Budapest Pride declares ‘Hungary is not open to hate’ after Orbán’s election victory

LGBT+ activists hold a 30 metre Pride flag in front of the Hungarian parliament building

Despite Viktor Orbán winning re-election in Hungary, Budapest Pride refuses to be defeated.

Using anti-LGBT+ hate and propaganda as some of the cornerstones of his campaign, Viktor Orbán and his right-wing party, Fidesz, secured a fourth term in Sunday’s (3 April) general election.

The Fidesz government has become increasingly hostile to the queer community, banning same-sex adoption, ending legal gender recognition for trans people, and restricting content that depicts LGBT+ people.

On the same day as the election, Orbán sought to cement his latest attack on LGBT+ rights with a loaded referendum on inclusive education and trans kids. Though 90 per cent of voters backed Orbán’s position, there were not enough votes for it to become legally binding.

The election result was, understandably, troubling for LGBT+ Hungarians. Ahead of the vote, Vice interviewed a gay writer who was fleeing the country with his partner. He’s not the only person left feeling like there’s no alternative.

But Budapest Pride is determined to stay and fight.

“Don’t forget: you are not alone,” it wrote on Facebook.

“Hungary is not open to hate-mongering against LGBT+ people.”

Johanna Majercsik, a spokesperson for Budapest Pride, told PinkNews that the organisation is determined to continue its work, even in the face of government crackdowns.

“We talked a lot, but no one is packing,” she said. “As a team, we think that this is our responsibility. If something is ruined, or if someone ruins it, we don’t just leave it behind.”

Budapest Pride added in a statement: “Whatever policy the current government of Hungary follows, if they value our work or try to shut us down, we will be here and work for the interest of LGBTQ people.”

Though fleeing is an understandable response, Majercsik believes most LGBT+ people will stay in the country despite the election result.

“Leaving is a privilege,” she said. “And not everyone wants to go either: many wouldn’t leave their friends and family, the language behind.”

Majercsik noted that although the referendum was “invalid”, the government will present it as a victory.

“And I can imagine that they will frame it so they portray us as frivolous people who think that the institution of the referendum is a joke.”

Right now, Budapest Pride is focusing on organising its annual march, planned for July 23, and on providing housing and help for refugees from Ukraine.