest Pride, saying that the event in Hungary was more a protest than a celebration, as it is in other countries.
“This is really a human rights demonstration,” Vig said, speaking to the Associated Press. “This is for social acceptance and this is for equal rights, because in Hungary, these are not secured. We are second-class citizens in many spheres of public life.”
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