Thousands turn out for Budapest Pride in defiance of Hungary’s anti-LGBTQ+ policies

Participants walked in sweltering heat along the embankment of the Danube River to Liberty Square where the march ended.

Crowd shot of Budapest Pride.
Image: Twitter: @divaDgiV

On Saturday, July 23, approximately 35,000 people took the sweltering streets of Budapest to join the capital city’s annual Pride parade. Marchers defiantly dawned their rainbow colours to protest in favour of queer rights and liberation on what just so happened to be Hungary’s hottest day of the year, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees celsius. 

The 27th annual Budapest Pride parade comes just a year after the country introduced a widely criticised law that bans the “representation or promotion” of content featuring homosexuality and gender change for those under 18. The event was organised by the Szivárvány Misszió, an NGO advocating for LGBTQ+ equality in Hungary, and was the closing event of month-long celebrations. 

Participants walked along the embankment of the Danube River to Liberty Square where the march ended. Featured in the parade were over ten floats, including those of the opposition Socialist, Momentum and Two-tailed Dog parties. 

Many foreign diplomats were present at the event and joined protestors in once again speaking out against the anti-LGBTQ+ attitudes and policies within the nation.

In reference to the aforementioned 2021 bill that censors queer content, one marcher felt, “It’s a tool to divide people and pit them against each other.” 

Another commented: “To be honest, it’s quite depressing […] I’m lucky to have an accepting family and friends, but so many LGBTQ people I know have to hide.”

54 Embassies, Cultural Institutes and General Representatives accredited in Budapest, including the Irish Embassy, signed the Pride 2022 statement in support of the local LGBTQ+ community.

“We reject and condemn all acts of violence, harassment, stigmatization and discrimination committed against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics and support the fight against hate speech, violence and discrimination targeting LGBTQI+ individuals and communities in all regions of the world,” they collectively wrote.

However, it was not all smooth sailing as the attitudes of the wider society were made clear on Saturday. A counter-protest emerged on one of the city’s main bridges, Margaret Bridge, with those present shouting abuse and carrying banners comparing homosexuality with paedophilia. The conservative Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also made a speech in Romania on the same day as Budapest Pride, with his address including the line: “The father is a man, the mother is a woman, leave our children alone”.

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