US ambassador to host Pride party in defiance of Hungary’s anti-LGBTQ+ PM

Hungary Budapest pride

The US ambassador to Hungary proved he has no time for homophobia by vowing to throw a Pride party to protest prime minister Viktor Orbán’s anti-LGBTQ+ views.

Openly gay ambassador David Pressman is set to round off Budapest Pride Month by hosting a picnic for Hungarian LGBTQ+ families at his official residence on Sunday (16 July).

Revealing the planned event, Pressman said that the embassy had been “overwhelmed” by interest from LGBTQ+ families, who have been made to feel increasingly unwelcome by the Hungarian prime minister’s anti-LGBTQ+ policies and rhetoric.

“I expect about 1,000 people there, making what we’re told will be the largest event of its kind in history in Hungary,” Pressman told The Daily Beast.

“I think now’s a really important moment for the United States and the international community writ large to stand with this community that is increasingly being used in a divisive and political way.”

The news comes amid the publication of a joint statement from embassies across the globe expressing their concern with “legislation and political rhetoric” targeting the LGBTQ+ community in Hungary.

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Signed by 60 different countries and embassies from across the globe, including the UK, Canada, Belgium, France and more, the statement expressed “full support” for LGBTQ+ community members in Hungary and their right to equality.

“We reject and condemn all acts of violence, hate speech, harassment, stigmatisation and discrimination committed against individuals and communities on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics,” the statement read.

Similarly, an international group of EU members have joined together to enact infringement proceedings against Hungary for an anti-LGBTQ+ law it passed in 2021.

Dubbed the ‘Child Protection Act’, the law prohibits the distribution of content for under-18s that promotes “divergence from self-identity corresponding to sex at birth, sex change or homosexuality” in a similar fashion to the widely-reviled ‘LGBTQ+ propaganda’ law passed by Russia in 2022.

This month saw a Hungarian bookstore chain fined 12 million forints – £27,500 or $35,930 – by Orbán’s government for displaying copies of Alice Oseman’s popular graphic novel Heartstopper without closed packaging, after falling foul of the 2021 anti-LGBTQ+ law.

A participant holds up a placard with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the LGBTQ+ Pride Parade in Budapest, Hungary, on July 15, 2023. (ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images)

Fourteen EU member states collectively joined legal action accusing the country of violating EU values and human rights laws.

Several heads of government have said in the past that if Hungary refuses to scale back its anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, it should be expelled from the EU entirely.

However, not only did Hungary refuse to abide by the orders from the member states, it said it would “not surrender” in response to news that the legal proceedings would go ahead.

In May, the country hosted a Conservative Political Action Coalition (CPAC) conference where Orbán proclaimed: “No migration, no gender, no war.”

“Hungary is actually an incubator where experiments are done on the future of conservative policies. Hungary is the place where we didn’t just talk about defeating the progressives and liberals and causing a conservative Christian political turn, but we actually did it,” the authoritarian leader said.

In response to this and many other anti-LGBTQ+ speeches from the far-right Hungarian prime minister, Pressman said Hungary was seeing “real attacks” on the dignity of LGBTQ+ people.

David Pressman smiles at an unpictured individual in a park while wearing a suit and tie.
US ambassador to Hungary David Pressman is set to welcome the LGBTQ+ community in Budapest on Sunday. (Twitter)

Regarding the planned Pride picnic, Pressman continued: “We thought it was important to be able to bring together LGBT families for a celebration.”

Pressman said he hopes the government will take the event as a chance to see the “beautiful diverse array” of its people.

“Unfortunately, I don’t expect them to participate,” Pressman said. “But they should certainly know they are welcome.”

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