Hungary passes bill to end legal recognition of trans people

Human rights activists say the new law will push the country "back towards the dark ages".

A middle aged sickly looking man with jowls wearing a suit photographed mid sentence

In deeply disturbing news, Hungary has voted overwhelmingly in favour of ending legal recognition of trans people. Led by the votes of the rightwing Fidesz party, headed by Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, the parliament pushed through the legislation by 134 to 56 with four absentees.

This new bill states that the legal definition of gender in Hungary will be based on chromosomes at birth, ending previous provisions wherein trans people could alter the name and gender listed on official documents.

The bill reads, “Given that the complete change of the biological sex is not possible, it is necessary to state in law that there is no possibility to change it in the registry of births, marriages, and deaths, either.” The bill was originally filed by the Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister on March 31 – International Transgender Day of Visibility.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said in advance of the bill being passed, “This move does not only intentionally silence the trans community – it seeks to erase it and deny its existence.”

Following the vote, Krisztina Tamás-Sáróy from Amnesty International stated, “This decision pushes Hungary back towards the dark ages and tramples the rights of transgender and intersex people.

“It will not only expose them to further discrimination but will also deepen an already intolerant and hostile environment faced by the LGBTI community. It is critical for Hungary’s Commissioner for Fundamental Rights to act urgently and request that the Constitutional Court review and swiftly annuls the appalling provisions of this law.

“Everyone’s gender identity should be legally recognised and everyone must be allowed to change their legal name and gender markers on all official documents.”

Katrin Hugendubel, the Advocacy Director for ILGA Europe, stated, “Legal gender recognition is the bedrock of access to equality and non-discrimination for trans and intersex people.”

“Without it, these populations are subject to immense stigma, discrimination, harassment, and violence every time they use their identity documents – be it at the bank, when going to the doctor, when applying for a job, or even when applying for a cell phone contract.”

The decision comes less than a week after the release of the world’s biggest LGBT+ survey which detailed a worrying increase in discrimination against LGBT+ people. 60% of trans people surveyed experienced discrimination in their everyday life in 2019, compared to 43% of respondents in 2012.

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