LGBT community in Hungary faces ‘increasingly concentrated attacks’ by government

The prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán

The LGBT+ community in Hungary is facing “increasingly concentrated attacks” by the far-right government, activists have said, and hard-won LGBT+ rights in the country could be at risk.

Hungarian LGBT+ rights organisation Háttér Society told NBC that a combination of hostile rhetoric from the ruling Fidesz party, anti-LGBT+ legislative moves and police who won’t protect the community had amounted to the realisation of their “worst fears”.

The group said: “By the end of 2019, our worst fears had become reality when Hungarian state actors led by the governing parties started increasingly concentrated attacks against the LGBTQI community.

“We fear that this… might become the modus operandi of the government. Ultimately, this will shift Hungarian public opinion that has otherwise shown signs of growing support for LGBTQI causes in recent years.”
Viktor Orbán, prime minister of Hungary since 2010, leads the right-wing Fidesz party and has been vocal about his opposition to LGBT+ rights and same-sex marriage.

In 2012, Orbán brought in a new constitution which defined marriage as between a man and a woman and did not explicitly protect LGBT+ people from discrimination.

In 2016, the Hungarian government blocked an EU agreement to tackle homophobic and transphobic discrimination, promote measures to advance LGBT+ equality, and step up efforts to collect data on the treatment of LGBT+ citizens.

A government spokesperson said at the time: “Hungary is not in the position to agree with the list of actions to advance LGBTI equality.”

As the “increasingly concentrated attacks” on LGBT+ people have picked up momentum, in 2019 Hungarian parliament speaker and Fidesz member Laszlo Kover publicly said: “In a moral sense there is no difference between pedophiles and those who demand [gay adoption]. Both objectify the child as a consumer good and consider it a means of self-fulfilment.”

According to Gallup, 2019 also saw a record low for media freedom in the country, with 90 percent of media outlets controlled by the “government and its allies”.

In October, Coca-Cola was issued a fine by regulators in Hungary over an ad campaign featuring same-sex couples.

A letter from officials ordered the company to “cease advertising that is detrimental to the physical, mental, emotional and moral development of children and minors”.

At Budapest’s Trans Pride, which took place for the first time on November 23, 2019, hundred demanded that the government allow them to change their names and legal genders.

Organisers said in a statement that the government and people working for it “talk about LGBTQIA people like they were dog faeces and compare them to pedophiles”.